HDB’s new tool will let it simulate urban scenarios

The Housing and Development Board will soon be able to make better and more informed decisions on sustainable urban planning initiatives – such as which public housing blocks should have green roofs or solar panels – with the introduction of a new modelling tool.

A Memorandum of Understanding to test-bed this modelling tool was signed between the HDB, Electricite de France and VEOLIA Environement Recherche et Innovation yesterday at the World Cities Summit.

The complex Systems Model simulates the built environment of a city and its impact on resource use, environment, people and costs, using complex systems modelling technique.

Said HDB Chief Executive Officer Cheong Koon Hean: “This new tool will help us in formulating holistic and sustainable urban solutions that will ultimately benefit our residents.”

The simulation tool is currently being piloted in the Greenprint neighbourhood in Jurong East.

It will simulate and project data for different scenarios, such as shade patterns and waste production, so that sustainable solutions can be implemented. For example, with data on shade patterns, the HDB will be able to determine which blocks should have solar panels to harness the maximum amount of solar energy and which blocks should have green roofs to minimise stress on drainage systems and reduce temperatures.

The system will also be able to access social behaviour, such as which blocks produce the most waste, so it can be taken into consideration when planning waste collection points.

As the tool can project different complex scenarios, the HDB hopes to eliminate the risk of physical trial and error when implementing urban solutions by first testing and simulating the solutions on computers.

Partially funded by the Economic Development Board, the system will be developed in a year, with the HDB hoping to implement actual infrastructure into Jurong East neighbourhood by 2014.

Separately, the National Environment Agency and IBM researchers yesterday announced a three-year collaboration to develop advanced predictive capabilities to simulate, forecast, manage and report on key environmental concerns in Singapore.

Source : Today – 2012 Jul 4

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