City planning fosters positive interactions between people and places, creating a vibrant
urban neighborhood. Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT presents the Urban Network
Analysis UNA, which is software that uses links, nods, and buildings to connect people and
places. The UNA is designed to maximize interactions between people and businesses while
minimizing frictions. City planning to create patterns of connecting people by optimizing
locations and paths in dense urban populations stimulates social, economic, and environmental
City planners, managers, and politicians use UNA to compile complex data to compute
metrics which is impossible to calculate manually automatically. UNA combines various types
of data and utilized special analysis approaches to calculate proximity between people and
places. UNA can be used to enumerate location proximities and commuter behaviors that can be
essential in determining traffic patterns and policy incentives (City Form Lab, 2021). Reach,
closeness, and betweenness are some of the metrics used by UNA to estimate accessibility and
trajectories to different locations. Spatial configurations using the UNA tool help city planners
increase city patronage using automatically calculated metrics.
Maximizing interactions with people while minimizing frictions have social, economic,
and environmental benefits. Reshaping urban landscape to manage cities with high population
favorable environments for low, medium, and high-income individuals to live in one area.
Improving interactions in the cities generates economic value by maximizing exposure and
minimizing cost (Bibri et al., 2020). The UNA creates proximities for facilities and amenities
that people can use to satisfy needs while reducing cost. UNA also informs city planners and
politicians on environmental concerns to establish sustainable development (City Form Lab,
2021). Effective city planning using tools such as UNA impart healthy social coexistence,
strengthen the economy and foster sustainable development.
The clarity of data from UNA makes the accesibility of city resources easy and equitable.
UNA computes all the city resources and calculates the spatial proximity to reveal the closest
facility. Using UNA, people can easily locate businesses, residencies, and employment
opportunities (City Form Lab, 2021). The search for location information gives the closest
destination the individual can obtain the services they are looking for. For instance, people can
track the location of the nearest stores, transit, jobs, residents, and public amenities. Street
networks by geographical links of different geographical areas improve the accesibility of goods
Volumes of data generated in contemporary cities also establish equitable access to city
resources. Effective city planning by establishing interaction between people enables the
government to establish fair spatial allocation to ensure equitable access to socio-economic
facilities (Bibri et al., 2020). All location destinations have equal opportunities to sell goods and
services despite their popularity and attractiveness (Kalvo et al., 2017). Through UNA, for
example, people have access to the same level of accessibility to goods, services, and amenities
(City Form Lab, 2021). Analyzing urban network establish an inclusive urban society by
enhancing equitable distribution of services and amenities.
By MIT offering UNA free of charge will make it available for developing cities.
Developing and poor towns are the most scourged by poor planning (Kalvo et al., 2017).
Growing cities can utilize the UNA to design the most effective distribution of city resources to
improve the interaction of the people with minimal friction. Poor, emerging, and medium-sized
cities can leverage UNA free of charge to generate the most effective city development strategies
that are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.
MIT developed the UNA that is a city planning tool that utilizes data to facilitate
sustainable urban planning. Links, nods, and buildings are the three essential elements that the
UNA uses to summarize a complex built environment such as cities. The UNA has social,
economic, and environmental bene fits to residents of the urban population. Establishing patterns
of human activities and travel habits to establish easy accessibility of locations reduce
commuting cost and develop sustainable dense urban environment.
City Form Lab. (2021). Urban network analysis toolbox for ArcGIS — City form
Kalvo, R., Sevtsuk, A., & Harvard, G. S. D. (2017). Patronage of urban commercial clusters: a
network-based extension of the Huff model for balancing location and size.
Bibri, S. E., Krogstie, J., & Kärrholm, M. (2020). Compact city planning and development:
Emerging practices and strategies for achieving the goals of sustainability. Developments
in the built environment, 4, 100021.