What is a digital twin?
My list

The use of digital twins in smart cities is growing in popularity. These virtual replicas or virtual realities are extremely useful for anticipating problems that may arise. Also for experimenting in a controlled and risk-free manner, or helping in the planning and development of cities. But what is a digital twin?

What does 'digital twin' actually mean?

A digital twin is a digitized copy of a smart city, a completely virtual scale model. It was first used in the construction of buildings and other infrastructures with BIM programs, which enable all the components of a building to be monitored.

The aim of this system was to anticipate any potential faults in the material. It soon extended to other services: sewage system, energy, roads, education, etc. The digital twin is like a SimCity (the video game) with a virtual city identical to the physical city.

How much does a digital twin cost?

It depends on the desired complexity. The truth is the cost of a digital twin may be secondary taking into account all that it can offer. As it is digitized, the cost stems from its constant updates to keep the system up to date. If a project is undertaken, a building is demolished or a tree is planted, this must be reflected.

These expenses are paid by the respective construction companies, mobility agents or the different local governments, among others. Very often there are municipal regulations that require this form of digital documentation to be submitted for each procedure. The financial return is guaranteed thanks to the use of digital twins as urban planning systems.

How to use digital twins to build the cities of tomorrow

PIC 1

An example of the use of digital twin technology is using them to understand which regions of a city will have a greater population growth, with the ultimate aim of creating new facilities such as health centers, schools, parks, etc. All of this requires mathematical models that complement the virtual model. It is not just a visual representation.

Another common use is urban mobility planning: Where should new streets be created? Which should be pedestrianized? Where should speeds be reduced? Which buildings need moving? Where are there more urban conflicts or which are the busiest areas?

But it can also be applied to participatory governance with citizen initiatives that shape the respective neighborhoods, to tenders by developers that show what a reformed building would look like, and even simulations of rising sea levels due to global warming.

Digital twins: how to improve city life

There is a city-state that has been using digital twins for its smart city since 2018. That city is Singapore and its ‘Virtual Singapore’ model. This digital city has been helping people with reduced mobility for some time now. The city council uses simulation to eliminate architectural barriers.

Other ways of improving city life is to simulate what would happen if solar panels were installed or a pneumatic waste collection system. Twins are particularly useful for conducting trials without affecting citizens. They are only implemented when they are confirmed to be suitable.

Digital twins for smart cities are the future of the virtual representation of cities to model them. They are the perfect environment for planning changes or anticipating problems that may arise in the city and thus improve the life of citizens.

Images | Tobias, iStock/Sasin Paraksa

Related content
Barcelona’s strategy to drive the 2030 Agenda in the city
Barcelona’s strategy to drive the 2030 Agenda in the city
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole: cities become smarter by forming smart regions
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole: cities become smarter by forming smart regions
Pablo Soto, regional representative of Transparency and Participation in Madrid: “Technology should be used to enhance institutions”
Pablo Soto, regional representative of Transparency and Participation in Madrid: “Technology should be used to enhance institutions”
Metropolitan governance: extending municipal governments as a response to new urban challenges
Metropolitan governance: extending municipal governments as a response to new urban challenges
How to go from being a town to a Smart Town
How to go from being a town to a Smart Town
The G20 creates the Global Smart Cities Alliance to establish universal norms and guidelines for the implementation of technology
The G20 creates the Global Smart Cities Alliance to establish universal norms and guidelines for the implementation of technology
Paul Duan, co-founder and President of Bayes Impact: “We should trust in the power of the multitude”
Paul Duan, co-founder and President of Bayes Impact: “We should trust in the power of the multitude”
Open government and citizen participation: a journey through history - Infographic
Open government and citizen participation: a journey through history - Infographic
Pontus Westerberg, UN-Habitat:
Pontus Westerberg, UN-Habitat: "People need to be allowed to offer their own solutions to the problems in the places in which they live"
How and why do cities die?
How and why do cities die?
Digital natives, technological illiterates?
Digital natives, technological illiterates?
New COVID-19 outbreaks: this is what the hammer and the dance will be like
New COVID-19 outbreaks: this is what the hammer and the dance will be like
Citizens policing our streets: is it lawful to report the inappropriate use of cities?
Citizens policing our streets: is it lawful to report the inappropriate use of cities?
Smart cities that failed along the way
Smart cities that failed along the way
Can technology foster democracy?
Can technology foster democracy?
Welcome to the Smart City Live!
Welcome to the Smart City Live!
What makes a city attractive to talent?
What makes a city attractive to talent?
Imec: Open digital twin framework
Imec: Open digital twin framework
x-tention: Towards post covid-19 smart tourism
x-tention: Towards post covid-19 smart tourism
Arca: Wave control for better health
Arca: Wave control for better health
Smart Buildings: Enabling reliability and resilience for a better future
Smart Buildings: Enabling reliability and resilience for a better future
DMAP: Unlocking the power of transportation analytics
DMAP: Unlocking the power of transportation analytics
These were the urban utopias that preceded us - Infographic
These were the urban utopias that preceded us - Infographic
Medellín: data and infrastructures in contrast to its troubled past
Medellín: data and infrastructures in contrast to its troubled past
2030 Agenda and Urban Agenda for Catalonia: from Strategy into Practice
2030 Agenda and Urban Agenda for Catalonia: from Strategy into Practice
How smart cities are contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
How smart cities are contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
From Crisis to Opportunity: Transforming European Cities in the COVID Era
From Crisis to Opportunity: Transforming European Cities in the COVID Era
Cities as Testbeds for Innovation
Cities as Testbeds for Innovation
Smart Cities Germany – an emerging market for urban technologies providers
Smart Cities Germany – an emerging market for urban technologies providers
CIOs as linking pins: bridging IT and European digital policy for smart cities
CIOs as linking pins: bridging IT and European digital policy for smart cities
Barcelona Smart Region: innovative projects to improve connectivity and sustainability
Barcelona Smart Region: innovative projects to improve connectivity and sustainability
Barcelona Smart Region: providing smart services for citizens
Barcelona Smart Region: providing smart services for citizens
Bournemouth Christchurch & Poole: The New Smart Place
Bournemouth Christchurch & Poole: The New Smart Place
City-states never disappeared: Hamburg, Hong Kong, Singapore
City-states never disappeared: Hamburg, Hong Kong, Singapore
G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance – Launching the Policy Roadmap
G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance – Launching the Policy Roadmap
Reinventing Cities with Technology after COVID-19 – Unpacking ideas from Japan
Reinventing Cities with Technology after COVID-19 – Unpacking ideas from Japan
AdvanGrid: Staying ahead in the energy transition
AdvanGrid: Staying ahead in the energy transition
Neareo: Powering QR codes
Neareo: Powering QR codes
People-focused Smart Cities: Urban Digital Transformation Working for the Benefit of All
People-focused Smart Cities: Urban Digital Transformation Working for the Benefit of All
Strengthening Metropolitan Governance
Strengthening Metropolitan Governance
Economic and social recovery leaving no one behind
Economic and social recovery leaving no one behind
Adopting Technologies Responsibly: a Global Policy Roadmap for Ethical Smart Cities
Adopting Technologies Responsibly: a Global Policy Roadmap for Ethical Smart Cities
Smart Villages & Territories
Smart Villages & Territories
The Global Voice of Cities
The Global Voice of Cities
Urban Water Management: Making every drop count
Urban Water Management: Making every drop count
Usitoo4cities: Reinventing consumption
Usitoo4cities: Reinventing consumption
Smart Pedestrian Crosswalk: Walking the city more safely
Smart Pedestrian Crosswalk: Walking the city more safely
Smartnodes: Realizing smart cities through smart lighting
Smartnodes: Realizing smart cities through smart lighting
SIARQ: Featuring Environmental Data As A Service
SIARQ: Featuring Environmental Data As A Service
Recommended profiles for you
Nuria Bedos
Nuria Bedos
Generalitat de Catalunya
Policy Officer at the International Department
Jagmohan Singh Bajaj
Jagmohan Singh Bajaj
UNESCO
Special Envoy and Focal point of UNESCO in Balkan Region
Chivu Virgil
Chivu Virgil
Kaercher Romania
Project Manager
EB
Enaya Banna
The Arab Center for Alternative Planning
Urban Planner - Professional Manager
AN
Andreas Nikolakopoulos
VLAAMSE ICT ORGANISATIE vzw
Program manager - COO
JK
JangWook Kim
WAVUS Co.,LTD
Director
Anna Mas
Anna Mas
Diputació de Barcelona
Legal advisor in digital administration and open government
Oscar Teruggi
Oscar Teruggi
Municipio de Tandil - Buenos Aires - Argentina
Jefe de Gabinete de Secretarios
PABLO MARCET BONEL
PABLO MARCET BONEL
100 CITIES FOR PEACE
PRESIDENT
NT
Narinder Thapar
Esri India Technologies Pvt. Limited
Vice President of Sales
MS
Mauro Spina
Comune di Reggio Calabria
administrant
MM
Manel Martinez
Manel Martínez Consultant
Consultant Manager
xp
xenia pliner
Leningrad State University
Senior analyst
Amitabh Sharma
Amitabh Sharma
Municipal Corporation
Zone Commisioner
Vitor Pereira
Vitor Pereira
ZOOM GLOBAL SMART CITIES
Executive Director
VT
Vanessa Toselli
IERAL de Fundación Mediterránea
Researcher
Tomas Kelly
Tomas Kelly
Oficina Presidencial de Tecnologias y Comunicación - OPTIC
Director Interinstitutional
CF
Chris Foreman
Marketplace.city
CEO
AR
Antonio M. Rodríguez Arenas
ASOC DE MAESTROS INDUSTRIALES Y TECNICOS SUPERIORES AMITS
President
Rallou Taratori
Rallou Taratori
UPV/EHU
Master student at Erasmus Mundus joint master \Smart cities and Communities-SMACCs\""

Only accessible for registered users
This content is available only for registered users
TO: $$toName$$
SUBJECT: Message from $$fromName$$