With the booming of information and communications technology (ICT), ‘Big data’ such as mobile phone signaling, public transportation smart card records and ‘open data’ from commercial websites and government websites jointly promote the formation of the ‘new data environment’, which provides a novel perspective for planning and design and stirs up their methodology transition. MIT-hosted CUPUM in 2015 highlighted explosion of information on cities, converting two global trends- bigger cities and more data. Nowadays, related research achievements are endless, for instance, bike lanes are planned based on Sharing-Bikes’ trajectories (Bao, He, Ruan, Li and Zheng, 2017) and intelligent transportation systems of the future can be improved by visual analysis (Andrienko, Andrienko, Chen, Maciejewski, and Zhao, 2017). In such a condition, we have proposed a new planning and design methodology termed Data Augmented Design (DAD) in 2015 to highlight data (science) in design (Long and Shen, 2015). This paper will discuss the main body of DAD and review its various applications in academic research, planning & design practice and education in the recent several years.
Empowered by emerging big and open urban data, together with quantitative spatial analysis and statistical approaches and cutting edge techniques like artificial intelligence, DAD provides a supporting platform for the whole planning and design process, ranging from field investigation, existing condition analysis, future forecasting, scheme design, operation evaluation and feedback. It is hoped that the application of DAD in planning and design practice could improve the scientific level of planning and design, and inspire the creativity of planners and designers (Long and Shen, 2015). Based on our understanding upon supporting tools for planning and design, the proposed DAD belongs to a new planning and design support form after CAD (Computer Aided Design), DSS (Decision Support System), GIS (Geographical Information System) and PSS (Planning Support System).
The specific planning and design support form of DAD is divided into five steps. First, putting quantitative analysis based on DAD framework into existing condition analysis attributes to avoid the limitations of research dimensions and personal knowledge and experience, and directly inspires the extraction of design elements and the generation of concepts. Secondly, the introduction of DAD augments the optimization of planning and design via a real-time process of simulation and evaluation. Thirdly, the quantitative results of DAD can support expressions of planning and design. Then, the report of spatial data and its visualization will help to reduce communication costs while ensuring its effectiveness and the implementation of participatory decision-making. Lastly, increasingly diverse and sophisticated urban data will lead to a more transparent urban management atmosphere especially in aspects of public participation, planning and management.
We would like to summarize the recent progress of DAD through three dimensions, academic research, planning & design practice and education.
For academic research, DAD can expand the perspective on observing and understanding cities (Long and Shen, 2015), which can be applied for urban expansion oriented and redevelopment oriented planning and design. For urban expansion oriented planning, DAD helps to extract spatial indexes from existing cases to form a classified gene pool for quantification and a reference index system for new designs (Gan and Long, 2017). For urban redevelopment oriented planning, DAD stimulates to find problems via existing condition analysis based on multidimensional data and to quantitatively evaluate the implementation of designs after reconstructions (Cao and Long, 2017).
For planning & design practice, there are mainly two forms of typical applications of DAD, urban planning & design competitions and practical projects. The first author of the extended abstract has supervised two teams highlighting DAD in the 2016/2017 Shanghai Urban Design Challenges and received very good outcomes. In addition, we were also invited in two very important planning and design practices in China and DAD was extensively applied in the projects of the sub-center of Beijing and Xiong’an New District, revealing the acceptance of the concept of DAD in the Chinese planning and design field.
For education, DAD has been introduced into several courses in Department of Urban Planning, Tsinghua University. These courses include Big Data and Urban Planning, Comprehensive Urban Design Studio and Urban & Rural Comprehensive Survey. The spirit of DAD in these courses is being expected to informing students focusing more on data in designs.
With the progress of DAD made, we have received more and more attention from researchers in the planning and design domain. This has led to several special issues on this topic published on leading academic journals in China, like Urban Planning International, Planners, Ideal Space. In china, a number of academic seminars and annual conferences on DAD have been held to explore the multiple approaches to support putting theory into planning and design practice. The theory based on DAD termed Human-scale Urban Form proposed by Long and Ye (Long, and Ye, 2016) has been recognized by the editor in chief of the journey Landscape and Urban Planning and other international experts( ‘This is my favorite proposal in the sense that the topic area is an exciting emerging area’、‘believe this to be a highly original and important theme for a SI on a rapidly developing field of science with increasing potential for applications in practice’). This is a stronger evidence of innovation and priority for DAD in this direction.
In the close future, the DAD research network will be improved, and annual DAD conference will be continually held to systematically review the annual achievements of DAD in academic research, planning & design practice and education, and find solutions to the problems in current urban planning work. We believe that DAD has great potential in versing data in planning and design.
More about DAD is available HERE.
More applications of DAD are available HERE.
If you have interests with Geographical Information System (GIS), I would encourage you start from the offline open software QGIS or the online GIS data visualization portal GeoHey (it is free. Carto or MapBox also works well), in comparing with very heavy-weighted and comprehensive ESRI ArcGIS.
QGIS: https://qgis.org/en/site/forusers/download.html (yes, it has both Windows and Mac version for free downloading. The manual for QGIS is online as well)
Online visualization for full-screen.
Thanks for http://www.urbanxyz.com for providing us several layers displayed in the GeoHey project.