How Cities Are Using Digital Twins Like a SimCity for Policymakers

Digital twins could also better demonstrate to the public how data drives policy decisions, but it’s tricky, says Ray Gastil, director of the Remaking Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. “The amount of data you need to create a visualization [of an entire city] that looks realistic enough for people to identify with is extraordinarily high,” he says. “The level of representation that you get in even the best work that’s done with cities so far is not at the level of what you find in a sophisticated gaming film animation.”

He adds that for most cities, the effort will first concentrate in one particular geographic area or site. Cityzenith has deployed its digital twin technology in four U.S. cities through its Clean Cities Clean Futures campaign to help decarbonize their buildings, starting with specific business districts. It’s expected to sign up a total of 10 cities by the end of this year before taking its digital twin services global.