The Urban Design Machine
Authors: Hutson, Andrew
ABSTRACT: Urban design directly impacts upon the built environment but the physical implications
are not always visualised before determinations are made. The ability to create 3D digital models of
urban environs, at both large and small scales has been available for years and a part of urban design.
But the process is cumbersome and the model not easily accessible except to those with technical
expertise. Creating and amending such a model requires information to be painstakingly entered to
accommodate change. Digital models are similarly restrictive in the type and format of data that can be
incorporated. The outcome is that computer generated models are used more in the presentation of
urban strategies than as an effective tool in testing the physical implications of planning policy. Imagine
a small plain box that will accept information from a variety of sources and result in a digital model of a
site, precinct or city. This model is accessible by multiple users, malleable in real time, inclusive of nongraphic
data and could provide immediate visualization to be useful as a tool for testing design
concepts. This paper will look at the viability of an Urban Design Machine.