The backbone of a City Information Model (CIM): Implementing a spatial data model for urban design

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Conference: 29th eCAADe Conference - Respecting Fragile Places, At Ljubljana, Slovenia
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We have been witnessing an increased interest in a more holistic approach to urban design practice and education. In this paper we present a spatial data model for urban design that proposes the combination of urban environment feature classes with design process feature classes. This data model is implemented in a spatial database that becomes the backbone of a City Information Model (CIM), integrating urban neighbourhood formulation, design, and evaluation methods into a comprehensive urban design support system. We demonstrate its application to urban design analysis and evaluation through the development of a tool for AutoCAD Map 3D that is integrated with the PostGIS spatial database.
City Modelling - eCAADe 29 141
The backbone of a City Information Model (CIM)
Implementing a spatial data model for urban design
Jorge Gil1, Júlio Almeida2, José Pinto Duarte3
1Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, 1,2,3Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal
1, 1,2,3,,
Abstract. We have been witnessing an increased interest in a more holistic approach to urban
design practice and education. In this paper we present a spatial data model for urban design
that proposes the combination of urban environment feature classes with design process
feature classes. This data model is implemented in a spatial database that becomes the
backbone of a City Information Model (CIM), integrating urban neighbourhood formulation,
design, and evaluation methods into a comprehensive urban design support system. We
demonstrate its application to urban design analysis and evaluation through the development
of a tool for AutoCAD Map 3D that is integrated with the PostGIS spatial database.
Keywords. urban design; data model; GIS; design support tools; urban design evaluation.
In light of the challenges of sustainable urban
development we have been witnessing an increased
interest in a more holistic approach to urban design
practice and education. This approach has multiple
dimensions and challenges (Gil and Duarte, 2008):
To integrate the activities of a wide range of
To integrate analysis and evaluation in a perfor-
mance based design process;
To manage the various outputs from the various
stages of the design process;
To facilitate access to information from a variety
of sources and in different data formats;
To manage very large quantities of information,
facilitating its manipulation and visualization by
different users.
The field of building design has responded to
similar challenges with the development of various
Building Information Modeling (BIM) technologies
and there have been calls for the creation of some-
thing equivalent in urban design, a City Information
Model (CIM) (Khemlani, 2007; Gil et al. 2010). The CIM
would extend the use of Geographic Information Sys-
tems (GIS) in urban planning as decision support tools
(Webster, 1993; Batty et al., 1998) through the integra-
tion with Computer Aided Design (CAD), to become a
design support tool (Dave and Schmitt, 1994; Maguire,
2003). The City Induction research project has been
focusing on the development of such a system, based
on an urban design method that integrates the stages
of formulation, generation and evaluation of urban
designs supported by a CAD/GIS software platform
(Duarte et al., 2011). In this paper, we present a spatial
data model for urban design practice that can serve as
the backbone of a CIM. This is a general component of
the City Induction project based on previous work car-
ried out on urban design ontologies (Beirão et al. 2009;
142 eCAADe 29 - City Modelling
Montenegro and Duarte, 2009) and we demonstrate its
integration with the evaluation module.
Firstly, we describe the urban design data model
and the structure of the spatial database, highlighting
the possibilities that it offers by integrating urban en-
vironment and urban design process feature classes,
and provide an example of its implementation in
PostGIS using datasets for the Randstad region in the
Netherlands. Secondly, we demonstrate its applica-
tion to urban design analysis and evaluation through
the implementation of a tool for AutoCAD Map 3D.
We then discuss the benefits and the potential ap-
plications in urban planning and urban design educa-
tion, and point to further work required to test its inte-
gration with the complete City Induction framework.
A spatial database can constitute an adequate
support platform to achieve the integration and in-
teroperability requirements of an integrated urban
design approach, namely:
It can manage different user roles giving differ-
entiated access to and production of informa-
tion by the various stakeholders involved in the
urban design and planning process;
It is a platform to which different design and
analysis tools can connect, but it also provides
an array of analytic methods to quickly process
spatially and statistically the information con-
tained in it;
It stores and manipulates simulataneously the
geometry and attribute information (text and
numbers) that is used and produced during the
various stages of urban design;
It can import information from a wide range of
data, image, GIS and CAD file formats, either na-
tively or by using plug-ins;
The information can be accessed locally or re-
motely over a network for manipulation or vi-
It can store very large quantities of information
and provide selective access to portions of the
data through queries in an efficient way;
The information is managed in a single central
repository, avoiding data duplication and en-
suring that the most up-to-date version is ac-
cessed by everyone.
However, to use such an infrastructure in the
urban design process, it needs to be configured with
an adequate data model that supports the kinds of
information, methods and user roles that make up
the urban design process.
One of the leading GIS software companies has
a repository with several data models [1] but most
stem from the field of geography. Although one can
find various components that would be relevant to
an urban environment data model, these are not in-
tegrated and do not constitute a complete set.
The most comprehensive urban environment
data model for GIS is the OGC standard CityGML
(Gröger et al., 2008; Kolbe, 2009). However, it follows
a logic strongly oriented towards data exchange and
3D city model visualization. The model is structured
around the concept of levels of detail of information
that is organized according to the needs of 3D visu-
alization and not necessarily to those of a design pro-
cess. Furthermore, it reaches a high level of detail with
building features, components and interiors, which
are not very relevant to the urban design process.
Other urban environment data models and
databases (Koshak and Flemming, 2002; Hamilton
et al., 2005) focus primarily on the retrieval, analysis
and visualization of existing information, but lack
components pertaining to the design process itself,
i.e. building regulations, development constraints,
benchmarks and multiple design proposals.
We propose an urban design data model that
accommodates two knowledge domains: the urban
environment and the urban design process. The first
domain contains data that objectively describes the
existing or planned urban environment, referring to
City Modelling - eCAADe 29 143
physical or administrative geo-spatial entities. The
second domain contains data that is produced by
the planning and design process. This information is
not descriptive but rather prescriptive, analytic or in-
terpretative of the urban environment, and is specific
to an urban design project. Within each domain we
define a series of groups to facilitate the understand-
ing of the content of and the relations between the
various feature classes (Figure 1). These are largely de-
rived from previous work on urban ontologies carried
out in the City Induction project (Beirão et al. 2009;
Montenegro and Duarte, 2009; Duarte et al., 2011).
The urban environment domain (ue) has the fol-
lowing groups:
1. Landscape system (lnd)
2. Built system (blt)
3. Mobility networks system (mbn)
4. Boundaries system (bnd)
5. Information system (inf)
Groups 1-4 represent the environment and group
5 contains spatial and pseudo-spatial data. This comple-
ments the urban environment domain with essential de-
scriptive information of the environment, its population
and activities, in support of site and context analysis for
creation of the program and for evaluation of the plan.
The design process domain (dp) consists of
these main groups:
6. Zones (zn)
7. Axes (ax)
8. Focal points (fp)
9. Site and design regulations (sdr)
10. Site and design analysis (sda)
11. Evaluation goals (evg)
12. Evaluation outcomes (evo)
Groups 6-8 contain graphical elements of the
spatial framework or master plan, produced in the
formulation stages, and additional explanatory or
conceptual information about a design proposal,
produced in the design stages. Groups 9-12 contain
design support information that is produced by the
formulation and evaluation stages, providing design
constraints, regulations, performance goals and as-
sessment outcomes for the various design proposals.
The two knowledge domains (urban environment
and design process) are represented in the database
by two separate schemas, and each design proposal
is stored in its own schema with a structure identical
to that of the urban environment schema. The main
urban environment schema stores information on
the existing environment and is used for site context
Figure 1
Schematic structure of the ur-
ban design data model, with
two main schemas for the
urban environment descrip-
tion and the design process
information, and a collection
of groups and feature classes
belonging to each domain.
144 eCAADe 29 - City Modelling
analysis and visualization. The proposal schemas store
the proposed environments within the limits of the site
boundary and are directly manipulated by the design
generation process. The groups of each domain pro-
vide a prefix for the naming convention of data tables,
thus grouping together in the database management
environment the data tables that are related.
Examples of the data structure
The urban design spatial data model is de-
fined following principles from spatial data mod-
eling (Yeung and Hall, 2007). Figure 1 represents a
schematic structure of the urban design data model
with the main relations between feature classes,
the core data tables and some examples of custom
tables that can be created to accommodate specific
project or local characteristics. This expansion pos-
sibility is indicated by the ellipsis (…) punctuation in
the groups that support it.
In this section we provide examples of feature
classes of the two domains, namely the land cover
and building feature classes of the urban environ-
ment domain, and the site analysis and evaluation
scores of the design process domain ( Table 1). The
Table 1
Description of the land cover
and buildings feature classes
of the urban environment
schema, and of the site analy-
sis indicators feature class of
the design process schema.
Class Land cover Attribute Type Description
Schema urbanenvironment id char unique identifier
Table ue_lnd_landcover type char land cover class
Entity polygon permeable char surface permeability class
structure char surface structure
Class Land cover Attribute Type Description
Schema urbanenvironment id char unique identifier
Table ue_blt_buildings lot_id char lot/parcel unique identifier
Entity polygon area double area in square meters
height double height in meters
floors integer total number of floors
gf_function char ground floor function
uf_function char upper floors main function
units integer total number of units
heritage char heritage class
status char current status class
year integer year of construction
Class Land cover Attribute Type Description
Schema designprocess id char unique identifier
Table ue_sda_indica-
proposal char name of design proposal
Entity polygon ind_1 double indicator 1 measurement
ind_2 double indicator 2 measurement
ind_n double indicator 3 measurement
City Modelling - eCAADe 29 145
complete functional data structure of each table is
provided, including the object classes, their geom-
etry, basic attributes and relations.
The data structure is typical of spatial relational
databases, with the important addition of a geom-
etry field that can store the urban forms geometry in
the form of points, lines and polygons.
To test the feasibility and the advantages of us-
ing an urban design spatial database in the urban
design process we have implemented one in the
context of the City Induction project, serving as the
backbone of the CIM. The database is built on the
open source PostgreSQL database with its PostGIS
extension, which can be linked to other spatial de-
sign and analysis platforms, namely AutoCAD Map
3D, the urban design platform chosen for the City
Induction implementation (Gil et al., 2010).
Setting up the spatial database
For the pilot study, we have loaded data of the
Randstad region in the Netherlands, and selected four
different urban areas for analysis, namely Ijburg and
de Pijp in Amsterdam, Ypenburng in de Hague and
Houten near Utrecht. The amount and diversity of in-
formation and the need to make it available to differ-
ent users were sufficient reasons to opt for a managed
data solution in the form of a database. The data sets
used were obtained via the DANS EASY service [2]:
Bestand Bodemgebrauk 2006, for land use and
land cover (CBS and Kadaster, 2006)
Kadastrale Kaart, for property subdivision and
address points (Kadaster, 2008)
TOP10 NL, for topographic layers (Kadaster,
Wijk- en buurtkaart 2009, for census data (CBS
and Kadaster, 2009)
Initially, we started preparing the data sets us-
ing a commercial GIS platform and the files provided
in ‘Shape’ format. However, it became clear that cer-
tain operations of merging tiles, deleting records,
and editing tables either took too long or the opera-
tion failed. As a result we decided to load the data di-
rectly into the database and perform the data prepa-
ration operations using the native SQL functions
and the PostGIS functions. The database proved to
be far more stable and efficient in performing those
Table 2
Example of the correspond-
ence between data attributes
of the original source data
sets (right) and the structure
of the urban design data mod-
el (leftmost column), for the
buildings feature classes.
ue_blt_buildings Source Table Attribute
geometry top10nl gebouw_vlak geometry
id top10nl gebouw_vlak identi
lot_id custom ue_bnd_lots id
area custom ue_blt_buildings from geometry
height top10nl gebouw_vlak hoogte / hoogteklas
floors survey - -
gf_function Bbg2006 Bbg2006 BG2006_a
uf_function - - -
units custom ue_blt_entrances parsed from door numbers
heritage top10nl gebouw_vlak typegebouw
status top10nl gebouw_vlak status
year - - -
146 eCAADe 29 - City Modelling
operations, reducing processing times in some op-
erations from 40 minutes to 4 minutes.
The other two main tasks of data preparation
were to make a correspondence between data sets,
assigning to the data structure defined in the urban
design data model the attributes and geometry of
the existing data sources (Table 2), and to reclassify
the attribute values themselves, because they were
in different languages or were following a very spe-
cific classification.
In some cases the attribute data is not available
in the original data sets and it has to be synthesized
from other attributes, complemented by local sur-
veys or simply ignored with consequences to the
kinds of analysis that one can perform. The result is a
spatial database that follows the specification of the
urban design data model, ready to be manipulated
by various stages of the urban design process.
Integrating the spatial database and CAD for ur-
ban form analysis and evaluation
In order to demonstrate the use of the database
and the integration of CAD and GIS we measure the
urban form and evaluate the performance of the dif-
ferent pilot study areas using a tool developed for
this purpose in AutoCAD Map 3D. This tool is the
proof of concept implementation of the City Induc-
tion evaluation module. The purpose of the module
is to measure a series of sustainable urban form in-
dicators and offer a variety of means to evaluate the
results to support decision-making during the de-
sign process. The proof of concept tool implements
a sample of indicators, listed in Table 3, identified in
a review of existing sustainable urban development
assessment tools (Gil and Duarte, 2010). This sample
aims to test indicators of different dimensions of sus-
tainability (environment, economy, and society) that
are calculated at different levels of spatial resolution.
The tool offers at this stage a basic urban design
workflow following the City Induction structure. In
the ‘Formulation’ section it includes the functionality
to set up a new urban design project and load data
in the spatial database, to configure project settings,
such as the acceptable ‘walking distance’, to define
the project site and analysis boundaries, and to set-
up the design requirements in terms of the weight
and performance levels of each indicator (Figure 2). In
the ‘Generation’ section the tool offers the possibility
of starting a new design proposal by creating a new
schema in the database and loading the design tools
Indicator Spatial unit Result unit
Green areas per inhabitant site m2
Number of light railway/tram/trolley stops site n
Bike paths lengths per inhabitant/dwelling site m
Dwelling per hectare site n
Connected community site n
Street network length site m
Ground space per inhabitant/dwelling site m2
Impermeable areas site m2
Average distance between building entrances street segment m
Distance to nearest kindergarten entrance m
Number of kindergarten in close neighbourhood entrance n
Distance to nearest light railway/tram/trolley entrance m
Number of access points to public transportation entrance n
Table 3
List of the sample urban form
indicators implemented for
analysis of the neighbour-
hood data stored in the urban
design spatial database.
City Modelling - eCAADe 29 147
toolbars. Finally, it has an ‘Evaluation’ section with a
collection of tools relating to the analysis and evalu-
ation of these proposals. This includes tools to run the
analysis on the data sets, display those results visually
through thematic maps of each indicator, compare
the results between several different design propos-
als showing a radar plot (Figure 2), compare the pro-
posals against a reference case (not necessarily from
the same project), and score the results based on the
previously defined performance levels, aggregating
those scores towards an overall proposal performance
score. The overall score is a weighted mean at various
levels of aggregation and these are summarized in a
multilevel pie chart for an individual proposal.
The user interface is implemented using Au-
toLisp and DCL. The data visualization functionality
uses AutoCAD Map3D workflows because the Map
API is not accessible from AutoLisp, and finally the
various indicator calculations have been implement-
ed as plSQL functions in the PostGIS database itself.
We have decided to keep the data analysis and calcu-
lations in the database because of the performance
gains observed in our previous experience and to
keep the data processing functionality indepen-
dent from any specific user interface. The AutoLisp
front-end creates PostgreSQL instructions that are
sent directly to the database via the command line
using DOSLib 8.6 thus performing any number of
Figure 2
Screenshot of the proof of
concept tool implemented
in AutoCAD Map3D. It
is displaying an urban
neighbourhood orthophoto,
overlayed with the results of
the ‘Number of access points
to public transport’ indica-
tor in a thematic map. The
proposal comparison radar
chart shows this designs
performance against other
options. The information that
is mapped in this view is be-
ing read from the PostGIS
148 eCAADe 29 - City Modelling
operations on the data. The charting functionality to
visualize the evaluation outcomes has been imple-
mented in Python using the Matplotlib library and
connecting directly to the database using the Psy-
copg library.
The use of a spatial database in the design pro-
cess still requires GIS and database expertise (Pandit,
2009) and it is essential to develop user-friendly in-
terfaces for the various design support tasks, espe-
cially to manage the data and to provide basic analy-
sis outputs. The tests provide insight into possibili-
ties and limitations of this integrated urban design
support system.
The data collection and preparation phase
common to urban design practice and education is
quite challenging due to the variety of data sources
and formats, and the quantity of resulting data. The
proposed spatial data model offers a clearer set of
requirements and a more structured knowledge
framework, and with the support of ontology based
tools it would facilitate the data classification and
aggregation process. Furthermore, the structured
nature of the database can support the develop-
ment of automated data translation tools from/to
standards such as CityGML (Stadler et al., 2009) and
we need to identify the shared elements between
the data models and ensure compatibility at those
We still require an integration of the spatial da-
tabase and the proof of concept tool with the formu-
lation and generation modules of the City Induction
project. This is important to fine-tune the urban de-
sign data model and confirm its compatibility with
the methods developed in those modules. Further-
more, it will offer the opportunity for further testing
the use of a spatial database in other phases of the
design process and with different stakeholders. To
explore this scenario, local authorities seem to be a
good test case as they play several roles in the urban
development process, from data collection to plan-
ning, evaluation and public participation.
In this paper we have presented an urban
design data model to enable the development
of spatial databases to support the urban design
process. The proposed urban design data model
has unique characteristics because it combines
the more common urban environment descrip-
tion with a schema to support information relat-
ing to the design process. Testing the proposed
urban design data model by building a spatial
database has shown that these databases offer a
suitable platform for an integrated approach to
urban design, in line with the idea of a City Infor-
mation Model (CIM), becoming the backbone of
such a system. We demonstrate their use in the
analysis and evaluation of designs integrated in
a CAD environment, but we still need to test and
demonstrate their use in a complete set-up that
includes the formulation and the generation of ur-
ban design proposals.
This work is part of the “City Induction” project
funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia
(FCT), Portugal, and hosted by ICIST at the Technical
University of Lisbon (PTDC/AUR/64384/2006). The
project is coordinated by José Pinto Duarte. Júlio
Almeida is assistant researcher and Jorge Gil is main
researcher in the project, funded by FCT with grant
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150 eCAADe 29 - City Modelling
  • ... We present below the different concepts found for "City Information Modeling" in the literature. The concepts elaborated by Chen [12], Hisham [14], Gil, Almeida and Duarte [15] andStojanovski [16] will be discussed. ...
    ... From the point of Gil, Almeida and Duarte [15] (p. 143): "The CIM would extend the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in urban planning as decision support tools [17,18], through the integration with the Computer Aided Design (CAD) to become a design support tool [19,20]". ...
    ... 143): "The CIM would extend the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in urban planning as decision support tools [17,18], through the integration with the Computer Aided Design (CAD) to become a design support tool [19,20]". According to the text by Gil, Almeida and Duarte [15], the concept of CIM is understood by the authors as analogous to the concept of BIM. As discussed for Hisham [14], the concept proposed by Gil, Almeida and Duarte [15] does not take into account the full extent and expectations of a CIM model. ...
    The cities of the 21st century are subject to a large number of problems related to transportation, public safety, land use and occupation, sanitation and water availability etc. These problems are mainly observed in developing countries. Thus, the urban planners and rulers have great challenges to be faced in the planning, management and monitoring of cities. In order to deal with the current and future demands of urban populations, it is necessary to develop new paradigms capable of facing the challenges that are posed. In this context, technologies can be used to make city management more efficient, effective and effective, improving the quality of life of the population. The object of study of this paper is the conceptualization of the City Information Modeling (CIM) paradigm. Based on the critical analysis of the literature, it is intended to discuss the existing concepts for the Modeling of City Information.
  • ... Acredita-se que a sobreposição de dados interpretados a partir da descrição de imagens de satélite em ambiente GIS (Sistema de Informação Geográfica) gera informações que complementam a compreensão de um determinado tecido urbano, tais como: descrições funcionais, indicadores de densidade, hierarquia de vias entre outros. (GIL et al., 2011) Duarte et al. (2012) tratam da ontologia do ambiente urbano como aquela que define e organiza as relações significativas entre objetos e características encontradas nesses aglomerados. Entre as principais classes dessa ontologia os autores destacam as redes, que descrevem os domínios de conectividade, e a morfologia urbana que contém diversos sistemas. ...
    ... O artigo busca investir no desenvolvimento de métodos e técnicas para lidar com a elaboração de projetos urbanos em situações de significativa heterogeneidade. (GIL et al., 2011;HILLIER et al., 2000;MESEV et al., 1995) A presente pesquisa busca validar a abordagem histórico-geográfica da morfologia urbana através do uso das imagens de satélite (matriciais ou raster) e do método da classificação supervisionada (Fig. 6) para leitura e interpretação de séries históricas do perímetro urbanos do bairro Presidente Vargas. ...
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    O presente trabalho busca investigar o potencial da modelagem da informação na compreensão de morfologia urbana de assentamentos populares urbanos. Objetiva-se aqui aprimorar o conteúdo do Banco de Dados (BD) em desenvolvimento no Laboratório de Experiências Digitais da Universidade Federal do Ceará (LED-UFC) através da implementação e interpretação de imagens orbitais adquiridas junto ao Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais do Brasil (INPE). Com o apoio dos Sistemas de Informação Geográfica (SIG), através do Processamento Digital de Imagens (PDI) matriciais geradas pelos sensores/satélites TM/Landsat 5, ETM+/Landsat 7 e OLI/Landsat 8, pretende-se fazer uma leitura das transformações urbanas observadas nos anos de 1985, 2002, 2013 e 2017 em um bairro da cidade de Fortaleza. Apesar da baixa resolução das imagens adquiridas percebeu-se uma clara expansão da massa urbanizada da região ao longo dos anos. Tal expansão veio acompanhada de uma redução na cobertura de vegetação e de água do território e, nos últimos anos, no surgimento de aglomerações industriais e institucionais que o levantamento disponibilizado pela gestão local não demonstrava.
  • ... Desta lógica inerente a BIM, ela sugere o termo CIM, projetando a necessidade de um modelo de informações da cidade como plataforma para suportar tomadas de decisão mais céleres e acertadas.Após pouco mais de uma década observa-se que o termo CIM ganhou espaço nas pesquisas científicas e propiciou uma vasta gama de abordagens, ainda que algumas mais distantes do que preconizara Khemlani. Enquanto algumas pesquisas consideram CIM teoricamente mais autô- nomo em relação a BIM -por exemplo, uma extensão do uso do GIS (Geographic Information System) como ferramental de suporte para tomadas de decisão de desenho urbano por meio da integração ao CAD (Computer Aided Design)(Duarte, Gil, & Almeida, 2011;Thompson, Greenhalgh, Muldoon-Smith, Charlton, & Dolník, 2016)-outras pesquisas têm dado maior foco à importação de dados de um modelo IFC (Industry Foundation Classes, formato aberto padrão de modelo de interoperabilidade em BIM) para um modelo CityGML (City Geography Markup Language, formato aberto padrão de modelo de informação geográfica), resultando em representações tridimensio- nais georreferenciadas do território urbano e seus edifícios(Xu, Ding, Luo, & Ma, 2014).A maneira que CIM pode vir a contribuir no tratamento da problemática da ineficiência de algumas das soluções aplicadas às SCs reside em seu cerne. Na vida real das cidades, o desenvol- vimento econômico e a qualidade de vida são definidos por uma série de rotinas que codificam as ...
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    À medida que as cidades têm se tornado ambientes mais complexos, as relações de troca que ali se manifestam foram tornando-se mais sofisticadas e volumosas. Esta dinâmica dá-se a um passo muito mais célere e intenso que a dinâmica do ferramental da gestão pública pode acompanhar, o que demanda urgência na implementação de soluções adequadas. Segundo Ascher (2010), o urbanismo pertinente a este novo paradigma tecnológico seria um urbanismo de resultados, capaz de produzir regras simultaneamente incentivadoras e limitantes. Esta visão sistêmica das redes de informação urbanas é aqui nomeada como Modelagem da Informação da Cidade (CIM – City Information Modeling). Mas o que viria, de forma precisa e convergente, a ser CIM? E, entre outras questões, em que aspectos e com que propósito se caracteriza a necessidade do CIM como terminologia e conceito? Tais questões embasam este artigo, procurando trazer novos elementos para a discussão sobre o tema.
  • Chapter
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    Publicação comemorativa de artigos escritos pelos docentes do Programa de Engenharia Urbana da UFSCAR. areas de Urbanismo, Mobilidade e Tranasporte, Saneamento e Geotecnologias
  • Article
    Cities evolve over time and their evolution is often studied using material objects and historical documents. Based on available evidence, researchers propose various hypotheses explaining the probable evolution, both imaginary and factual. Furthermore, city models are used to model and visualize 3D structures and semantic information of the cities. With the help of versioning of city objects, it is possible to represent temporal changes of city structures. And with the support for representing scenarios, it is possible to represent different possible sequences of urban changes. In this article, we formalize a set of rules for representation of concurrent points of view of researchers related to urban changes based on standard city model. The goal is to understand how the cities have evolved, what were the key changes and allow exchange between various hypotheses (or processes). We developed a proof of concept named \({UrbanCo}^2{Fab}\) based on these rules to demonstrate the highly potential use cases of our proposition.
  • Thesis
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    [PT-BR] Esta dissertação trata da modelagem da informação aplicada à cidade, entendendo o modelo de informação como uma descrição formal de tipos de ideias, fatos e processos que modelam uma porção de interesse do mundo real e fornecem um conjunto explícito de regras de interpretação de dados. A cidade, como macrossistema, gera um volume de dados massivo, diversificado e produzido de forma veloz, e os agentes envolvidos no seu planejamento e manutenção são igualmente diversos e valem-se de metodologias distintas e específicas de ação. A Modelagem da Informação da Cidade (City Information Modeling ou CIM) representa, assim, a intenção de ordenar e permitir maior interoperabilidade entre soluções que se utilizam de dados urbanos, aumentando coeficientes de compatibilidade, reduzindo perda de informação com melhorada capacidade de acessibilidade e permitindo tomadas de decisão melhor fundamentadas. Contudo, esta diversidade entre arranjos de dados possíveis nas cidades também se reflete na variedade de interpretações sobre CIM entre as pesquisas científicas, aspecto que, à medida que denota a riqueza que envolve o tema, demonstra a falta de convergência conceitual sobre o assunto. Com a finalidade de investigar o fio condutor entre as variadas abordagens existentes sobre CIM e, assim, conduzir à unificação de uma base de teórica, foi realizado um Mapeamento Sistemático da Literatura seguido de uma análise temática à luz da Teoria Fundamentada, da qual foi possível classificar as práticas em grupos temáticos e, por conseguinte, estabelecer categorias. A partir desta sistematização, esta dissertação propõe um conceito geral de CIM, com viés ontológico e articulado com paradigmas emergentes de TICs aplicadas às cidades. Esta abordagem conceitual sobre CIM e o reconhecimento de suas diversas aproximações vem no interesse de valorizar não apenas a aplicação, mas o desenvolvimento de TICs com o propósito de melhor tratar as problemáticas urbanas. E em razão da relevância da informação nesta senda, a ideia de trazer o urbanista para o cerne do desenvolvimento e uso de ontologias aplicadas à cidade parece ser a forma mais consistente de trazê-lo à condição de protagonista na elaboração de soluções inovadoras, colocando-o à frente do processo criativo junto aos demais profissionais das ciências da computação, engenharias e afins. [EN] This dissertation deals with information modeling applied to cities, taking information model as a formal description of types of ideas, facts and processes that model a portion of interest of the real world and provide an explicit set of rules of data interpretation. The city, as a macro-system, generates a massive, diversified and rapidly produced volume of data, and the agents involved in its planning and maintenance are equally diverse and rely on distinct and specific methodologies of action. City Information Modeling (CIM) thus represents the intention to sort and deliver better interoperability among solutions using urban data, increasing compatibility coefficients, reducing information loss with improved accessibility and support decision-making more efficiently. However, this diversity between possible data arrangements in cities also reflects the variety of CIM interpretations within scientific research, an aspect that, as it denotes the richness that surrounds the theme, demonstrates the lack of conceptual convergence on the subject. In order to investigate the guiding principle among the various approaches to CIM and thus step further into the convergence of a theoretical basis, a Systematic Literature Mapping was carried out followed by a thematic analysis according to the Grounded Theory, from which it was possible classify the practices into thematic groups and, therefore, establish categories. This dissertation proposes, then, a general concept of CIM, ontology-oriented and articulated with emerging paradigms of ICTs applied to cities. This conceptual approach on CIM and the recognition of its various approaches comes in the interest of valuing not only the application but the development of ICTs in order to better tackle urban issues. Because of the relevance of data on this matter, the idea of bringing urbanists into the core of the development and use of ontologies applied to the city seems to be the most consistent way to reinforce their protagonist rule in the elaboration of innovative solutions, ahead the creative process amongst other professionals in computer sciences, engineering and related fields.
  • Thesis
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    The preservation of the relationships that a built cultural heritage maintains with its surroundings is a fundamental issue in the study of the urban dimension of heritage. However, their conflicting interaction with urban “development” policies, plans and projects has been a recurring problem. This research investigates this issue and tries to offer possible coping strategies. To do so, it traces the origins of these issues from the point of view of heritage preservation, where the notion of environment (and the related terms it aggregates, such as ambience, surroundings, neighborhood, visibility, etc.) is investigated from three approaches: historical (seeking the origins of the term), ontological (searching for meanings of basic terms), and practice (bringing examples of how the question has been treated in concrete cases). It can be seen that the “invention” of urban heritage (of which the notion of environment is a fundamental part) has intimate relations with the origin of urbanism as discipline and that the historical path that separated the two subjects only intensified the conflicts between both. Thus, in an attempt to construct a further approchement between these knowledge domains, an overview of the posture of urbanism in front of the contemporary city is set up, where the use of information models (codifying the stages of problem formulation, generation of alternatives and evaluation of results in a heuristic and incremental process) emerges as an interesting paradigm to be pursued. It is suggested, therefore, that the (r)approximation of the disciplines can be done through a two steps strategy: (1) the creation of an informational framework in computational environment as a representation device of the city, following the structure of a City Information Model (CIM); (2) the creation of a tool set for the evaluation of environmental relations of built cultural heritage that operates within the aforementioned framework. In this way, it becomes possible to model an analysis process that provides useful information for the demarcation and management of surrounding areas of historical buildings, supporting the negotiations between the various stakeholders. As a result, a functional prototype is presented, capable of retrieving georeferenced data stored in a remote database, built by the laboratory to which the research is linked in the university. Finally, use tests are presented in the confrontation of concrete cases, using data from the city of Fortaleza - CE, collected with the municipal administration and cultural heritage agencies. As a prototype, the conclusions are focused on making a critical review of the process, outlining the difficulties and limitations, as well as pointing out the potentialities and paths for further developments.
  • Book
    This first of a kind book places spatial data within the broader domain of information technology (IT) while providing a comprehensive and coherent explanation of the guiding principles, methods, implementation and operational management of spatial databases within the workplace. The text explains the key concepts, issues and processes of spatial data implementation and provides a holistic management perspective that complements the technical aspects of spatial data stressed in other textbooks. In this respect, this book is unique in its coverage of spatial database principles and architecture, database modelling including UML, database and spatial data standards, spatial data infrastructure, database implementation, and workplace-oriented project management including user needs study and end user education. The text first overviews the current state of spatial information technology and it concludes with a speculative account of likely future developments. Cutting edge research and practical workplace needs are defined and explained. Topics covered, among others, include strategies for end user education, current spatial data standards and their importance, legal issues and liabilities in the ownership and use of spatial data, spatial metadata use within distributed databases, the Internet and Web-based solutions to database deployment, quality assurance and quality control in database implementation and use, spatial decision support, and spatial data mining. The book applies equally to senior undergraduate and graduate courses and students, as well as spatial data managers and practitioners already in the workplace. It will enhance their technical and human-resource based understanding of spatial data management. Certification courses that seek to prepare students for careers in the spatial information industry and courses targeted at enhancing needed geospatial workplace knowledge and skills will benefit greatly from its content.
  • Conference Paper
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    The street system is an important component of the city ontology created for a generative urban design tool and should be able to integrate the many visions or interpretations that designers or other urban design agents may have about streets. This paper describes several characteristics of the street system, with its components organized into object classes which are the shape sets of algebras used by a generation module to generate street network representations that can be assessed by a GIS platform.
  • Conference Paper
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    The ‘City Induction’ research project aims to develop an urban design framework at the scale of site planning consisting of three modules: formulation, generation and evaluation. This paper presents the start of the on-going research on the evaluation module with the aim of identifying and discussing the assumptions behind its development. The evaluation module will be driven by sustainable urban development principles, which determine the design analysis criteria and benchmarks, and it will be structured around selected urban analysis and design methodologies. We discuss the challenges of bringing these two domains together, and propose to incorporate techniques of interaction and video game design towards a more meaningful and inspirational design experience.
  • Conference Paper
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    This paper presents an assessment of a selection software tools for urban design confronting their capabilities with the goals of the CityInduction research project. The goal of this paper is the assessment of existing platforms for computer aided urban design to select one as the basis for implementing the urban design model proposed in the CityInduction project. This model includes three sub-models that support the formulation of design programs from contextual information, the exploration of designs solutions through a grammar-based generative approach, and the validation of designs against the program through the use of evaluation tools. To each of these sub-models corresponds a module in the envisioned platform and so, existing platforms are assessed in terms of their ability to support the implementation of each module. The current goal is a proof-of-concept implementation, but the final goal is the development of a complete platform for supporting urban design.
  • Chapter
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    Urban planning and design have a considerable impact on the economic performance of cities and on the quality of life of the population. Efficiency at this level is hampered by the lack of integrated instruments for formulating, generating, and evaluating urban plans. This chapter describes the theoretical foundations of a research project, called City Induction , aimed at the creation of a model for the development of such an instrument, departing from existing theories, which are integrated through a discursive grammar. The proposed model is composed of three sub-models: (1) a model for formulating urban programs from the analysis and interpretation of the context, based on Alexander’s pattern language; (2) a model for generating urban plans that match the program, based on Stiny’s shape and description grammars; and (3) a model for evaluating urban plans, that can be used for analyzing, comparing and ranking alternative solutions, departing from Hillier’s space syntax. A common urban space ontology guarantees the syntactic and semantic interoperability among the three sub-models. This ontology will be used to structure and codify information into a Geographic Information System (GIS), which will be the kernel for the computer implementation of the larger model. A CAD system is used to construct 3D models from contextual information stored in the GIS. In short, following Stiny and March’s design machines concept, the goal is to create an urban design machine that is able to produce flexible urban plans at the site planning level.
  • Conference Paper
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    The aim of this paper is to identify and compare sustainable urban development (SUD) evaluation tools suitable to use at the urban neighbourhood scale during the design phase of the development process. Twelve tools are selected and analysed in terms of structure, format and content, the latter focusing on how the evaluation indicators address the dimensions of urban form, accessibility and the neighbourhood’s spatial context. From this analysis it is possible to identify some general trends. However, the selected tools represent a very diverse set with no common standards, varying in the background principles, the topics addressed and the outputs produced. Furthermore, the tools are largely specific to a specific geographic and institutional context and to a type of project, and for that reason the customisation of indicators and benchmarks is generally encouraged. As a consequence urban design teams have to decide between using whatever tool is already available for the project’s specific context or customising the tool that presents the most relevant format and set of principles.
  • Chapter
    Full-text available
    Virtual 3D city models are becoming increasingly complex with respect to their spatial and thematic structures. CityGML is an OGC standard to represent and exchange city models in an interoperable way. As CityGML datasets may become very large and may contain deeply structured objects, the efficient storage and input/output of CityGML data requires both carefully optimized database schemas and data access tools. In this paper a 3D geo database for CityGML is presented. It is shown how the CityGML application schema is mapped to a relational schema in an optimized way. Then, a concept for the parallelized handling of (City)GML files using multithreading and the implementation of an import and export tool is explained in detail. Finally, the results from a first performance evaluation are given.
  • Chapter
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    CityGML is an open data model and XML-based format for the representation and exchange of virtual 3D city models. It is based on the Geography Markup Language version 3.1.1 (GML3). Both CityGML and GML3 are international standards issued by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). CityGML not only represents the shape and graphical appearance of city models but specifically addresses the object semantics and the representation of the thematic properties, taxonomies and aggregations. The paper gives an overview about CityGML, its modelling aspects and design decisions, recent applications, and its relation to other 3D standards like IFC, X3D, and KML.
  • Conference Paper
    Full-text available
    The street system is an important component of the city ontology created for a generative urban design tool and should be able to integrate the many visions or interpretations that designers or other urban design agents may have about streets. This paper describes several characteristics of the street system, with its components organized into object classes which are the shape sets of algebras used by a generation module to generate street network representations that can be assessed by a GIS platform.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Although urban planning has used computer models and information systems since the 1950s and architectural practice has recently restructured to the use of computeraided design (CAD) and computer drafting software, urban design has hardly been touched by the digital world. This is about to change as very fine scale spatial data relevant to such design becomes routinely available, as 2dimensional GIS (geographic information systems) become linked to 3dimensional CAD packages, and as other kinds of photorealistic media are increasingly being fused with these software. In this chapter, we present the role of GIS in urban design, outlining what current desktop software is capable of and showing how various new techniques can be developed which make such software highly suitable as basis for urban design. We first outline the nature of urban design and then present ideas about how various software might form a tool kit to aid its process. We then look in turn at: utilising standard mapping capabilities within GIS relevant to urban design; building functional extensions to GIS which measure local scale accessibility; providing sketch planning capability in GIS and linking 2-d to 3-d visualisations using low cost net-enabled CAD browsers. We finally conclude with some speculations on the future of GIS for urban design across networks whereby a wide range of participants might engage in the design process digitally but remotely.