Artificial Intelligence and Urban Planning: How Machine Learning Can Create Efficient 15-Minute Cities
Reimagining Urban Planning: The 15-Minute City and the Role of Artificial Intelligence
Imagine living in a city where parks, walking paths, bike paths, and efficient public transportation are all within a short distance from your home. This idyllic vision is at the heart of urban planning, particularly the concept of a 15-minute city. In a 15-minute city, all essential services and amenities are easily accessible within a quarter of an hour, leading to improved public health and reduced vehicle emissions.
The Potential of Artificial Intelligence in Urban Planning
A recent study conducted by scientists at Tsinghua University in China has demonstrated the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in achieving the 15-minute city concept. Led by automation scientist Yu Cheng, the research team developed an AI system capable of solving urban planning computational problems more efficiently than humans and in record time.
Outperforming Human Designs
Through machine learning and the use of multiple neural networks, the AI system produced city plans that surpassed human designs by approximately 50% in three key metrics: access to services, green space availability, and traffic levels.
Efficiency and Time Savings
Initially tested on small urban areas, the AI model successfully generated optimal road and land use patterns aligned with the 15-minute city vision and local planning policies. Compared to human planners who took 50 to 100 minutes, the AI model completed certain tasks in mere seconds. Automating these time-consuming tasks allows urban planners to focus on more complex aspects of their work, such as public engagement and aesthetics.
The Role of AI as a “Helper”
The researchers envision the AI system as a valuable tool for city planners, assisting them in creating designs that are optimized by algorithms. These designs can then be further refined, modified, and evaluated based on community feedback and expert insights.
The study, published in the journal Nature Computational Science, offers a promising glimpse into the future of urban planning and its potential to transform cities into sustainable, accessible, and vibrant environments.