Beauty and Brains: Integrating Easy Spatial Design and Advanced Urban Sustainability Models

  • Eduardo DiasEmail author
  • Marianne Linde
  • Azarakhsh Rafiee
  • Eric Koomen
  • Henk Scholten
Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC, volume 195)


This chapter contributes to the literature on the dyad creative design versus analytical assessment. It describes the challenges of creating a planning support system acceptable by designers, and reports the success of combining two planning support tools: Phoenix, an easy-to-use natural user-interface (using multitouch and physical objects input) for spatial design and Urban Strategy, a framework for integrating advanced environmental and socio-economic models for urban sustainability analysis. The systems were developed in different circumstances, contexts, by and for different groups, but their combination unlocked the key to user acceptance and adoption. Their extremely low learning curve attracts even the most technophobic stakeholders and makes use of recent advances in cloud computing for storage and processing to deliver immediate feedback. It allows anyone (especially designers) to sketch their solutions with natural movements and immediately receive feedback on key indicators of the sustainability performance, enabling iterative improvements of designs.


Planning Process Traffic Model Creative Industry Landscape Architect Spatial Data Infrastructure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research is funded by the research programme Urban Regions in the Delta (URD), part of the VerDuS-programme (‘Verbinding Duurzame Steden’) of the Netherlands organisation for scientific research (NWO). The authors would specially like to thank Tim Ebben (from Geodan), main developer of the Phoenix tool for his efforts and patience. And to Walter Lohman (from TNO), main developer of Urban Strategy, for sharing his knowledge and his efforts in connecting the tools. Last but not least, to all the policy makers, researchers, experts and citizens who participated in planning workshops using these tools (whose feedback allowed us to improve): thank you for believing in designing a better future!


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eduardo Dias
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marianne Linde
    • 1
    • 2
  • Azarakhsh Rafiee
    • 1
  • Eric Koomen
    • 1
  • Henk Scholten
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Spatial Economics/SPINlabVrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.TNOUtrechtThe Netherlands

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