Karlskrona’s digital twin – a tool that increases the citizens' influence

A copy of Karlskrona is emerging in 3D. In the model, the planning architect Ann-Sofie Silverskär adds new environments and buildings with the use of ARCHICAD. The model will be a tool for Karlskrona's municipality to evolve their dialogue with the citizens.

Since the end of 2017, work has been underway to transfer the world heritage city Karlskrona to a digital twin in the form of a 3D digitized copy. The municipality is growing, both geographically and by number of inhabitants, and by 2050 a new updated overview plan will come into force. Creating the 3D model is an important step in that process.

Constantly growing model

How is it possible to create the twin in 3D? First, the GIS department in the municipality has worked out a 3D model from flight scans and added height data so that buildings and other objects appear as polygons in LOD 1. Subsequently, drone images have been added to the polygons to obtain a photorealistic environment in LOD3. With added animations, the viewer's sense of being in the middle of it all increases.

The largest square in the Nordic region modelled in 3D, Stortorget in Karlskrona. This will be the final result of the square’s new ”suit” with added tree plantation and parking spaces. The ARCHICAD model interacts with the 3D model and the drone model in this picture.

The model shows how Karlskrona appears today. As the municipality develops, new areas, buildings and environments will also be added to the model so that it becomes up to date. The new elements are added by plan architect Ann-Sofie Silverskär in ARCHICAD.

"One of our city squares will get a new appearance in the near future. I add all the new information to the model, for example the new ground coverings together with trees and other things in the street environment", says Ann-Sofie.

She has recently worked with the detailed planning of Nättraby centre, which is just outside Karlskrona’s centre.

"I have produced a proposal of the final result in ARCHICAD, imported the terrain model, quickly built up the houses and used the drone to collect textures from the surroundings. The drone images is put directly into ARCHICAD's model."

Visualization in the center

Ann-Sofie uses the BIMx Viewer to communicate the design and its surroundings, which is swiftly processed in the ARCHICAD environment. A decision maker or a city resident can navigate in the model, either on a mobile device or on a computer (using the viewer), and in that way get a feeling of the final result. The proposal on the ward reaches a larger audience without any requirement for knowledge in 3D or software. The proximity to everyday life becomes even more real with the help of the VR technique. Strolling people and cars driving past are animated with Twinmotion in the ARCHICAD model.

But it is not only among Ann-Sofie's colleagues that ARCHICAD is used. Within the water supply and sewage department there is also an interest in working in 3D to visualize the municipality’s wiring network. There is also an interest in the street and park department and in the culture and recreation administration, where 3D is a way to display planning for schools, recreation centres and sports facilities.

The benefit of the digital twin is great and stands in sharp contrast to how the work process applied earlier.

"A local plan on a paper drawing with dashes, dots and codes is difficult to understand", Ann-Sofie points out. "Especially for our citizens."

It is therefore important to visualize the future planning to increase understanding amongst the citizens and decision makers. The scope of the 3D model is clarity - and realism is a keyword in this process. This is one of the reasons why level three is chosen in LOD.

"When we are developing an area and are in need to gather aspects from the public, it is important to gain knowledge about the experience of the new environment. How is the lighting received by the inhabitants, can you feel safe and secure? With LOD3 we get a credible picture of how it will appear and it will be understandable for the residents."

3D involves citizens

Ann-Sofie especially highlights the model as a tool in the democratic process and to facilitate decisions in various subject areas in the municipality. "Thanks to the BIM model, it becomes easier to make decisions, for example in the building permit process," she says.

"We get a better workflow and dialogue in the consultations when an architect narrates about the building’s relationship to its surrounding constructions. In the future, everybody should be able to add their own drawing in the model to determine if it is corresponding with the local plan. This will be useful for decision makers in different areas."

The whole project is pervaded by transparency and the need to communicate. "Our model becomes a democratic tool that favours citizens' dialogues of all ages. You can participate and let your opinions be heard after walking around in the digital environment and also get a grip of the final result. The citizens will be involved in the community building process in a tangible way. This way the inhabitants are invited to participate in the development of the future Karlskrona."

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About Love Janson

Love Janson is a communication strategist at ComWise AB. He has a BA degree in communication from Halmstad University.
  • Sweden