Sustainability assessment and visualisation in urban environments

  • John P. Isaacs

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis describes a programme of research work which investigated the need for and the development of a novel decision support tool for sustainable decision making in urban environments. The Sustainable City Visualisation Tool (S-City VT) uses a sub-modelling approach coupled with 3D visualisation to support sustainable decision making and has been designed to engage non-expert and expert stakeholder regardless of background or experience in the decision making process. The programme of work describes the rationale, the development and the effectiveness testing of S-City VT using Dundee Central Waterfront as a case study.

    An evaluation of existing decision support tools (DSTs) for sustainability is presented and reasons for the lack of uptake and use of these tools is identified. Techniques from DSTs used in other disciplines are also evaluated and those that can be applied effectively in decision making for sustainable urban design are identified.

    Based on this review of existing tools and techniques a prototype, interactive simulation and visualisation decision support tool, is created. The novel decision support tool combines sustainability indicator modelling, multi-criteria analysis, scenario design and 3D visualisation in an aim to address the identified weaknesses in existing tools and engage a wider range of stakeholders than is possible using existing sustainability assessment tools.

    The performance of the tool and the underlying visualisation techniques are then evaluated for effectiveness and usability with different stakeholder groups, including local authorities and the general public. Finally conclusions are drawn regarding how the project aims are addressed by the S-City VT tool.
    Date of AwardJul 2011
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDavid Blackwood (Supervisor) & Ruth Falconer (Supervisor)

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