New digital tools help us anticipate the impact of urban development modifications.



Digital urban planning is focused on creating tools that, by analysing and modelling prior experiences, can give a virtual simulation of the consequences of certain planning on a territory and specific town.

This refers to extracting virtual representation models that can predict, as accurately as required, the effects of a given planning decision.

OUA is in contact with the prestigious MIT Media Lab that has been developing digital tools over the years to analyse the impact of modifying urban planning for cities, considering parameters such as mobility, population or shopping and leisure centres.

This tool has many uses:

• It allows the Planner (Public Administrations or private entities) to probe the different planning options and draw conclusions, particularly sociologically and economically, on the consequences of theoretically implanting each of them.

• It gives Public Administrations objective criteria to anticipate adapting to a certain growth proposal, up to the point of being able to standardise quality (or correction) control on the territorial and urban development planning instruments.

• Avoid making urban development decisions when adopting planning models based on non-objective, opportunistic or “barely transparent” criteria.

• Guarantee implementation of an urban development model in line with public policies on planning the territory and housing, guaranteeing the general principle of sustainable urban development.

Carrying out this proposal, as one example, would make it possible to model the environmental impact of the urban development planning depending on its features (e.g. sustainable mobility with use of the electric car, reusing grey water, implementation of energy-saving initiatives, etc.). It might also generate synergies with other fields of research (economics, demographics, sociology) for joint analysis of growth models.

This tool can generate interdisciplinary agreements with public and/or private entities that can supply a large database working from scientific criteria.

In short, this line of research, as might be appreciated, certainly has a relevant social impact plus the intention to provide structure and, particularly, rationality to future growth in our cities.


A Smart City is a community that promotes integrated initiatives to improve quality of life, sustainability and efficient management of services that are innovative in terms of materials, resources and models by using intensive technology.

Each Smart City requires five main areas: Digital Governance, Urban Planning and Smart Architecture, Digital Mobility (transport), a Digital Ecosystem (environmental sustainability and natural resources) and Smart Services. These five areas are joined horizontally by another three basic areas: people and their digital citizenship, the digital economy and ICT (information and communication technology).


At OUA, we are convinced that digital development should also be extended to tools that can make intensive management easier for Public Administrations whilst also providing greater transparency, if possible, for the processes they are developing.

In this respect, at OUA we are developing MUDMT (Municipal Urban Development Management Tool): an application/web environment work tool to be installed in each Town Hall to be able to process all urban development files digitally from the very beginning, so that all Town Councils are using a standardised information format in the system.

This also gives maximum transparency in the town as, at any time, anyone can consult it and the Urban Planning Commission can find out about the file status at any time. Everything involving the application will “feed” the MUC online.

The application will be structured in layers that will provide increasing amounts of information:


It would also allow:


“On-line” urban planning commissions.


Citizen participation. In the network


Real time information on the territory (4D)


Apps to consult MUC and others.

This tool’s values for the towns are as follows:

• Simplification and easing of the urban development file process.

• A complete environment that meets (and allows the client to meet) everything in the legal standard – so full support is required from central administration.

• A transparent government tool, that resolves telematic implementation of public display and consultation of the urban development planning process.

• In this process, support from central administration to achieve legal validation for telematic processing is essential to give the town substantial added value. In exchange, the central administration does not have to enter files manually, gaining immediacy and the capability to meet transparency commitments.