Model Setup - Context

In addition to the Rhino layer for buildings, a new umi project has a variety of other context layers for other objects relevant to various aspects of urban simulation. Each of these is a sublayer of the "Context" layer, which is in turn a sublayer of the "umi" layer, and is explained below.

1. Streets

The umi mobility analysis module relies upon the existance of a suitable street network for the site. This network should exist on the Rhino "Streets" layer. For details on setting it up, refer to the relevant section of the user guide.

2. Ground

The "Ground" layer contains user-specified, site-level ground objects. These objects are used to establish the site area for the purposes of calculating the site Floor Area Ratio (FAR). See Site Statistics - FAR for details.

3. Parks

Objects on the "Parks" layer can be used in mobility calculations. For details, see the relevant User Guide section.

4. Shading/Trees

Objects on these layers are used for operational energy simulations. Objects on the "Shading" layer are used to calculate shadows cast on simulated buildings. This is used for shading objects that do not touch the buildings to be analyzed.

5. Boundary objects

Boundary objects are similar to the shading objects. They are used for contextual shading. However, on these objects an adjacency test is performed in order to detect adjacencies and adiabatic surfaces. Boundary objects have to be closed breps.

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In Short

Umi is a Rhino-based design environment for architects and urban planners interested in modeling the environmental performance of neighborhoods and cities with respect to operational and embodied energy use, walkability and daylighting potential. Since 2012, Umi has been  developed by the Sustainable Design Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with support from a National Science Foundation EFRI_SEED project, the MIT Energy Initiative, the Kuwait-MIT Center, the Center for Complex Engineering Systems (CCES) at KACST and MIT, Transsolar Climate Engineering and United Technologies Corporation. Further tool developed is now also being conducted at the Environmental Systems Lab at Cornell University.

A first public version of Umi was released during a public symposium on Sustainable Urban Design on May 6th 2013 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Version 2.0, which also includes an embodied energy module, was released on November 7th 2014.

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