Optimizing public space with parametric design

The consequences of climate change are more frequent and more noticeable nowadays. Heat records are broken, and rain showers are increasingly heavier. Existing public spaces are no longer able to cope with this new reality of peak moments in our weather conditions. Therefore, ignoring this issue is no longer an option! Municipalities in the Netherlands also see this issue by asking us as urban, architectural and landscape designers regularly to combine large-scale maintenance work with a climate-adaptive redevelopment of the public space.

Parametric tool
With this new reality in mind, CB5 in collaboration with Antea Group has developed the ‘Straatmixer’ with the aim of optimizing the climate-adaptive design of public space. This innovative parametric design tool can easily generate various street profiles and test them for a set of climate effects. By entering variables in the design tool, such as the surrounding building measurements, the tree dimensions, and data of an existing & new street profile, a 3D-model is automatically generated. Inputting the street profiles is done with a simple barcode system in which letters represent different materials and numbers represent the street dimensions. All other measurements and parameters which affect the design can also be entered within the interface and will directly be implemented into the 3D model.

Climate effects
The generated 3D-model will simultaneously be used for microclimate simulations which are performed by using nearby weather data. These microclimate simulations will generate extensive data which are useful for analysing various climate effects within the 3D-model. A clear dashboard gives insight into heat stress, water infiltration, proportion of green and the (management) costs of a street profile. In the 3D-model itself, different results are also illustrated by using heatmaps such as the PET (physiological equivalent temperature) and the UTCI (Universal Thermal Climate Index). By using objective data to instantaneously generate and analyse street profiles, the user quickly gains an understanding to optimize towards a more climate-adaptive design of the public space.

Interested in our ‘Straatmixer’? See our movie on the website: www.straatmixer.nl