Digital Twins

Digital twins, 3D virtual replicas of a given system, place or thing are becoming more widely used in planning internationally but their value depends on the data available.

The concept is also widely adopted within the UK and Scottish Government innovation spheres with a ‘Digital Twin Hub’ created by the Centre for Digital Britain as part of the UK Government ‘National Digital Twin programme’. Since 2022 this has transitioned to a muti sector and industry focus with key priorities on ensuring better outcomes for people and nature through aiding a collaborative and co-ordinated approach to problem-solving.

Digital Twin Toolkit UK

In this regard a tool kit is available assisting cities, places or community leaders to arrange and manage data regarding the physical world by using a digital assets that can evolve and grow to answer new questions that arise over the lifecycle of the places it represents. This digital twinning approach has been an integral part of innovation led initiatives such as the ‘Catapult Connected Places’ forum/s where the opportunity is also beginning to be realised ‘to improve the delivery of infrastructure construction and maintenance through a variety of technology platforms…

Digital Twin Rotterdam – visualisation of real-time energy usage data

Digital Twins have proven to have many practical applications for cities across Europe. For example, Rotterdam is building a 3-D city operations platform that allows for the visualisation of real-time energy usage data from individual buildings and the entire area.

Digital Twin Barcelona – visualisation of physical, social and digital systems

In Barcelona, a city-wide modelling programme is being developed. This has been compared to ‘adding layers to lasagne’ as the project aims to continue to add new layers that cover a number of policy areas in the planning of the city. Through the modelling programme, work has now begun in looking at how physical, social and digital systems can impact each other and the city.

Image reference:

Digital Twin Flanders – traffic model to combat air pollution

Flanders, as part of the DUET Digital Twins project, is developing a traffic model that estimates the expected traffic volume in surrounding streets when one or more streets are closed.

Currently, Flanders is a European hot spot for air pollution. Alternatives to car transport have been put in place to increase the daily level of physical activity (PA) among the population and reduce air pollution and global warming. To evaluate the impact of existing measures and help create new ones, Flanders will test and implement the Digital Twin to ingest and use vast amounts of data to help the city and its stakeholders explore correlations between the mobility, health and air data.’

Image reference: