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Generative Design for Walkable Cities: a case study of Sofia

Kumalasari, Dewi (2022) Generative Design for Walkable Cities: a case study of Sofia.

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Abstract:Pedestrian-friendly environments are essential in creating healthy and productive communities. People in many large cities worldwide, including the city of Sofia (Bulgaria), are more likely to use private vehicles, resulting in high particulate matter concentrations. Therefore, Sofia municipality intends to tackle the air pollution issue by working towards improved walkability. Urban planning is a fundamental discipline that enables walkability improvement through sustainable urban development planning. Currently, the implementation of walkability is limited to something "nice to know about" rather than a "must-have" criterion for sustainable planning. To address this issue, integration between walkability and mainstream design approach, such as generative design, can be a solution. In addition, walkability in the generative design domain only considers one primary indicator: "distance to amenities". While in fact, other dimensions could represent walkability, namely the comfort dimension. In this study, we tried to combine distance to amenities and urban greeneries to represent the comfort dimension. Since walkability is highly personal, we also incorporated the human perspective. Furthermore, we aim to develop a workflow to integrate walkability and parametric modelling based on comfort dimensions to create walkability-optimal-urban-plans. To reach the aim of this research, an initial review and problem analysis of the walkability assessment method in the previous research has been done. Through this stage, the research gap and method have been identified. The Walkscore method has been selected to be developed in this research due to its familiarity and multi-dimensionality. Building upon the research gap and identified method, a workflow is developed based on integrating the distance to amenities and urban greeneries with the human perspective input on the generative design domain. After that, the proposed workflow needs to be implemented in the study area (Krastova Vada) to generate walkabilityoptimal-urban-plans. Since the human perspective is considered, a walking preference survey with the citizen of Sofia has been organized. To validate the proposed workflow, it is also implemented in another location, “Lozenets”, to compare its baseline walkability score with the people’s walking experience. Implementing the proposed workflow has resulted in three different amenities and urban greeneries placement scenarios. The walkability score has increased from 56.93 to 82.43 in scenario 1, 74.40 in scenario 2, and 73.12 in scenario 3. In conclusion, this study has shown that walkability can be useful for a "must-have" design criterion rather than just a "nice to know about" assessment tool. The implementation of the proposed workflow has shown that the chosen location of amenities and urban greeneries have helped increase the walkscore, thus can be interpreted as increasing the neighbourhood's walkability. In addition, incorporating human perspective and urban greeneries have also successfully given a new variety of walkability assessments in the generative design domain. The different scenarios developed also show the capability of the proposed workflow as the main objective of this study, as well as the incorporation of generative design into the urban planning process to be a discussion tool for the policymakers, stakeholders, and other parties involved. However, further discussion with stakeholders is needed to determine constraints to produce more reliable scenarios that better represent the actual condition. Selecting constraints is essential in determining what scenarios to make and fit the stakeholders' preferences, which could also align with Sofia's building code regulation. It is also essential to notice that strategic planning of a location for different categories of amenities and locations for urban greeneries installation is needed to increase the walkability of a neighbourhood.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Subject:74 (human) geography, cartography, town and country planning, demography
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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