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urbanAPI - Interactive Analysis Simulation and Visualisation Tools for Urban Agile Policy Implementation

Application scenarios

The urbanAPI ICT approach and tools are developed and tested through specific real-world application scenarios in collaboration with the cities of Bologna, Ruse, Vienna and Vitoria-Gasteiz.

These cities have a wide range of different socio-economic, environmental and territorial characteristics, governance structures and practices. Nonetheless distinct commonalities can also be observed in the challenges facing the majority of cities in Europe today. These common challenges are best served by common solutions. urbanAPI accordingly deploys a generic framework and methodology for the development of ICT enabled tools for urban governance that not only serves the needs of the project partner cities, but also offers decision-making solutions for all European cities.

The case study – Bologna

Scenario Bologna

Bologna is pursuing urbanAPI solutions for both urban planning as well as environmental objectives. The aim is to communicate more effectively with citizens by visualising future development and potential impacts and to enhance public engagement for effective feedback on planning initiatives. Like Vienna, Bologna will develop both 3-D VR and Public Motion Explorer (GSM) applications. The San Vitale District provides the context for the development of the 3-D VR application, where proposals are seeking to create new public spaces in order to connect the district with the urban core, and thereby enhancing the sustainability of the locality. Implementation of the initiative requires public participation to raise awareness of the benefits of the scheme that will be supported by the dynamic visualisation potential of the 3D VR application. Bologna possesses one of the largest historic town centres in Europe, creating often conflicting demands for the conservation of its cultural heritage while serving its role as a major shopping centre for the region. The city envisages that the Public Motion Explorer application can provide an effective way of testing alternative mobility proposals for the city centre including the pedestrianisation of certain localities. The application can, for example, determine the attractiveness of areas by the time people spend there and the number of people using that area at specific times and seasons. In addition, socio-economic and demographic characteristics can be interpolated with GSM data, including information about the substantial student population of the city and their use of the city centre.


The case study – Ruse

Scenario Sofia

Ruse is the fifth largest city of Bulgaria and through the Ruse-Giurgiu Friendship Bridge it is connected to its twin city in Romania. Ruse attracts many tourists and is the most significant Bulgarian river port for international trade and hence can be considered as a big industrial centre. The city’s economy is dominated by tailoring, textiles, food processing, petroleum and chemical industry, metal-working, machinery and ships construction. The urban area is approximately an 11 km ellipse running along the river Danube. Ruse is a major road and railway hub in Northern Bulgaria with expected plans to redevelop and reopen the former Ruse military airport for domestic and cargo flights. The growing socio-economic and industrial activities in Ruse create the need to manage the urban development in a better way. The urbanAPI urban growth simulation application is considered as a suitable instrument to model future urban development of the city region and visualise its effects to achieve better city-region planning guidelines. In this context, the Master Plan of Ruse is one of the main instruments for realization of the strategic vision and aims of the development of the Ruse City-Region. The plan defines a set of aims with functional, spatial and environmental characteristics, as well as specific objectives for each of the main functional systems –residence, employment, recreation, transport and technical infrastructure.


The case study – Vienna

Scenario Vienna

Vienna has long recognised the critical importance of effective communication with citizens in respect of urban planning issues. Vienna has been actively using 3-D applications to support this communication by planners, and is now seeking to extend this application so that all citizens can benefit as well. These new applications will enable citizens to fully participate in urban planning decision-making, and in addition the applications can enhance internal communications between different departments of the municipality that need to collaborate in the urban planning decision-making process. 3-D VR applications can also be useful for assisting in the integration of new development proposals in the urban environment and the visualisation of alternative design and architectural possibilities. In addition shadow analysis, providing a visual representation of sun exposure times and visibility analysis, supporting the assessment of the visual impact of new development in the historic city centre are potential use cases for the 3-D VR application. The second urbanAPI application being pursued by Vienna is the Public Motion Explorer (GSM) application. This application provides entirely new sources of information concerning socio-economic activity in the city based on mobile phone data. Specific information offered includes travel behaviour analysis by exploration of day-time traffic flow. Origin-destination matrices of working traffic and mode of traffic with additional trip chain information, generated by the application may be used to increase the efficiency of urban transport planning.


The case study – Vitoria-Gasteiz

Vitoria Gasteiz

For a number of years Vitoria-Gasteiz, European Green Capital 2012, has promoted a sustainable mobility and public space plan in order to reverse the trends of increasing car use, reductions in walking and cycling in the city, and to increase the quality of public space. The policy has been promoted by the implementation of the “superblock” that removes traffic through creating low traffic areas in which pedestrians and cyclists share the space with cars, and so recovering the city for the people. The green credentials of the city are further supported by the inner Green belt plan which aims to integrate water, energy and mobility management together with wider social objectives via the promotion of multifunctional urban areas. Vitoria-Gasteiz recognises the opportunities created by both 3-D VR and Public Motion Explorer applications to support more effective engagement with the public and other urban stakeholders in the appropriate implementation of these policies. In particular 3-D VR is an effective tool to model and visualise the inner Green belt proposals to reintroduce the river flowing through the centre of the city plus associated urban enhancements. Furthermore, the Public Motion Explorer (GSM) application is directly relevant to the Sustainable Mobility Plan of the city, providing a basis to analyse urban mobility specified according to different modes of transport as well as different age groups and gender.