AI for the Resilient City

A view of the city of calgary

Around the world, resiliency planning is finding its way to the top of municipalities’ agendas. The need to prepare for climate-related hazards — from droughts to fires, heat waves to rising global temperatures — has never been more urgent.

That’s why Evergreen has developed AI for the Resilient City. The data visualization tool — funded through a grant from Microsoft’s AI for Earth program — aims to help municipalities across Canada plan for and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Launched in 2020, the pilot phase in the City of Calgary examined the Urban Heat Index (UHI). Extreme heat in cities is a mounting problem, leading to increased energy consumption, air pollutants, greenhouse gases and impacts to human health and comfort. The tool has created an integrated view of a wide range of data, letting municipal stakeholders see which areas of the city are most impacted by UHI and use this information to plan for a more climate resilient future.

Through funding from RBC Foundation in support of RBC Tech for Nature, Evergreen, in partnership with Toronto and a local conversation authority, is bringing the AI solution to three new municipalities in Ontario’s Peel Region: Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon.

Screen shot of AI for the Resilient City tool showing comparison of surface temparature between wards in Peel Region

This second phase of AI for the Resilient City will enable a local conversation authority to create a baseline level of UHI for the Peel Region that will help demonstrate the relationship with infrastructure and population vulnerability in the area. Understanding the patterns of the UHI effect will allow city planners and other decision makers to better understand the vulnerable neighbourhoods that need interventions and evaluate potential development scenarios to create or mitigate UHI.

The tool, built on the Microsoft Azure cloud computing service, has been designed to scale geographically and technically. Municipalities across Canada will be able to leverage the AI technology to address a host of climate-related hazards, from flooding to earthquakes. It will help visualize pressing questions: What did the City look live five year ago? What could it look like in 50, if the status quo is maintained? What impact would various climate interventions have?

The tool’s many features allow for in-depth prediction and planning:

A digital mapping tool that shows areas of intense heat in the City of Calgary

  • Scenario Modeling View, pictured above, allows users to simulate a view of the future by modifying various urban features or climate variables
  • Story Mode allows users to see data insights as easily digestible stories
  • Explore Mode provides a granular view of the data
  • 2D/3D Building Footprints View allows users to see every building in the City
  • Satellite Image View creates a satellite view of points of interest on the ground
  • Compare View allows users to compare correlating variables at the same time, or the same variables at different point in time
  • Forecast Mode lets users study correlations between different variables

AI for the Resilient City is made possible by AI for Earth, a pillar of the AI for Good, Microsoft’s commitment to empower those working around the world to solve humanitarian issues and create a more sustainable and accessible world. The tool has been created in partnership with data science and AI company Gramener. It will be available to municipalities across Canada to plan for and mitigate the impact of climate change in their communities.

AI for the Resilient City is funded in part by the RBC Foundation through RBC Tech for Nature to help scale this program.

Do you want to be our next city? Find out how your city can join the next phase to help with heat adaptation and mitigation strategies. For more information and a demonstration contact Joshua Welsh at jwelsh@evergreen.ca.

Supported by: 

Microsoft logo

RBC Foundation logo

You can learn more about the project in the video below:

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