Urban planning striving for the 15-minute city concept could get a major boost from artificial intelligence (AI), according to a study by Tsinghua University in China. The study revealed an AI system could design more efficient city layouts than human planners, improving access to services and green spaces alongside reducing traffic congestion.
AI surpasses human urban planning
Urban planning may soon be revolutionized by AI. A recent study by researchers at Tsinghua University in China has developed an AI system that outperforms human planning in creating efficient spatial layouts for cities, and it does this in a fraction of the time. The application of AI in city planning could lead to greener, more accessible cities with less traffic congestion.
AI system excels in key urban areas
The AI system, developed by Yu Zheng and his team at Tsinghua University, has shown outstanding results. In three key areas of city design - access to services, access to green spaces, and traffic levels - the AI system outshines human designs by about 50 percent. This significant improvement could help transform our cities into more livable, sustainable spaces.
AI and human collaboration in urban planning
The AI model isn't intended to replace human planners, but rather to work as an assistant. The vision of the researchers is for the AI system to optimize concept designs that are then adjusted, reviewed, and evaluated by human experts. This collaborative process between AI and humans could lead to a more efficient and effective approach to urban planning.
The study reveals promising potential benefits from integrating AI into the urban planning process. By allowing AI to assist in the planning process, access to basic services and parks could increase by 12 and 5 percent respectively. This shows that the use of AI can tangibly improve the living standards in urban areas.
In a blind test involving 100 urban designers, some of the spatial designs created by AI were preferred over those created by human planners. However, it's important to note that in some cases there was no clear winner, indicating that even with AI, human insight and experience in urban planning still holds significant value.