What this means is that city planners can look at their cities and see, for instance, that some neighborhoods are closer to jobs than others (the map at the top is the “reach” map for jobs in Cambridge, MA. Red means closer to jobs). Knowing this, planners might want to build transportation from green areas to red areas. It can also predict things like street traffic: Good to know if you want to create a commercial zone where you will need walk-in customers.
Until now, claims MIT, no free tools were available for city planners to tackle the tough computational challenges of characterizing the dense tangle of streets, buildings, and transport in modern cities. MIT hopes the UNA toolbox, an open-source plug-in for the ArcGIS mapping program, will enable urban designers, architects, planners, and geographers around the world to better understand how the spatial patterns of cities will affect the way people live and move around their urban environments.
The UNA toolbox can be downloaded here.
Twenty-seven cities in America are expected to top the 10 million population plateau by 2020. Software like this will crucial to solve large, urban problems. [via curiositycounts]