MIT Sustainable Design Lab
City Schema

Almaha Almalki, Anas Alfaris, Areej Al-Wabil, Christoph Reinhart, Cody Rose, Faisal S. Aleissa, James "Ira" Winder, Julia Sokol, Kent Larson, Mohammad Hadhrawi, Salma Aldawood, Tarfah Alrashed (2013 - 2015, supported by the Center for Complex Engineering systems at KACST and MIT)

CCES Project Web Site | Building Simulation 2015 Paper

Cities across the planet are growing at an unprecedented speed. To accommodate this growth, cities must both expand and densify, but the quality and efficiency of new and existing neighborhoods must not therefore suffer. In recent years, the building performance simulation community has made significant progress towards developing planning tools that predict various measures of urban sustainability. Some of these tools are usable by urban designers and architects, but the neighborhood design process generally involves many more stakeholders and is far more complicated than simple selection of the "best" solution as identified by a computer program. What is needed is a collaborative design tool that (a) allows non-expert stakeholders to actively contribute their ideas during a planning session and (b) provides real-time analysis feedback on emerging design ideas in order to quickly advance the design process and help participants identify acceptable solutions. In this project we teamed up with the Changing Places Group at the MIT Media as well as the Center for Complex Engineering Systems (CCES) at KACST and MIT to develop a prototype for a tangible user interface (TUI) which allowed novice users to perform urban design and see the results of their design in real time without any modeling training. The underlying real time simulation engine calculates operational building energy use, access to daylight as well as walkbility and is described in this paper. The movie below shows impressions from the use of the TUI during a design workshop at the Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA), the planning authority for the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in March 2015.