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‘Digital twins’ can help create healthier cities after coronavirus

The use of new technologies, such as virtual reality, by planners to help design more sustainable and healthier cities has accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic, urban experts said on May 22.

The respiratory disease, which has infected more than five million people worldwide, has already triggered the widespread use of robots, drones and artificial intelligence to track the virus and deliver services.

Now, planners and authorities are also turning to new technologies – including so-called Digital Twins of cities, or virtual three-dimensional replicas – to tackle future health crises, said Michael Jansen, chief executive of Cityzenith, a Chicago-based technology firm.

“A Digital Twin that could track the progress of the virus in real-time is the perfect platform for aggregating and distributing information at scale in a crisis,” he said.

“Digital Twins would also help assess and implement economic recovery plans for affected cities and urban regions,” he said.

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