Synthetic & Tangible Agents:
A decision support system for urban design

In the Master Computational Design, many digital tools are learned, some of which have one thing in common: their use is complex, and they are for the single-user-experience designed.

In this collaborative master thesis from Amanda Jardim and Maximilian Müh, supervised by Prof. Dr. Axel Häusler and MA Andrea Kondziela (Leibniz Universität), a tangible user interface (TUI) was developed, which enables architects, urban planners and project developers without any knowledge in programming, to interact all together with a complex simulation. The Deutzer Hafen in Cologne is used as case study.

The everyday life of the residents of the district and the surrounding city is simulated. Based on the analysis of around 30.000 social media posts from Cologne and with the help of a machine learning algorithm, a synthetic population was developed, which are the so-called agents that represent the population.

The TUI connects physical objects from the Deutzer Hafen model with digital information. The user can modify these objects, which are perceived by a camera, and passed on to the simulation. In real time the data is processed, projected on the model and also displayed on a second projector with additional information.

The thesis was presented in the Detmold Conference Weeks 2020, as part of the “Data Driven Design” panel.