Prof. (Dr.) Zhong-Ren Peng, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning and Director of iAdapt: International Center for Adaptation Planning and Design at the College of Design, Construction and Planning, University of Florida, delivered a lecture at the School of Economics on 16th August 2023. The topic of his talk was “AI-Enabled Urban Planning and Transportation for Climate Adaptation”. Prof. R.V. Ramanamurty, Dean, School of Economics, chaired the session, which was attended by faculty members, research scholars, and MA students of the school. Prof. Peng’s research focuses on three areas: 1) Sustainable and resilient transportation planning, 2) Adaptation planning for climate change, and 3) Urban planning AI.

During his lecture, Prof. Peng highlighted how Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly gaining prominence as a crucial technology to transform and reshape the field of urban planning. His central question is twofold: (1) What is urban planning AI, and what are the roles of AI and planners in the future urban planning process? (2) How could AI facilitate planners in the planning process? He has highlighted the progression of AI in urban planning, ranging from AI-assisted and AI-augmented planning to AI-automated and eventually AI-automized planning, using several cases in transportation planning and adaptation planning for climate change. A key aspect he has highlighted is that the success of urban planning AI depends on a thorough understanding of the interactions of different city players and innovative practices of urban planners working in the communities.

After the lecture, there was a question-and-answer session where faculty members, PhD scholars, and MA Economics students actively participated, seeking clarifications on the model, its rationale, and the results presented. Professor Peng also used this opportunity to illustrate the intricacies of AI-Enabled Urban and Regional Planning when applied to complex city economic realities, such as from planning support to plan making. Prof. Alok Mishra, Associate Director, International Affairs, has coordinated the lecture and proposed a vote of thanks.