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Experimental Urban Research: The Connected Urban Twins of the CityScienceLab

How the CityScienceLab is driving urban development with digital twins

The CityScienceLab of HafenCity University researches the transformation of our cities and develops technologies to make urban space more sustainable and resilient. We supported the CSL with a tool for visualizing complex simulation data.

For a long time now, we have been developing solutions for our customers that help make cities more livable. The CityScienceLab (CSL) at HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU) is also dedicated to this topic and is developing so-called Connected Urban Twins in an experimental project - with the aim of advancing urban research in the context of digitalization.

Digital twins map urban development

Together with partners from politics, business, science and civil society, the CSL researches the transformation of cities. Based on urban data, it develops tools and technologies that simulate and visualize urban development. The results are to serve as decision-making aids for actors in urban planning.

A core element of the research is the CUT project, "Connected Urban Twins - Urban Data Platforms and Digital Twins for Integrated Urban Development". Its purpose is to develop so-called digital twins - digital twins of cities based on data. With these digital images, complex urban changes can be simulated and concrete use cases of urban development can be tested. It is important to the CSL not only to simulate obvious change processes, such as the effects of the energy transition, but also to take into account social processes that significantly influence life in the city.

Making simulation data usable by means of visualization

In collaboration with the cities of Hamburg, Leipzig, and Munich, the project aims to provide insights into how Connected Urban Twins can be used for urban planning in a way that is oriented toward the common good and how flexible, cross-city solutions can look. To make the insights gained particularly tangible and usable, we have developed a service that allows the CSL to easily configure and visualize its simulation data.

The service consists of three building blocks: visualization add-on, controller and backend:

  • The add-on enables the visualization of complex model and simulation results in the master portal of the city of Hamburg. These can be displayed over time on a map as well as in diagrams and tables.
  • Simulations can be configured and controlled with the controller.
  • The backend communicates the dynamic and static data between controller, simulation model and visualization.

Due to the open source development, the service can be further developed independently by the participating cities and their partners and extended to a wide variety of simulations.

In the future, the service will enable the CSL to configure simulation parameters and to analyze and visualize the impact of complex urban processes.

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