As the second largest country in the world, Canada’s diverse geography and climate increases our cities exposure to different types of natural hazards, such as snow storms, hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. The insurance industry estimates that insured catastrophic losses in North America average $80B per year. In Toronto (2005), for example. a single tornado event resulted in $500M loss. This is further compounded by changes in climate, population growth and aging infrastructure.

To maintain the prosperity of our communities, it is imperative that a comprehensive framework be developed to assess and mitigate the impacts of extreme climate on cities. The current project aims to develop a multi-scale climate responsive design framework that accounts for the complex interaction between buildings and wind (including hurricane and tornado). This computational framework, at neighborhood scale, models urban micro-climate necessary to assess the impact of changing city topology on the pedestrian level wind, air quality and to generate boundary conditions for small-scale simulations. At building scale, it develops a full numerical aeroealstic model (e.g. building model that flex) immersed in turbulent city flows, for the first time. This frame work when integrated with artificial intelligence based optimization procedures, allow optimizing tall building aerodynamics (shape) and dynamics (structural systems) appropriate for current era of booming tall building construction.

As a result, Ontario will save materials and energy in one of the most resource intensive sector, while enhancing the safety of Ontarians during extreme climate. For successful implementation of the framework, a high performance computing environment and experimental validations are necessary, which will be enabled by two unique research facilities in Ontario, Blue Gene Q and WindEEE Dome, respectively.

Industry Partner(s):Stephenson Engineering

Academic Institution:Western University

Academic Researcher: Girma Bitsuamlak

Focus Areas: Cities, Clean Tech

Platforms: Parallel CPU