DataAugmented Planning and Rational Planning ——A Case Study inBeijing Urban Greenway System Planning 1IntroductionWeare living in a new data era where our social life and urban physicalenvironment can be described in detail. With the development of big datatechnology, many city planners and decision-makers argue that we should makeuse of data analysis to have a better understanding of what happens to ourcities and combine it with conventional urban planning and design process.A new term of planning approach namedData Augmented Planning is put forward by scholar Ying Long. Empowered byquantitative urban analysis, utilizing approaches such as data analyzing,modeling and forecasting, data augment planning provides supporting toolscovering the whole planning and design process from investigation, analysis,project design, evaluation, to feedbacks.Duringthe planning process of Beijing Urban Greenway System Planning, GPS data ofhiking in Beijing’s urban area were collected.
Based on analysis of these data,urban planners generalized hikes’ demand and route selection. The overlay oflarge amounts of data has also led planners discovered long-distance main walkline which was then incorporated into the city’s greenway system. In this case,the big data are used to support the design process, alternatives choosing andimplementation evaluation.Basedon the case study in Beijing Urban Greenway System Planning, this research comparesthe data augment planning to the traditional rational planning approach beforethe 1960s from the aspect of their definitions, methods, procedures, features and conceptualdistinctions, frequently used approaches and tools, as well as its expectedapplicable situations. The research intends to prove that whenintroduced empirical big data analysis, planners will have a more solidfoundation and abundant resource in defining the problems and formulatinggoals; and there will be more reference parameters for the plan evaluation.2LiteraturereviewThecurrent challenge faced by the city as well as the city planning and design isthe precondition of development the DAD.
Influenced by the ICTs such as Uberand Sharing Bikes apps, the lifestyle, production,entertainment, and transportation patterns of cities have changed dramatically.These changes have put forward new propositions to traditional planning anddesign. For example, how does material space design affect the formation ofurban virtual space? How to use the planning policy to play a synergistic rolebetween the two to improve the vitality of the city in the information age? Howto establish a corresponding planning and design mechanism in an increasinglytransparent urban management system (Ying, 2015)?Traditionalrational planning and design rely mainly on the planner’s personal knowledgeand experience to develop “rational” plan, and finally “design” thecity or neighborhood (Wang, 2001). Rational urban planning and design focus onthe skill of design, inference training and development of”hardware”, but the research on “software”, such asinterdisciplinary design methods, processes, and implementation, is weak(Couclelis,2005).Thusthe problems of traditional rational planning and design at the present day aremainly reflected in the following aspects: The inconsistent scale, theambiguity of the design scale and the fuzzy scale of the effect scale; theambiguous spatial effect; The contradiction between the subjectiveunderstanding of the phenomenon in sites and the outcome of scientificanalysis; Oversimplification of the Geometric space; Unequal distribution ofbenefits and the lack of communication with the public; The public interestcannot be guaranteed; The absence of the context suitability and so on. Fromthe process point of view: The traditional planning relies too much on theindividual designer’s knowledge structure; The research process mainly adopts arelatively simple method; The planning result is presented using a simple geometricspace; The implementation effect of the final planning result cannot be tracedand understood because of various reasons (Brail, 2008).
2.1The concept of DADDataAugmented Design is a planning and design method put forward in the new data environment.It is based on the combination of different heterogeneous data source, dataanalysis, and forecast. It provides data support for every aspect of the cityplanning and design and ultimately improves the rationality, innovation, andflexibility of the planning program.Fromthe theoretical perspective, the traditional rational planning and designfollow the classical principles while the data-enhanced design has far-reachingsignificance in the new data environment. Its significance may not only be theapplication of new design tools or lively data visualization but an improvementin the deeper level of planning and design methods.
DAD will enhance thetransformation of people’s understanding of urban entities. Specifically, thedata will reinforce another understanding of urban entities: the relationshipbetween entities is understood as the generator of real human activities, andthe knowledge of urban entities will be translated into a new data language forunderstanding and present. Form and function are no longer interpreted asgeneralized philosophical motif and the particular context should be understoodthrough building an accurate relationship with data. We will see more”more complex but interpretable spatial entities.” Thus DAD enhancesour perspective of observing and understanding of the city. From the practical perspective, the corepoint of DAD can be understood as: various entities in the city are abstractedinto a spatial data system through quantitative models combined with a largenumber of heterogeneous city data and models. By making use of increasinglypowerful computing power, the cognitions and complex effects between cityentities are established and then used to support designing, modifying, andevaluating of planning and design.
DAD emphasizes the data-driven design andvery different from the digitalization of city. In the era of big data, much ofthe data is made public and able to be visualized, which will change thetraditional methods or models of research. However, digitization orvisualization is distinguished from DAD because DAD is not put forward formapping data. DAD comprised of more concrete design methods from planningpractice, and these methods are inseparable from how to understand urbanentities with data. Within the DAD framework, the data will enhance the preciseperception of urban entities and their implications and help to grasp thedifferent social effects that can be achieved by shaping different spaces.Therefore,what DAD enhances is an accurate understanding of urban entities, an accurategrasp of the complex relationships between the physical organization and itseffects, and the effective implementation of positive impacts on space. Inother words, the purpose of DAD is to precisely design the “place”that city entities form.
2.2Principle and characteristics of DADThecity is a complex system that holds highly complex functions, and itscomplexity is increasing. Accordingly, urbanization is a complicated process inwhich different dynamics affect each other.
Cities are the means by whichpeople communicate and interact with each other, so understanding the key tothe city is a complex science that understands how people are connected, andcurrent urban planning and design is merely a “natural spatialeffect” of planning. Based on an understanding of urban complexity, theprinciples of DAD planning and design are to focus on how to stimulate orpreserve the complex functionality of urban development through data (Batty,2013).DAD’sfeatures are mainly reflected in:(1) applicability: directlyfacing the planning and design practice; (2) multidimensional: a model thatcombines spatial attributes with socio-economic data; (3) return to socialspace from physical space: through social networks, points of interest, activitiesand mobile data, and quantitative evaluation methods (4) refinement: emphasizethe accurate understanding of the background (context, environment and people),give full consideration to the subdivision of the population and the environment,analyze the existing laws and establish different combination modes to providesupport for the special planning and design; (5) the combination of the virtualworld and the real world: a multi-angle understanding of the core issues of thevenue; (6) quantization of design tasks: effect of reference will be the goalsand tasks; (8) traceable and evaluation: Subsequent effort will continue tostrengthen and correct model or design through quantitative evaluation. 3Applications of Data Augmented Planning3.1Context of Beijing to adapt DAD3.2Case study in Beijing Greenway SystemPlanning4Inspirations of Successful DAD Cases6ConclusionsReferenceBrail, R.
K. (Ed.).(2008). Planning support systems for cities and regions. Cambridge: Lincoln Instituteof Land Policy.Couclelis, H. (2005).
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