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Cities are our future – 90% of the world’s population growth is expected to take place in cities. Currently, urban decision-making is mostly a top-down process, with community participation only in late stage. Furthermore, many design decisions are made subjectively, rather than based on quantifiable performance and data. In MIT Media Lab, an urban decision support system called CityScope was developed to democratize the urban decision-making process. CityScope is an interactive Lego city model with layers of information projected on it. It shows users real-time simulation results and key performance indexes of the city so that anyone can understand and participate the urban design intuitively. The AI assistant gives optimal suggestions which augment users to make better decisions. Yan Zhang ‘Ryan’ is a Ph.D. researcher in City Science research group at the MIT Media Lab. He is developing and deploying CityScope – an A.I. enabled urban decision support system, which aims to democratize the urban decision-making process in an early stage. This dynamic Lego city model gives people the right tools to understand and participate the urban design intuitively. His research work also includes a variety of interdisciplinary projects focusing on data visualization, optimization, complex geometry, machine learning, etc. Ryan has a background in architecture design with a particular emphasis on computational design for more than ten years.


About the Speaker

Yan Zhang

Yan Zhang

Yan Zhang ‘Ryan’ is a Ph.D. researcher in City Science research group at the MIT Media Lab. He is developing and deploying CityScope – an A.I. enabled urban decision support system, which aims to democratize the urban decision-making process in an early stage. This dynamic Lego city model gives people the right tools to understand and participate the urban design intuitively. His research work also includes a variety of interdisciplinary projects focusing on data visualization, optimization, complex geometry, machine learning, etc. Ryan has a background in architecture design with a particular emphasis on computational design for more than ten years.