Generative Design for Smart Regulations

Staff Involved
M-SE Core knowledge areas
Spatial Information Science (SIS)
Spatial Planning for Governance (SPG)
Technical Engineering (TE)
Additional Remarks

Affinity with (or deep interest in) 3D modelling, geometry and topology, computer science, and mathematics (linear algebra and graph theory in particular) is expected. However, the project is not purely technical but also applied, and so, the student is expected to be familiar with or willing to research planning processes and approaches to participatory decision-making. 

Topic description

The so-called Right to Light in Great Britain, the European standard EN 17037 “Daylight in Buildings”, and similar design codes or standards of good practice provide recommendations for ensuring the rights of property owners to receive sunlight, daylight, sky view, and alike. In view of the possibility of installing solar panels on buildings, the same rights can also be seen as a basis for the renewable energy capture potential of buildings. In relatively dense urban contexts, not only the spatial context is typically occluding the sky view and thus restricting the sunlight hours of buildings, but also the building itself becomes an occlusion to its neighbourhood and even itself. Thus in a turn from normative design regulations concerned with giving static directives as to what needs to be done to guarantee adherence to standards, we propose to generate the design guidelines in the form of an environmental envelope for a building based on what needs to be attained in terms of solar-climatic requirements and goals. The idea is to develop a computational methodology and implement it as a tool either:

  • in the context of the Netherlands where the 3D geo-information is already available as open data (e.g. the 3D BAG dataset)
  • in the context of a country without such 3D city models being available, by using Digital Surface Models (DSM) from global Earth Observation data sets (such as those from the ESA or DLR)
Topic objectives and methodology

The goal is to devise a computational methodology and implement it in Python (NumPy/SciPy family of libraries). Methods from geometric optics, computer graphics, linear algebra, graph theory, and mathematical programming will have to be used to develop this methodology. Familiarity with geodata processing methods and libraries in python is assumed. 

References for further reading
  • Capeluto, I Guedi, Abraham Yezioro, Tamar Bleiberg, and Edna Shaviv. “FROM COMPUTER MODELS TO SIMPLE DESIGN TOOLS: SOLAR RIGHTS IN THE DESIGN OF URBAN STREETS,” 2005.
  • Natanian, Jonathan, Francesco De Luca, Thomas Wortmann, and Guedi Capeluto. “The Solar Block Generator: An Additive Parametric Method for Solar Driven Urban Block Design.” Journal of Physics: Conference Series 2042, no. 1 (November 1, 2021): 012049.
  • De Luca, Francesco. “Solar Form Finding: Subtractive Solar Envelope and Integrated Solar Collection Computational Method for High-Rise Buildings in Urban Environments.” In Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA). Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (MA): CUMINCAD, 2017.
  • Brembilla, Eleonora, Shervin Azadi, and Pirouz Nourian. “A Computational Approach for Checking Compliance with European View and Sunlight Exposure Criteria.” In Proceedings of Building Simulation Conference 2021. Bruges, Belgium, 2021.
  • Open Source Geo-spatial Digital Twinning
  • Maximizing Solar Electricity Yield
  • Generative Solar-Climatic Configuration
How can topic be adapted to Spatial Engineering

The topic can be tailored as much as desired to the specific data/regulatory challenges of a particular local government or a nation-state for ensuring equitable management of the utilization of energy potentials. The integration of such smart regulations in participatory planning and urban design processes is a wicked problem that needs to be framed and tackled iteratively.