Virtual city models for assessing environmental equity of access to sunlight: A case study of Kyoto, Japan

Shinya Yasumoto, Andrew Jones, Keiji Yano, Tomoki Nakaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Virtual city modelling is expected to play a central future role in the field of urban planning and design. Currently, most of the uses of this modelling method are related to the production of visualizations, but there is also a potential for developing novel methods of spatial analysis that focuses on vertical variations in, for example, building heights. One application concerns the assessment of access to sunlight. This is an essential consideration in urban planning, and there is considerable demand for geographical information systems which can provide efficient solar radiation analyses. Nevertheless, few studies have attempted to model variations in sunlight exposure over entire urban areas. This article illustrates an application of solar radiation analysis using a detailed virtual urban modelling for the case study of city of Kyoto, Japan. The research presents and implements a methodology to examine how sunlight access varies between different social groups in the city. The findings, which show evidence of inequity, illustrate the potential of virtual city models and their benefits are discussed along with the caveats of their application.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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