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Urban Planning Software: Network Analysis Toolbox

Urban Planning Software be useful to mitigate the challenges one might face as an area planner, city manager, politician, home owner or business owner

Network Analysis Toolbox is a software that was created to model the traffic of bicycles and pedestrian routes in the cities by modelling them. For different people this software can be useful in different ways. For example, business owners can analyze the most popular pedestrian routes and to open their shops at the most popular locations. Besides, they can analyze the overall market in a certain location and estimate its saturation by looking at the data concerning people’s interactions.

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City managers can discover some problems with traffic jams, not very optimal routes, overcrowded locations, and other. Home owners can estimate the optimal routes and closest businesses that could be useful for them. Politicians can analyze the population in the areas and the interests of the people living in particular districts. It can help them to optimize their campaign and to correct them based on the people’s demands.

Benefits of maximizing interactions of people while minimizing friction

There are social, environmental, and economic advantages of maximizing people’s interaction while minimizing frictions. People interact each other in order to meet new friends, to buy some goods, to use services. City life is based on the interaction of people, so the more they communicate with each other, the better it is for the city economy (City Form Lab, 2012). While interacting with each other, people get new ideas about what to do, where to go, what to buy, thus becoming better consumers. The production of goods, their distribution is also based on logistics.

Importance of the clarity of data and the shaping of our lives

A large amount of data occurs in the city: information about people’s routes, key roads, the number of interactions people have, places they visit, and so on. First of all, this data can become a good basis for solving logistic problems. It can help to understand whether it is necessary to built a bigger road in a particular place, whether traffic lights and pedestrian crosses are needed. Besides, it can help the large companies to better organize their logistic systems.

For example, they can understand where it would be better to build a warehouse and where to put the distribution points. The data analyzed by Network Analysis Toolbox also can help the city architects to find the most successful places for building a subway. From environmental point of view, it also can be helpful, as reduction of unnecessary routes and optimizing the traffic can reduce the time that people spend in traffic jams. Thus, it can help reduce the carbon emissions.

Importance of the issue that MIT is providing software free of charge

It is very important that MIT is providing the Network Analysis Toolbox free of charge. It allows to spread this software among many people and thus to maximize its use for the city. If the software was expensive, then it would be not so helpful for the city environment as it could be, as some people cannot afford to spend money on such type of software or do not want to acquire some tool which functions are nor clear. When they download this software free of charge, they can better discover its functions and to use it for their purposes.


City Form Lab (2012). Urban network analysis. Vimeo. Web.

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