City information modelling (CIM) - morphological conceptualizations and digitizing urban design practices

Stojanovski, Todor and Zhang, Hui and Peters, Christopher and Parthanen, Jenni and Sanders, Paul and Samuels, Ivor; (2022) City information modelling (CIM) - morphological conceptualizations and digitizing urban design practices. In: Annual Conference Proceedings of the XXVIII International Seminar on Urban Form. University of Strathclyde Publishing, Glasgow, pp. 584-597. ISBN 9781914241161

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Digital ubiquity brings revelations of emerging smart cities. However, planners and urban designers remain resistant to digitalization trends and remain devoted to traditional sketching and hand drawing. A major problem in digitizing planning and urban design practices is the misfit with current software. Urban designers need to deliver engaging illustrations of future cities, master plans or design guidelines. Facing a choice between Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Computer Aided Design (CAD), Building Information Modelling (BIM) or 3D modelling software, urban designers often sketch and draw over printed two-dimensional cadastral maps that derive from GIS. To address the lack of appropriate software for planners and urban designers, we are developing a new City Information Modelling (CIM) software in coordination with a wide group of urban morphologists and designers. This paper presents the initial developments of the CIM app as a digital tool focusing on urban design and morphological theories as an inspiration for programming. The CIM software will integrate GIS data that stores cadastral maps and creates a digital drawing board for urban designers and other actors in the urban planning and development processes. Bringing digital tools closers to practices of urban designers and other actors and stakeholders in the planning and development of cities will contribute to increase digitalization, but also inspiring new ways to discuss morphological theory in urban design practices, or operational urban morphology and morphologically informed urban design.