H e a l t h y   C i t y

 

Type: Software / Plug-in

Status: Under development

Year: 2017

Our intent is to create a plug-in program to architectural software such as Rhino that helps the user during the Schematic Design Phase of an urban development; the program’s output will show an appropriate city layout where it creates the basis for a pleasant living environment. 

In order to achieve our goal, we are creating a Python script that helps analyze the view-points and visual clearance of each building; facade by facade, floor by floor. The Python code will shoot rays from a specific point of view (Origin) that will either hit a physical object (Building) or will go in vain (Natural Element).

The produced results will be saved and analyzed along with the field literature. The result of this combination of data sets will produce statistics under form of percentages that will be used to determine whether the built environment is ‘healthy’ or not towards a person’s well-being. 

 

 

What is Parametric Design?

Parametric design is a process based on algorithmic thinking that enables the expression of parameters and rules that, together, define, encode and clarify the relationship between design intent and design response.

Parametric design is a paradigm in design where the relationship between elements is used to manipulate and inform the design of complex geometries and structures.

Python

Python is a scripting language; is used often to run a series of commands as a script or used to create links between two other technologies. It wan be used to: Automate a repetitive task in Rhino, perform tasks in Rhino or Grasshopper that you don’t have access to in the standard set of Rhino commands or Grasshopper components, generate geometry using algorithms, and a variety of many other things as it is a programming language.

Healthy City  Plug-In

The “Healthy City” tool serves as the base for city planning, urban study and urban development. Through its use we can create an ‘Ideal City’ with an increase of greenspace and visual clarity; the living conditions will improve without having a negative impact on the constantly developing modern cities. This will aid the Architectural and Urban Planning firms in designing a healthy environment, and will give users the possibility to check their designs with sectors, districts or cities around the world. As the project develops, it will analyze health conditions in a modern urban environment through the comparison of existing cities such as New York, London, Shanghai etc. helping users improve the urban morphology ultimately helping them gain a healthier life style. 

Sustainable City

We live in a World where the industrial machine provided
us numerous ways to improve our cities and accommodate the constantly increasing population; from the use of new materials, to methods of construction however, the human factor over time has been left out of the equation giving space to the capitalistic expansion of the construction world. How do we change this scenario? What are the factors that control the quality of a city? We often qualify modern cities with resilient, livable, and sustainable environments, but what do these adjectives actually mean?

“The term ‘resilience’ is often used as an umbrella term for the planning and design strategies needed in order to help our cities develop the necessary capacity to meet the challenges
of the future” (resilientcity.org). This goes in different layers from infrastructure, design that is adaptive to change, terrorism, economic hardship, social resilincy etc.

Livable by definition means life in the city as creation of a sustainable environment. It is the quality of life; it touches schools, public health, crime statistics, good infrastructure, social programs such as sports or other. It assumes different values based of the individual but all share common ground.

Sustainable cities try to take long-term view on projects to create equilibrium where natural resources are scarce. Those are cities that are environmental friendly, and its principles are reactive to a world where our hand has been harsh on nature forcing us to re-evaluate our behavior in various elds.

Historical relationship between Men and Nature

Since the beginning of time, early advanced civilizations such as the Greeks and the Romans wondered about the significance of Nature; many philosophical theories started questioning its in influence on men. Over the course of history, many literary and artistic movements tried to expose the essence of the relationship between men and nature however, real major breaking points were seen through the evolution of the ‘new’ architectural movements of the last centuries.

After the industrialization that overcrowded cities such as London, there was a need to restore good health in a society that was constantly developing new products and new types of buildings; the only ‘greenspaces’ were the cemeteries placed around the cities. These green zones started to become focal nodes within the daily life of people, architects started to plan them creating pleasant walks trying to give health back to the built environment that seemed to have lost it.

This new need became more funded and many projects around late 1800s, early 1900s included re-organizations of the city structure around green sectors; the idealized ‘greencity’ was a movement that focused on the belief that this new typology of urban development would bring health to the dwellers. Many of these projects were not built, as they did not meet the capitalistic needs of the society, yet they influenced urban planners and landscapers. For example, Central Park was designed with the aim of improving the health level in the constantly evolving New York City simultaneously increasing property value for the real estate of the neighboring blocks, the proposed Washington DC plan, featured many green areas and ‘walkable-malls’ into a congested urban environment and so on.

“A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”, Georges Seurat 

Problem

These historical references teach us that men are influenced by nature, and that they perceive greenspace as a way to bring health into modern urban environments however, there is no quantitative data rather than in-loco user interviews that supports this claim; even if the connection seems to be an ‘inborn-concept’. 

Current Situation

Our society's capitalistic expansion, better health and new technologies brought to overpopulation. In this scenario there is an urge to find new urban approaches that aid and fulfill the needs of our current society. 

Field Research
Flow Chart
Process Diagrams

If the visibility within the built environment is less then 70%, the code will respawn a different set of buildings untill it reaches the required view percentage. 

Once reached 70% of visual clarity, the code will plot the desired city meeting all the criteria inserted as inputs; in addition it will plot additional greenspace (50% of tot. area). 

By the end of each floor, the code will have an average percentage of visibility within the built surrounding environment. 

Once the code is done analyzing one building, it repeats the process with all the buildings present in the spawned city. 

A loop will check each side of the building; once done it will go to the next floor. 

In the process, the code will store the information of the visual range facade by facade, floor by floor. 

A function will select midpoints from each side of the building and shoot directional vectors for visual range. 

An array of vectors will generate a view cone representing the human visual range. 

The code will generate buildings based on specific inputs: area, population, and building limitations. 

The code analyzes each volume based on typical floor height housing the the previously defined population. 

Future Development

Phase two of the Healthy City Plug-in will gather GIS data from database platforms such as OpenStreetMap.

This will allow users to test their own city development within existing ones or compare the ‘livable’ factor based on greenspace, and visual clarity. 

1- Inport OSM data from OpenStreetMap source.

 

2- Plug in File Path and connect it to Polyline - Grasshopper funciton that organizes data into a 2D layout.


3- To turn the data into 3D representation, the OSM function is selected and connected to Brep.


4- “Bake” (function within Brep) the Brep function for solid objects.


5- Create a separate path for Roads and Trees from OSM website and follow similar path for extrusion. 

Future Development

Possible fields for the Healthy City

plug-in software.

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