An open platform for sustainable urban area planning

SRV Construction Ltd is creating a BIM-based open platform in the EUE program to support urban planning since the early stages. After an area has been completed, the model built on that platform will serve the area’s end users as they exploit its services and opportunities.

Image: SARC Architects Ltd

SRV is involved in two work packages of the EUE research program: the RIE (Regional Innovation Ecosystems) package that combines the concepts of the regional BIM model and the SIC (Sustainable Innovation City) package focusing on the processes of sustainable urban area planning. The company was earlier also involved in the ModelNova work package of the PRE program.

– SHOK activities follow a different model compared to our past research projects. They facilitate cooperation between a larger group of companies and provide a new model for cooperation with research institutes, says Juha Toimela, Vice President of SRV Construction Ltd.

– The experiences from the PRE program provided us a good basis for EUE research. While the PRE program generated new information on modeling, particularly at the building level, EUE research integrates it at the urban area level. The focus is on creating standards and principles for model building.

Commercialization of the information produced by the EUE research and its introduction to the markets is a basic objective of SHOK activity. The objective of SRV within the EUE framework is also highly pragmatic: to create a tool to support its own business which can also be used by others in need of it.

– We are still at the basic research phase. However, development has been so strong and fast that we are close to introducing a commercial product to the market. It is highly possible that already during the next research period we will have at our disposal a commercial tool for marketing and planning, Toimela anticipates.

Keilaniemi as the testing ground

SRV has traditionally been a strong player in Keilaniemi, Espoo which made it natural to carry out the demo project there. Keilaniemi was turned into an area model enabling visualization within which users could move in three dimensions. The existing infrastructure has been imported to the virtual model and new designs have been integrated with it.

In Toimela’s estimation the work has progressed excellently and represents top global expertise. Yet, he reminds that although Finland is a world leader in BIM, the country is not as good at urban modeling:

– We have fallen seriously behind. Especially German and Dutch cities and municipalities are investing heavily in city modeling while Finland has only recently woken up to the need. However, we are well poised to catch up.

Toimela considers Finland’s fragmented administrative structures the biggest problem: the number of actors is large – from municipalities to the National Land Survey – and all of them have traditionally had their own data warehouses and different storage standards:

– The information has no clear owner. Even a unit the size of Espoo has to match the scattered information of units that all do things their own way. Espoo has identified the problem, but nationally little progress has taken place so far, Toimela characterizes.

For the same reason, Toimela is somewhat skeptical about the cooperation between various RYM research programs and SHOKs – at least for now. – The EUE program in itself already involves so many parties that its mere coordination is a big challenge. It truly is a large program whose participants have a hard time keeping up with related developments as is.


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