Computer Systems for Urban Design and Development

by Niles O. Sutphin, Vice President and Director of Architecture and Planning; CLM Systems, Cambridge, MA,
William F. Sommerfeld, Director of Computer Applications; The Architects Collaborative, Cambridge, MA; Owings and Merrill, Chicago, IL; formerly, Architect,
Lavette C. Teague, Jr., Architect; Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Chicago, IL,
G. Neil Harper, President; CLM Systems, Cambridge, MA; Owings and Merrill, Chicago, IL; formerly, Assoc. Partner,

Serial Information: Journal of the Urban Planning and Development Division, 1971, Vol. 97, Issue 1, Pg. 63-78

Document Type: Journal Paper


The paper reviews recent computer systems for modeling complex urban design and development problems. Urban games provide direct involvement in an operating model of urban situations. Alexander's pattern language states design requirements in a way which guides the selection of an appropriate urban form. Schlager's linear programming formulation of land use plan design illustrates the use of optimization models. Forrester uses a flow model to study urban growth and decay and to demonstrate the counter-intuitive dynamic behavior of complex urban systems. URBAN 5 and DISCOURSE are computer-aided design and information systems. The Planning and Land Use System (PLUS) generates alternative combinations of land uses satisfying development objectives, subject to a given set of planning standards. The use of PLUS is illustrated by an example.

Subject Headings: Optimization models | Land use | Computer aided design | Computing in civil engineering | Urban development | Computer models | Information systems | Linear functions

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