The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


Claire McAndrew and Tim Broyd lead Future Cities Catapult project on City-Scale BIM

11 May 2017

Re/thinking BIM and the data that emanates, beyond architectural, engineering and construction circles.

UCL Bartlett Institute for Digital Innovation in the Built Environment (IDIBE)

UCL’s Institute for Digital Innovation in the Built Environment was commissioned by the Future Cities Catapult to deliver the research and foresight report ‘City Scale Building Information Modelling – State of the Art Research’ as a part of their ‘Integrated Urban Planning’ theme. Delivered in conjunction with the University of Northumbria and IntraTeamIT, it considers how building information modeling might scale up to the city level.
Although largely invisible, the foundations for big data and predictive data analytics are being laid across our cities. BIM as it is commonly referred to, uses digital descriptions of built assets in a 3D environment, providing a process for creating, sharing and managing information during planning, design, construction and management.
Geoffrey Stevens, Urban IoT Manager at Future Cities Catapult, said: “Cities are complex systems made up of buildings, infrastructure and people, and their interactions and exchanges. BIM has huge potential beyond just new buildings, to help design and operate buildings in a way that increases efficiency, wellbeing and productivity. This report highlights ideas from multiple sectors, showing how BIM could optimise the existing built environment, and better provide for cities and their citizens."
Interoperability with other digital city systems to support open information sharing will be one change high on the agenda of possible next steps. A series of provocations for how BIM might coincide with city life in 2050 were also developed. These all assume a default position of open data and imagine a future where new data sources and forecasting/modelling capabilities are developed in citizen centric and citizen comprehensible ways.
Over the next 30 years such developments will open critical questions on the ownership of digital knowledge, as citizen data, algorithms and machines mesh together to drive city intelligence.