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3-D City: Prototyping Techniques for Urban Design Modelling

CHEN, Weiso (w.chen@mluri.sari.ac.uk), Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, AB15 8QH, U.K.

Key Words: visualization, urban design, 3-D modeling, choice experiment

Architects and planners have recognized the advantages of computer-aided design (CAD) packages in their daily practices. Many CAD packages are now necessities in most design firms and planning authorities, replacing drawing boards. Use of CAD systems do improve practitioners' work in many aspects; however, the essence of the design and planning work does not change. The use of CAD packages transform a designer's desk into an electronic drawing board, and more. For example, visual aid techniques and visual impact analysis have long been used to assist professionals such as urban designers, town planners, and landscape architects in their design and planning practices; however, traditional visual aid techniques such as physical modeling, perspective drawings, photo montage, and visibility determination have proven either inaccurate or too costly to manage. What makes it even worse is that once a model is built, any changes to the original design cannot be easily applied to the already constructed model. These shortcomings can be overcome because of the development of computer hardware and software along with advances in spatial database design and structure which, we believe, will fundamentally change the way designers work.

The new technology, dynamic real-time 3-D modeling, as an emerging modeling technique, has been used in scientific and engineering fields for more than two decades to assist scientists in getting insight into object relationships that otherwise cannot be revealed. The 3-D trend is influencing the urban design community as well, as a promising 3-D, real-time interactive urban design modeling technique. This paper presents an outline of an urban design project aiming at using the state-of-the-art 3-D modeling techniques with an option of choice experiment methodology to assist local enterprise organizations to develop strategic plans to revitalize local economy. We conclude this presentation with future work and directions.