Researchers at the Stanford Natural Capital Project have developed a software – Urban InVEST for city planners and developers to visualise where investments in nature like parks and marshlands can provide maximised benefits to people. The new open source is said to combine environmental data with temperature patterns, social demographics and economic data to design the city.
“We’re answering three crucial questions with this software – where in a city is nature providing what benefits to people, how much of each benefit is it providing and who is receiving those benefits,” said Perrine Hamel, lead author on a new paper about the software published in Urban Sustainability, and Livable Cities Program Lead at the Stanford Natural Capital Project at the time of research.
With the world’s population moving towards urbanisation, this software is said to assist developers in building more sustainable and resilient cities whilst the underlying risks of climate change. InVEST is a suite of free, open source software models are spatially explicit, using maps as information sources and producing maps as outputs. The spatioal resolution analysis is designed to be flexible, allowing users to address questions at local, regional or global scales. It is designed to define how the changes in an ecosystem function is likely affect the flows and values.
The software has already attraction in the Minneapolis, United States where it was used to show how new parks compared to golf course could increase urban cooling promoting biodiversity in the area.