CITYROI - Return on Investment in Cities

                                                              

CITYROI - Return on Investment in Cities

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Solution proposed by: 
WSP Finland Oy
In a Nutshell: 
Cities need urban diversity in order to create a resilient and vibrant society. Urban diversity calls for proximity and connectivity. The city structure where these both exist creates Urban Capacity. CITYROI is a service that helps you to find and increase Urban Capacity by using the latest GIS-methods to determine the structure of the city to discover its full potential
Where and When: 
CITYROI has been used in the planning process of Helsinki, Finland. Helsinki is currently preparing a new city plan for 2050. The plan allows the growth of Helsinki from the current city of 625 000 inhabitants to 860 000 inhabitants by 2050. Additionally the cities of Espoo and Jyväskylä have adopted the system since 2015 (2015 -2016).
Challenges: 
In the Western countries, cities built by principles of conventional urban planning no longer serve the people living in them. Modern, often information technology built services and jobs do not find their place in old city structure where suburbs, office districts and services are differentiated. Both suburbs and office districts lack services and therefore residents find these places unattractive to spend their spare time. Outdated norms and calculation models adjusted to support conventional city planning and transport systems are leading to urban sprawl and dispersed cities. Furthermore, urban sprawl creates more CO2-emissions and accelerates climate change, which make cities even more unattractive.
Innovation: 
Due to the technological revolution and decline of industrial production in the Western societies, living and working conditions have changed permanently. Therefore, cities and urban planning must also change to meet the needs of the new urban life. Our innovation CITYROI planning service uses latest GIS methods to analyze different areas of the city to detect their urban structure and its development potential. It arises from a combination of blocks, properties and activities within good proximity and connectivity serving needs of the modern urban life comprehensively
Concept: 
In cities, there is no longer such a need to separate areas for strictly working area districts or areas for habitation. Instead, these areas are rather mixed. Citizens, as well as business, benefit of a versatile neighborhood in regards of services and employment. In a reachable or well-connected city different players meet daily and generate local “buzz” of events and services. This can be increased for example by improving reachability or adding missing functions to form a more vibrant and diverse neighborhood with sustainable economy in a local scale. Urban Capacity is a term we have invented to describe this versatile, modern type of city. In Urban Capacity we combine geospatial information of habitation, services and jobs and their connectivity and proximity to each other. Cities with high Urban Capacity benefit of higher city productivity and better quality of life. CITYROI is a service built to identify and increase the Urban Capacity of cities and particular districts. A good city can be evolved in urban structure with sufficient urban and traffic capacity. With CITYROI we can measure Urban Capacity of the city structure along the traditional measurements of traffic capacity.
Description: 
Urban Capacity is formed of a combination of blocks and properties and activities within them in addition to a network that connects these. This means: the more blocks, properties and activities and the denser the network, the higher the rate of Urban Capacity. With CITYROI tools we are able to identify the current Urban Capacity of areas. By overlaying the geospatial information of city dwellers with jobs’ and properties’ location along the city street network, we are able to draw an analysis of the current Urban Capacity status in the area. This way we find area descriptive thresholds for each overlaying feature, and are then able to identify the areas which need for example more jobs, dwellings or services to gain sufficient Urban Capacity. The primary benefit of increased Urban Capacity is city productivity. When a functional and versatile city structure supports people creating more “urban buzz”, it creates more opportunities to city dwellers to meet others and create more innovations, and consequently – create new jobs. The quality of life improves in high Urban Capacity areas. In addition, city high resident density and tighter traffic network, people have closer relations to their society too. When jobs are located closer to homes, people are not spending time commuting or stuck in traffic, but have instead more time to spend with their family and friends. Simultaneously, they have more time to use services, such as gyms, barber shops or restaurants, in their neighborhood enhancing the local economy by using the local services. The decreasing amount of private vehicles and traffic also results in environmental improvements such as better air quality as well as less noise-related distraction. Cities with high Urban Capacity and functional traffic system produce less CO2, which means fewer emissions to the atmosphere and smaller impact on climate change than the old city structure
Impacts: 
The biggest impact of CITYROI planning service is the enhancement of city productivity and living quality. CITYROI aims to support creating new jobs, enhance local sustainable economy, increase the amount and variety of local services and strengthen social inclusion and singular identity by dynamic and customized city planning. In fully functional city jobs and services are accessible to all the people. CITYROI planning also decreases city’s emissions, and hence, is a greener way of living than in cities which are planned in conventional methods. These impacts will be seen in practice in a few years in Helsinki when the new plan will be taken into practice.

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