whatIf? Technologies combines its custom modelling expertise and urban & regional planning subject matter experience to offer custom urban modelling services. Learn more about the whatIf? Custom Modelling Process here.
Urban & Regional Custom Models
Urban & Regional
Urban & Regional Planning Clients
CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems
Development of MRSFF (Melbourne Region Stocks and Flows Framework) concerned with urban planning and urban energy
Regional Municipality of Waterloo
Development of PLUM (Population and Land Use Model), the WRPF (Waterloo Region Planning Framework), and model hosting services
Regional Municipality of Peel
Implementation of PLUM (Population and Land Use Model) and model hosting services
Office of the Greater Toronto Area
Development of population, land use, transportation demand model for the GTA
Cities and regions face a multitude of inter-connected challenges in planning for the future. Decision makers often struggle to address questions such as:
How can our region best accomodate growth and development over the coming decades and beyond? What type of development should our region encourage, and where should it occur? How much growth should occur through intensification of existing urban areas, versus development of greenfield lands?
Is our growth management strategy well aligned with our region's current and projected economic strengths?
How can we formulate coherent, integrated plans for infrastructure - transportation, water and wastewater - to support the continued vitality of our region?
How will regional demographic trends (for example, an aging population) affect the demand for social services?
What are the energy use and environmental impacts of alternative regional growth trajectories? What transition periods are associated with impact-reducing strategies?
whatIf? Technololiges has been active in the field of urban and regional growth managment analysis since the early 1990s. We have implemented planning models that enable a holistic, quantitative approach to exploring the types of issues listed above. Our models allow users to interactively create and analyze scenarios via simulation.
We offer the Population and Land Use Model (PLUM) as an application product, as well as custom urban and regional models.
whatIf? Technologies implements region-specific PLUM solutions. The following steps are typical during a PLUM implementation:
Model Configuration Workshop.
Our team meets with the client to determine how various model options will be configured to meet client needs. For example, clients chose their preferred level of data aggregation, such as the specification of dwelling and employment types.
Model calibration ensures that a region’s observed historical data is consistent and visible from the user interface, providing a baseline for trend projection. At this stage we load the client’s historical data into the model.
Once loaded, PLUM is a powerful platform for creating and managing scenarios. Creating the first scenario immediately allows the client to navigate input and output data before creating new scenarios. We assist in the creation of the first scenario, typically based on “business as usual” assumptions.
Training on model structure and scenario creation.
User training is provided.duing which clients become familiar with the model’s structure and logic; and also gain proficiency in scenario creation and debriefing.
Model hosting, software support and updates.
PLUM runs on the whatIf? client-server software platform which may be hosted on whatIf? servers and accessed by clients, securely via the internet, or licensed by clients for in-house operation. whatIf? provides software support and updates.
PLUM - Region-Specific Implementation
PLUM - Model Structure
PLUM sub-models and features include:
Cohort population growth
1-year age groups
international, inter-provincial, intra-provincial migration
feedback views allow tracking on given population projections for regional totals
multiple views available for construction of fertility, mortality and migration projections
multiple views available for projection of household formation parameters
by dwelling type
new dwelling units partitioned into redevelopment and greenfield
multiple views available for projection of new dwelling unit shares
by employment type
new employment floorspace partitioned into redevelopment and greenfield
Land use and development
new dwelling units and employment floorspace allocated by geographic zone
Capability to incorporate data on recently built dwelling units and employment floorspace not captured in last historical update cycle
population allocated to dwelling units by persons per unit (PPU)
feedback views allow tracking of detailed zone population on total projected population
Main outputs as time series
dwelling units by zone and type
employment floorspace by zone and type
population for region, by sex and age
population by zone
households by zone
Time step and time horizon are client defined
The Population and Land Use Model (PLUM) is a powerful, integrated platform for the projection and spatial allocation of population, dwelling units and employment for a given region. Regional planning organizations use PLUM to formulate official plans and growth management strategies; and PLUM-based analyses are the foundation for various infrastructure and service master plans.
PLUM contains a detailed region-wide population projection sub-model, which in combination with base-year building data, creates projections for future new residential and commercial development. Users specify alternate, geographically-detailed land use plans which are then used to distribute regional growth. Intensification-based growth and greenfield-based growth are accounted for explicitly. Built on the whatIf? Modelling Platform, PLUM provides robust scenario management, transparency, flexibility and data-interchange with various industry-standard software packages.