Raising a Digital Twin for Green Urbanisation

DigitalTwin GreenUrbanisation Data Visualisation Interaction

Proposed by Department of Heritage 's-Hertogenbosch

The province of Noord-Brabant, the Netherlands, and its five biggest cities Eindhoven, Tilburg, Breda, ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Helmond (collectively operating in the partnership BrabantStad) are facing rapid urbanization. In fact, this region is one of the most rapidly urbanizing regions in the Netherlands. There is an urgent need for more housing units and workplaces, predominantly within city borders, and this makes the urbanization process challenging: more houses and offices bring more traffic, more demand for open, healthy and green spaces, more energy, water and heat usage. At the same time, cities need to become more sustainable and climate-neutral.


In this project we aim to work together with European cities that face similar challenges, and knowledge institutions and companies that know how to develop and deploy digital twins. To develop a digital twin for green urbanization, but also to learn from each other and develop a digital twin solution that is implementable across borders. We all face similar challenges in making our cities sustainable for the next generation. This project aims to spur the twin green & digital transition, as also underlined in the Digital Europe work programme. To help solve this complex puzzle the city and provincial governments want to employ urban digital twin (DT) technology. A DT is able to show and assess multiple complex effects of urbanization at the same time, thereby allowing for an integrated discussion between different policy fields. Especially when the basis for such a DT, a data infrastructure or data space based on common standards, allows for data sharing and comparison such that the different stakeholders are on the same page at the start of the discussion. This should lead to more support from stakeholders such as citizens, companies and other government bodies; better informed decision making on physical city space by government bodies; and better communication of these decisions. The local governments have developed the idea of a local digital twin, dubbed Digital Urban Brabant (DUB). In this project, DUB should be developed in at least three elements or layers: 1) Data: data infrastructure layer, based on open standards that allow for data sharing, interoperability and cooperation 2) Visualisation: a layer that shows the city in 3D, and brings together information about the built environment, terrain, mobility, sensor data etc. The visualization can be done on a screen, but also in virtual or augmented reality 3) Interaction: a layer that allows for simulation, forecasting, modelling and gaming. Not only for policy makers, but also other stakeholders in the city. In this process, the idea is to re-use existing components as much as possible, and not to develop e.g. new data architectures or visualization tools. Instead, the focus should lie on deployment and application of digital twin technology in analysing the effects of urbanization on e.g. sustainable mobility, green spaces, energy usage; the green and digital transition combined. On top of the analyses, we want to apply digital twins to improve citizen participation in urban development and communication of new plans.