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Are Megacities A Danger?




City skyline at sunset

Did you know that over half of the world’s human beings, live in a city? And, perhaps more amazingly, this figure will increase to two-thirds by the year 2030. With so many people crammed into these urban areas though, it means that - without good urban planning then - a great many people are at risk from, for example, natural disasters, poverty, and adequate escape routes.
A major consideration is the impact of higher populations on day-to-day life. Consider this: in 2016, there were 512 cities around the world with at least 1 million citizens. Currently, one in five of us live in these cities. On top of this, it is expected that by 2030, an additional 150 cities will break the 1 million mark.
This doesn’t include the truly huge cities either. Dubbed ‘megacities’, the 31 super-sized cities recorded in 2014 as having more than 10 million people living within them will rise to 41 by 2030. The density of these cities means that a small problem can quickly ripple through so many people and become a huge issue. Traffic flow can be managed, roads can have laws applied to them, but managing human beings is a whole different ball game. This is where computerised crowd simulation certainly shines, as it allows experts to gauge the most likely way people will choose to enter, move around, and leave a given building. This technology can be extended to predict the flow of people within entire districts, helping with designing and planning city layouts more efficiently. 
The technology was built in response to addressing knowledge gaps in the field. Once such project that brought crowd simulation programme MassMotion into effect was the redevelopment of the New York Fulton Centre interchange. With six subway lines already in place that had been designed without much futureproofing, the use of crowd simulation software proved vital for its successful redevelopment. From here, the programme has flourished under academic guidance and use, and can now be applied to a variety of planning stages, such as for city planning. 
Successful urban planning cover should involve
  • Independent virtual pedestrians within the software that will react to situations as they develop. 
  • Virtual pedestrians with pre-programmable agendas. 
  • Streamlined model building, thanks to the ability to import entire BIM objects into the software means that tech like building design software will prove crucial in designing these buildings. 
New technology will prove fundamental for urban planning in these densely populated cities. With the ability to model huge volumes of people in a scenario, the use of crowd simulation will be vital in city planning for the coming years. 




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