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Generative design and its possibilities for urban design

Published: 4 December 2020

In an article that was recently published in the journal Buildings researchers from Luleå University of Technology investigate the possibilities of using computers’ computational capabilities with generative design to explore solutions for residential blocks.

The need to balance multiple requirements and needs in the design of housing and residential blocks has contributed to a growing interest in studying how we can further use computers and their computational capabilities as supports to find potential solutions. One of the methods that has been highlighted for this is generative design, a method that is based on allowing computers to produce a large number of potential solutions. Despite the progress of generative design in recent years the area is still in its early stages and more knowledge is needed surrounding its included parts and possible applications.

To work towards this need, the article presents a framework that was developed based on generative design, where an interplay occurs between users and the underlying algorithms to explore potential solutions. An application of this framework was then illustrated in a study of a residential block in Kiruna’s new city center, a part of Kiruna’s urban transformation. Results of the study shows the strength of generative design, and how you can produce a large number of solutions that then can be explored regarding both design and metrics. The results also highlight how important it is to have well thought out and defined problems to achieve the goals that are sought with the use of generative design.

"Generative design is a method that is really progressing now, and our study further highlights the possibilities that there are with utilizing computers’ computational capabilities" says Jani Mukkavaara, PhD student at Luleå University of Technology. Despite this, Jani continues, "knowledge is still limited, and we need to create a better understanding of when and how we can apply generative design to best utilize its potential."

In a recently published episode of the podcast BIMpodden (in Swedish), Jani Mukkavaara also discusses the topic of generative design and the potentials and challenges we face. Links for both the article and the podcast is shown below.

For more info:

Jani Mukkavaara

Jani Mukkavaara,

Phone: +46 (0)920 492414
Organisation: Construction Management and Building Technology , Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering
Marcus Sandberg

Marcus Sandberg, Associate Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 493072
Organisation: Construction Management and Building Technology , Industrialized and sustainable construction, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering