As people all around the world continue moving into already crammed cities. Architects and planners face the greatest challenge before them. How to accommodate so many people?

In many cities, they have chosen urban renewal as an effective way to solve this problem. Urban renewal which simply means using those spaces within a city that are either under utilized, or are left abandoned.

These abandoned spaces, which are born as a result of fractures in the history of cities; created for instance when an entire industry failed or had to be relocated, are usually located in the heart of a city, like along a river or a lake, and as such, take away the most valuable space within a city. Therefore, if we could find means to use these under-utilized spaces; we have the greatest opportunity to solve the density crisis that our cities face today.

Several cities around the world have already taken this approach, and have converted their unused spaces into community gardens, public or residential buildings, offices, fun parks and so on, and have seen significant improvement in the living standards of the people living in that neighborhood.

If they can do it, we can do it too. So let us explore and see, how we too could use the same approach, and solve the density crisis that our cities face today.

What is the best way to convert those unused, dead spaces into lively neighborhoods?

In my opinion, the most technologically advanced and effective way to do this, is by using building information modelling technology (BIM). Here’s why:

Because model visualizations in BIM are directly linked to associated databases. And therefore, can clearly show the difference between “before and after” impacts, that happened due to planned physical changes. This means, with one click you can see the transformation of an existing lot into its future build-out. And also the full-complement of associated data, including the extended implications of that eventual build-out.

This means they can provide both the images and information, in a dynamic and user-friendly format, which as we know, is absolutely necessary to solve complex planning and urban design problems.

How can we implement BIM successfully?

Since the primary goal of BIM is to integrate previously disparate competencies, like business processes, technologies, construction delivery methods and their associated processes. It is important that a planning team be assembled in the early stages of the project. This team must consist of representatives from all the primary project team members, like the owner, designer, contractor, engineer, major specialty contractor, facility manager, etc.

Once the planning team is assembled. The next step is to acquire the master plan for the planned building site. Because using the master plan, we can understand the character of a place. And furthermore, we can also use it to create an automated system, that calculates and produces detailed programming reports about individual buildings and blocks, which can then be used to interpret the design guidelines, and visualize the physical urban design program on a building by building and floor by floor basis. And then finally use it to understand their resultant financial implications.

For example, this automated system could tell us, how a certain redeveloped area will include a vibrant retail, a convenient employment campus, an advanced hospital, a sports complex, a college campus, numerous schools, local municipal services, and other diverse mix of residences, which range from condominiums to luxury high-rise apartments and townhouses. How each neighborhood will be complete with shopping arcades, parks and schools. And most importantly, how regional transit will conveniently link all parts to the whole.

After having done this, we finally enter the planning stage of building design, in which we use the requirements set out in territorial planning documents, to determine the position of the building on site, or the geometric parameters of the building, streets, etc.

  1. Importing the site plan.
  2. Positioning the building on site.
  3.  Choosing the form of the building.
  4. Selecting character for external partitions.
  5. Testing solutions.
  6. Establishing mandatory building sites.
  7. Testing solutions.
  8. The Final Result.


In the end, this study will lead to a platform for data-driven design, that has contextual project information and analysis tools for architects and planners. Which will eventually lead to savings as a result of reduced number of hours spent on project research, team communication and design time, because BIM project models can be used by both, architects and planners, to design small individual buildings, or large town planning projects.

The end result will be a content rich 3D city model, which anyone can use to access data relevant to their projects, or to ask questions, or run analysis (solar, shadow, microclimate, traffic, LEED), or collaborate with other team members anywhere in the world; all in real time.

This will mean, a city model that hyper-connects users to any contextual project data source or analysis tool — static or dynamic, spatial or non spatial — from buildings to roads and public spaces (open data), and from streetlights to people on the street (social media).

If you liked what you read, I would want you to give back to all infrastructure industry people:

  1. Share this article at social media
  2. Leave a comment below. And tell me what you think about this.
  3. Join the Infra Pioneer Group so we can take this further.

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