All cities have complexities, but Rennes Métropole in Brittany, France, needs to serve 43 different communities, nearly half a million residents and more than 18,000 companies with equity and efficiency. Simultaneously, its urban planners must integrate modern, gleaming towers with the centuries-old buildings that give the region its historic charm, and they must manage quality-of-life issues, from pollution and traffic to energy efficiency and green space.
In the slide show that follows, discover the city's digital-age approach to balancing these competing issues.
One important resource for managing the city's complexity is Virtual Rennes, an interactive 3D model of the entire city. Virtual Rennes, known as a “virtual twin experience” because it allows users to “experience” the city as a detailed virtual model, includes existing and proposed buildings and is hosted on an online platform the helps all stakeholders work together and remain informed. (Image courtesy of Rennes-Métropole)
Virtual Rennes allows planners to look deeper than what is visible in the city... (Image courtesy of File2Factory)
...to understand the past, access data that explains the present, and analyze and manage plans for the future, in as much detail as is needed. (Image courtesy of Rennes-Métropole)
Unlike traditional ways of planning, which made extensive use of static records and maps, Virtual Rennes is dynamic, changing as the city grows and evolves. With 3D models and photorealistic renderings driven by rich and ever-growing data, even a hallway conversation about a project can be fully informed. (Image courtesy of File2Factory)
Having a virtual twin brings a new dimension to planning discussions. The model can be shared on a laptop, projected onto a screen, and manipulated to focus on the broadest overview or the smallest detail of a project. All of the data that drives the model is accessible with a few clicks, ensuring ready access to the rich details behind the models. (Image courtesy of File2Factory)
Before creating Virtual Rennes, for example, information on power demand was available only for an individual neighborhood, making it difficult to identify, track and manage trends. With data available via a virtual twin experience, planners can quickly sort and filter information from the entire city. Views can be as granular or cumulative as needed, from building-by-building to city-wide views. (Image courtesy of Rennes-Métropole)
Virtual Rennes also helps simplify transportation planning. In this example, a project manager wanted to see the metro stations close to a proposed new development, as well as the bus routes that serve the area. By ensuring that options are convenient for travelers and that public transportation can accommodate the anticipated increase in volume, the city helps to avoid increases in private automotive traffic. (Image courtesy of Rennes-Métropole)
A virtual twin experience also simplifies the planning team’s ability to evaluate the cumulative impact of planning decisions. For example, Rennes Métropole maintains a network of air quality sensors. By connecting that network to Virtual Rennes, the model can maintain a history of readings. Such historical data could be used to determine the cause of fluctuations and calculate the impact of growth that will generate new sources of pollution. (Image courtesy of Rennes-Métropole)
When evaluating the impact of major projects, a proposal may undergo many changes before it is approved. As in this hypothetical example, a planning team can use the virtual twin experience to toggle instantly between a photorealistic model of an area... (Image courtesy of Rennes-Métropole)
...to a 3D model of a proposed redevelopment. (Image courtesy of Rennes-Métropole)
The platform that drives the virtual twin experience provides dashboards that each planner can use to organize their most-accessed project data and documentation. In this example, the dashboard includes an architect’s rendering of the project; an environmental impact statement; data on citizens’ comments about the project; and an overview map that can be zoomed or expanded to show as much or as little 3D detail as needed. (Image courtesy of Rennes-Métropole)
Most new buildings, however, are not proposed by governments, but by developers, engineers and architects. To add such proposals to the model quickly, the Rennes Métropole team developed an API (computer code) to copy building models from external sources into the virtual twin. The tool places the imported model near the geo-located placeholder created by the Rennes Métropole team. A simple “grab-and-drag” process allows the project manager to move the architect’s model to the proper location. (Image courtesy of Rennes-Métropole)
Once the model is properly located it appears as a full 3D model, visible only to the project manager and users they authorize. In this view, the project manager is checking shadows cast by the proposed building. Using the clock and calendar features, the manager can see the shadows cast at different times of day and different times of the year, helping to evaluate the building’s impact on sunlight available to neighboring structures, sidewalks and streets. (Image courtesy of Rennes-Métropole)
Project managers establish a cloud-based “community” for each project. Rennes Métropole staff use the communities to collaborate, sharing concerns and possible resolutions. Project managers also can give external stakeholders access to these communities, to answer questions or provide more information. The community creates a record of every interaction, preserving the history of all issues and resolutions – a tremendous efficiency over emails or spreadsheets. (Image courtesy of Rennes-Métropole)
When a project is ready for review by elected officials, project managers can use the platform’s “3D Story” function to automatically generate illustrated reports, with models and data pulled from the virtual twin. This report is on the impact of shadows cast by a proposed high-rise building. (Image courtesy of Rennes-Métropole)
Citizens are stakeholders, too. To keep members of the public informed about the city and its growth, city planners use Virtual Rennes when they present proposals for new housing and host “project halls” for citizens. Here, children learn the details of a plan to replace their school with a new one. (Image courtesy of Rennes-Métropole)
Watch a video to learn more about how
virtual twin experiences help cities create sustainable operations.
Learn more about
creating virtual twin experiences of cities.