COVID-19 has prompted the acceleration of new technologies in cities looking to improve sustainability, using the likes of virtual reality as tools that can be utilized to better prepare and deal with future health crises.
One such technology involves creating virtual 3D replicas of cities – dubbed Digital Twins – to simulate climate change, infrastructure plans and health studies that can be used in to manage crises and help planners foresee how alternative designs affect streets, transport and buildings.
“A Digital Twin that could track the progress of the virus in real time is the perfect platform for aggregating and distributing information at scale in a crisis,” says Michael Jansen, chief executive of U.S. tech firm Cityzenith. “Digital Twins would also help assess and implement economic recovery plans for affected cities and urban regions”
“Cities are complex. But if we can simulate factors such as climate, air quality, traffic flow and movement of people, then planning decisions can be more efficient, equitable, and inclusive,” adds Fabian Dembski, a researcher at the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart, to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.