The Future of City Planning in a Digital Age

Ruth Shilston
Senior Engineer, Project Manager
RWDI, London

This presentation uses the City of London as a case study. London is seeing its historic village centers grow vertically with 500 towers over 20 stories currently in the planning pipeline. This explosion in construction comes at a time where there is a greater focus on the quality of the public realm. The business case for the design of a new tall tower, retail destination or new city district is driven in part by the quality of the environment at ground level.

However, areas of London have gained a reputation for being uncomfortably windy. This presentation shows work done for the City of London Corporation to quantify the wind conditions and compare the pedestrian wind environment in London with other major cities worldwide. This work has culminated in a new set of planning guidelines that establish minimum standards for wind microclimate studies in the city of London requiring both computational fluid dynamics and physical wind tunnel testing for taller schemes.

Furthermore, the quality of the public realm is determined by more than just wind. This presentation also shows the next stage in the collaboration with the City of London Corporation where we use computational modelling to quantify other variables such as solar, thermal comfort and air quality. This modeling illustrates the impact that tall buildings have in terms of overshadowing, increasing ventilation, and pollution dispersion rates. A detailed understanding of climate is one factor in the consideration of locations where the City will invest in improved walkability and high value retail spaces.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation