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Demonstrator: Modelling Cities of the future

Cities are global centres of prosperity and wealth creation; they are also areas of mass deprivation, crime, pollution and congestion. Their problems occupy geographers, historians, sociologists, economists and anthropologists. In order to analyse these problems, but also to plan features of cities in the future, the WUNgrid Cities Project aims to produce city simulation tools which reproduce key aspects of real urban environments.

This project requires the integration of data from many sources, including satellite and land use data, census demographics, economic and business activities, and data relating to transport and migration. In addition, the development of appropriate real-world simulations requires a computational intensity several orders of magnitude greater than the relatively unsophisticated gaming equivalents.

In practice, cities cannot be detached from the regional hinterlands on which they depend. Indeed, there is an important set of questions about balanced growth within and between regions. Members of the WUNgrid have a commitment to the provision of spatial decision-support tools for planners in both urban and regional environments, and also particular interests in policy analysis using demographic and social information about individuals which is not only precious but also sensitive and confidential.

International collaboration provides an important means of sharing resources in the creation of component modules, and also for sharing the outcomes from experience in a variety of policy contexts. The founding partners in this project are the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, and Penn State University.

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Last updated 24 January 2005.