MIT Releases Toolbox For Urban Network Analysis

The new urban planning software will help architects and designers build in cities.

MIT researchers from the City Form Research Group have released a free piece of open-source software that gives urban designers and planners the tools to describe spatial patterns of cities using mathematical network analysis methods. This new Urban Network Analysis (UNA) toolbox will be useful for supporting city design in the future, which has become more difficult due to rapid urbanization.

The toolbox can help to explain the whereabouts of local commerce, where pedestrian and vehicle traffic is high, and why city land values vary from one location to another. Users can measure the five different aspects of Reach, Gravity, Betweenness, Closeness, and Straightness. Michael Mekonnen, who worked on the project, explains:

The Reach measure, for instance, can be used to estimate how many destinations of a particular type — buildings, residents, jobs, transit stations etc. — can be reached within a given walking radius from each building along the actual circulation routes in the area. The Betweenness measure, on the other hand, can be used to quantify the number of potential passersby at each building.

This means that planners can look at their cities and see which neighborhoods are closer to jobs and which locations have lots of street traffic, so they have an idea where to build new roads or a new commercial area. You can watch the video below for more information about the toolbox:

City Form Research Group

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