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Research & Innovation Strategy for Modelling & Simulation Technologies for Urban Planning and Design

  Published: 04 October 2023
  Theme: Smart Planning
  Written by Lim Xiao Wei, Alvin Chua, Ching Tuan Yee and Julian Cheng

The ability to understand our urban systems, as well as the interactions between urban systems, is critical for the delivery of good planning outcomes.

Today, Modelling & Simulation (M&S) technologies are utilised by infrastructure and environment agencies to better understand such urban dynamics and inform the formulation of plans. This article seeks to cohere research and innovation into M&S technologies for urban planning towards a common vision. It emphasises the build-up of Science & Technology capabilities, coordinating efforts among infrastructure and environment agencies to transform our capacity for integrated urban planning. Taking a telescopic lens, it outlines a medium- to long-term plan and key initiatives required to achieve these envisioned capability deltas.

The full working paper can be found here.

 

Transformation of Urban Planning  in Response to Complex Challenges Facing Singapore

Planning in Singapore involves a range of mechanisms to balance competing land needs and manage potential trade-offs carefully, whilst keeping our city liveable for current and future generations. Yet, urban planning has become more challenging in an increasingly uncertain and complex operating environment. 

In the latest Long-Term Plan Review, we adopted a less deterministic approach to assess planning strategies and navigate future uncertainties. This shift reduces the emphasis on deterministic parameters and enables us to operate with greater flexibility and optionality.

Dealing with Increasing Complexity and Uncertainty in Urban Planning

Urban planning optimises land use for sustainable and equitable growth, addressing current demands and anticipating future needs, inherently embodying multi-objective optimisation (MOOn) principles. 

While M&S technologies offer insights to inform land use planning today, M&S capabilities can be deepened and expanded to a wider range of urban planning practice:

  • Long-Term Strategic Planning: M&S can quantify planning interdependencies and assess their dynamics over time, evaluating their impact on development potential.
  • Mid-Term Master Planning: M&S can expand the planning decision space by studying diverse land use scenarios and surface issues early.
  • Near-Term Implementation, Monitoring and Feedback: M&S can simulate potential built environment outcomes in the absence of actual data, enabling planners to assess potential impact before building and shortening the planning feedback cycle.

Quantum Leap in M&S Capabilities for Urban Planning & Design

Advancing our M&S capabilities will radically transform Multi-Objective Optimisation (MOOn) in urban planning, enabling us to:

  • Define baseline performance and codify constraint criteria.
  • Formulate scenarios, assess their alignment with land availability (both spatially and temporally) and establish pathways to desired futures.
  • Quantify and evaluate the impact of planning policies on overall development potential and planning vision.

The MOOn-Shot

Moonshot

The MOOn-shot ahead of us is to synergise these models as a system-of-systems framework that would allow planners to see further, sense-make faster and act decisively in the face of uncertainty.

Invitation to Collaborate

The build-up of integrated M&S capabilities is an inter-disciplinary effort that involves agencies and the research eco-system. We seek opportunities to engage thought leaders and invite proposals to collaborate on the development and translation of M&S technologies for urban planning. 

Join us in shaping the future of urban planning and design technology for a more sustainable and resilient Singapore! If you're interested in collaborating with us, drop us an email at urbex@ura.gov.sg.

 

 

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