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Contents

  1. Background & Vision
  2. Enter… Modelling
  3. Overview of UrbanBEATS
  4. Ongoing Development and Testing
  5. References

Background and Vision

The Urban Biophysical Environments and Technologies Simulator (UrbanBEATS) is an integrated modelling tool designed to support the planning of sustainable, liveable and resilient cities. With the ongoing challenges of urbanisation and population growth[], climate change[], biodiversity loss[] and, more recently, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic[], cities are facing a growing list of challenges to adapt. It is widely recognised that solutions in cities can no longer be mono-functional. Designing with nature and biomimicry have long been recognised as attractive, sustainable and resilient solutions[]. Planning and design to maximise provision of ecosystem services, namely goods and services that satisfy human needs directly and indirectly while protecting the natural environment is increasingly recognised[]. The approach is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing upon a rich body of knowledge and experience beyond just simple engineering or urban planning. An integrated approach is essential if we want to deliver smarter solutions that are adaptable to the uncertain future.

Urban Water Management offers many opportunities to help cities achieve multiple ecosystem services through smart management of the water cycle. In particular, Blue Green Systems are nature-based solutions that allow the provision of a wide range of multiple ecosystem services and benefits to cities and their natural environment. The concept has existed for decades and has taken many shapes and forms across the globe, including Water Sensitive Urban Design[], Green Infrastructure[], Low Impact Development[] and Sponge Cities[] among other names. Due to different historical and cultural drivers, such systems are diverse, ranging from smarter spatial planning, to inter-connected urban green spaces, decentralised stormwater management technologies (e.g. bioretention systems, constructed wetlands, infiltration systems) and a whole suite of non-structural tools including policy, legislation and behavioural change. The way we manage water in cities is evolving rapidly (see Fig. 1), from traditional provision of water supply to sanitation and drainage, environmental protection. Over the last decade, the idea of the Water Sensitive Cities paradigm has been a hot topic[], underpinned by three core pillars: (1) …

urban water management continuum
Fig 1. Historical development towards Blue Green Systems (BGS) and urban water management paradigms (simplified and adapted from the original by Brown & Clarke[], modifications from [] and [])

Enter… Modelling

Modelling tools are attractive tools as they provide virtual laboratories to support planners and other stakeholders in their decision-making[]. These virtual laboratories allow testing of ideas, evaluation of how differences in stakeholder objectives and opinions may result in different design solutions (if at all) and to automate otherwise laborious tasks of assessing opportunities and constraints surrounding our design space. UrbanBEATS provides such a platform to assess the

More information about what UrbanBEATS is coming soon.

Overview of UrbanBEATS

Overarching Model Structure

urbanbeats_model_structure
Fig 2. The UrbanBEATS Planning-Support System Structure

Spatial Modelling & Representation

Mapping & Spatial Analysis

Planning of Blue Green Systems

Performance Assessment

Other Emerging Topics

Ongoing Development and Testing

Research & Development

Model Application

Research Training & Education

This Website and Getting in Touch

References