Project on Urban Design and Mobility Receives Funding

A green, yellow, and red aerial relief map of neighborhoods
Walk scores for the College Point neighborhood in Queens, New York, as a result of a speculative mixed-use development along Mill Creek. illustration / provided
street map with colors imposed to show high and low use
Street utilization computed with Urbano using NYC OpenData, Google Places, and OpenStreetMap data sources. illustration / provided
Walk scores for the College Point neighborhood in Queens, New York, as a result of a speculative mixed-use development along Mill Creek. illustration / provided Street utilization computed with Urbano using NYC OpenData, Google Places, and OpenStreetMap data sources. illustration / provided
News
April 26, 2018

Seed funding has been awarded to a cross-disciplinary project on mobility and walkability in cities undertaken by Assistant Professor Timur Dogan, architecture, and Samitha Samaranayake, assistant professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). The funding comes from Cornell's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future Rapid Response Fund, and the Cornell Center for Transportation, Environment, and Community Health (CTECH).

The project, Mobility Aware Integrated Urban Design — Incorporating Transportation Data, Models, and Simulation Tools into the Urban Design Process, addresses traffic congestion, pollution, and related health threats from rapid urbanization. It underpins a long-term research initiative between AAP and CEE focusing on the codesign of urban space and sustainable mobility solutions. "The funding will be used to create the foundation for ongoing research on how building programs and rapid urban growth impact the health and comfort of pedestrians," says Dogan.

According to the grant proposals, the project identifies three main goals — to create automated tools that parse urban form, amenities, and population density from data sources; develop spatially resolved comfort mapping and pollution hazard mapping; and expand statistical/behavioral models to quantify street quality, as well as pollution- and comfort-aware walking and biking mode choices.

A paper on the topic coauthored by Dogan, Samaranayake, and Nikhil Saraf '20, a computer science student in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been accepted by the Symposium on Simulation for Architecture + Urban Design, which will take place in June in Delft, The Netherlands. The authors say that understanding consequences of urban design choices on mobility, sustainability, and health is a necessity that has been detached from existing transportation modeling tools. To reconnect them, researchers will use the CAD-integrated design toolkit Urbano to model active transportation and evaluate access to amenities and public transport. Urbano uses contextual GIS, OpenStreetMap, and Google Places data to set up an urban mobility model, as well as walkability metrics to aid the urban design process.

In addition to his work on this topic, Dogan directs the Environmental Systems Lab (ES Lab) at AAP, which investigates the intersections of architectural design, sustainability, building performance simulation, and computational design. Previously, Dogan and collaborators have received grants for research conducted by ES Lab on building design for optimizing daylighting and energy consumption.

Atkinson Center funding programs invest in faculty, post-doctoral, and student projects that contribute to a vital and resilient future for the global community, including start-up money through its Rapid Response Fund. With major funding from the Department of Transportation, CTECH supports a variety of Cornell research and innovation projects on the sustainable mobility of people and goods while preserving the environment and improving community health.

By Patti Witten