Bristol proposes smart city visualisation technology

Written on 30 Dec 2015

The city of Bristol has proposed a new technology that could help planners and citizens visualise future city developments.

Stephen Hilton, director of Futures at Bristol City Council, pitched ‘The Bristol Brain, -Reimagining the way we plan for the future’ to delegates at the Cities and Regions Pavilion -TAP2015, part of the UN climate change conference in Paris. He said that it has the potential to radically change how citizens are involved in shaping and designing future developments.

Bristol is aiming to create a 3D-printed large-scale city model, on top of which real-time data and sophisticated analytics can be projected and visualised. This could, for example, show real-time pedestrian and traffic flows; the energy use of buildings; or the air quality at different times of the day or night and at different times of year.

City officials also say they want to make the model into an immersive digital environment that utilises virtual and augmented reality and haptic technologies to allow people to ‘leap-in’ to the city model.

Bristol citizens will be able to experience new developments before they are built and see how they impact on the city’s systems, according to the city council. This will allow different scenarios for future developments to be explored as if they are real, and for the impact on energy, transport, air quality, noise, light and other factors to be fully understood.

“Presenting the Bristol Brain to international audiences at COP21 demonstrates our commitment to tackling challenges around the environment, urban developments and putting people first,” Hilton said. “The Bristol Brain has the potential to fundamentally shift the way we plan the city, enabling citizens, city planners and developers to work closely together to make brave decisions about how the city will look, feel and operate in the future. By creating the Bristol Brain as a powerful, single, holistic, planning tool that is open to all, the need for separate data and analytical systems will be removed.”

Bristol City Council is seeking an investment of £10-15 million to build the full model and would then share it with cities around the world.