Data analytics in urban planning: What’s the future of the industry?

Data Analytics In Urban Planning

In recent years, we have seen a significant increase in the rate of population growth across the globe.

While it took more than 123 years for the global population to reach two billion from one billion, it only took another 94 years to grow by another five billion people. Experts estimate that we may see the global population reach eight billion as soon as 2022.

In addition, over the last few decades, more people are also moving to urban areas. It’s estimated that by 2050, about 66% of the global population will be dwelling in urban areas. 

This mass migration to urban environments has put a major strain on urban infrastructure, including living arrangements, public transport, and other community facilities.

What this means is that today, the urban planning sector is facing significant challenges in building cities that can support the surge in population. Data analytics has emerged as a crucial tool for urban planners to build safer, cleaner, and more productive urban environments in this scenario.

In this post, we explore how data analytics is transforming the present and future of urban development.

The role of data analytics in modern urban planning

  • Data analytics helps urban planners build more efficient cities

Over the past decade, people have become very dependent on the Internet of Things (IoT) devices—smartphones and other similar technologies have become a part of daily life.

This has given urban planners access to an ocean of data, which they can use to gain crucial insights into the usage of city establishments, public transport, and urban living arrangements, allowing them to build better infrastructure.

In addition, urban planners can leverage predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to run simulations that give an accurate representation of how proposed urban developments will affect the lives of millions of city dwellers.

For instance, by using predictive analytics, urban planners can create virtual models of transportation infrastructure and simulate traffic conditions to gain insights into how the new system will affect traffic conditions across the city, allowing them to design public transport systems that minimise traffic congestions and make travelling more convenient.

  • Improves communication between urban dwellers and developers

An age-old problem urban planners have faced is understanding the issues faced by city dwellers.

Fortunately, with the influx of new technology and IoT, urban planners can engage with the public more effectively and use data analytics to get better insight into their needs and biggest issues.

Data analytics also allows urban planners to share their insights with city dwellers and encourage them to participate in designing efficient cities by giving ideas on how to improve certain aspects of urban living, like public transport and waste disposal.

  • Improves resource management

The growth of a city or any urban area depends on how resources are managed.

Through big data analytics, urban planners can get accurate insights on how city resources are being used and use these insights to allocate resources to areas where they are most needed.

What data analytics holds for the future of urban planning

Today, many developers across the world are developing smart cities that can support the needs of millions of city dwellers while delivering significantly better gains in many areas such as law enforcement and transportation.

In fact, data analytics has already helped urban planners to convert 280 cities into smart cities, and more may come in the coming decade.

Data analytics will also be a major driving force in the development of carbon-neutral urban environments in the future, as many developed and developing countries are trialling plans to reduce the carbon footprint of cities.

Leveraging data analytics is the best way forward for urban planning

With the boom in urban population, effective urban planning is key to ensuring urban areas are safe and sustainable. Leveraging the capabilities of data analytics will be critical to the creation of effective city development plans.

If you’re looking to find new ways to leverage data analytics in urban planning, try out the Selerity analytics desktops to optimise your SAS experience. Get in touch with our team for more information.


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