Imagine residing in a city where all your basic necessities and services are just a 15-minute commute away. A utopian dream? Not quite, thanks to the emerging role of Artificial Intelligence in urban planning.
The Role of AI in Urban Planning
Artificial Intelligence (AI) could assist in turning this dream into a reality in a shorter timeframe. This is confirmed by a study from Tsinghua University in China, which indicates that machine learning has the potential to create more efficient spatial layouts compared to humans.
The AI Urban Planning System
An AI system for urban planning was created by Automation Scientist Yu Zheng and his team. According to their findings, the system outperforms human designs by approximately 50 percent in terms of access to services, proximity to green spaces and traffic levels after only two days of training and utilizing several neural networks.
The AI system is capable of designing smaller urban areas and can even be scaled up for planning larger urban regions, albeit this poses greater complexities. The potential time savings from automating certain steps in urban planning are substantial.
Assisting Human Planners
AI can provide considerable support to human planners. It can optimize their concept designs and free them up to concentrate on aspects that require a more human touch. The results of this collaborative process could be remarkable – improving access to basic services and parks by 12 and 5 percent respectively.
A survey conducted with 100 urban designers revealed that a significant number had a preference for AI-generated designs. However, the ultimate measure of success for AI will be evidenced by enhancements in public health and reductions in noise, heat, and pollution in communities built from its plans.
The findings of this study have been published in Nature Computational Science, indicating its acceptance and recognition in the scientific community.