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The game version of Gothenburg - an important piece of the puzzle to meet sustainability goals

Friday, January 14, 2022

The climate crisis is just one of the challenges facing the City of Gothenburg. Here, a digital twin of the city will be an important key to meeting sustainability goals, not least for the business community. For two years, Virtual Gothenburg Lab has developed a testbed for the city's digital twin. Now the introductory part is done and the results shed light on both challenges and opportunities.

Virtual Gothenburg – a twin for all

In December 2021, an updated version of Gothenburg's digital twin was launched, Virtual Gothenburg, which is an important cog in meeting the city's sustainability goals regarding social, economic and environmental sustainability. The idea is that several industries, organizations and companies will be able to use Virtual Gothenburg. The digital twin will, for example, be able to be used in health and care, tourism, education and in dialogues with citizens about the development of the city.

What is Virtual Gothenburg? A game?


Virtual Gothenburg is a visual copy of the city where the city can be experienced as in a high-resolution computer game. Gothenburg's digital twin uses a game engine where the user can move around and test things. Does that sound cool? It is. But it is also a powerful tool to use in urban planning and to gain an increased understanding of societal challenges such as climate change, segregation, transport needs and the effects of the city's high rate of expansion.

- In the development of the digital twin, we wanted to know how the twin would be designed and function to create as much benefit as possible for those who would use it. Therefore, we thought it was important to have a testbed. The different skills and work areas that were met via the test bed's 25 parties provided valuable insights into what cornerstones was needed for the digital twin to work, says Eric Jeansson, Project Manager for Virtual Gothenburg, the city planning office in the City of Gothenburg.


For two years has the testbed Virtual Gothenburg Lab been developed to create an environment where work processes, tools and methods around the digital twin can be tested. The goal is for the twin to be able to provide the greatest possible support for the City of Gothenburg's activities in urban development with the aim of improving the conditions for analysis, insight, planning, decision-making, learning, communication, co-creation and participation. During the construction of the Virtual Gothenburg Lab, five pilot studie were conducted.

Virtual Gothenburg Lab's introductory part is now in port and thus there are insightful results to take part in, and at the same time, new doors are opened up for further development of the lab.

The pilot studies

The five pilot studies have revolved around developing the City of Gothenburg to meet sustainability goals. In addition to having carried out five pilot tests, the actual test bed process has been developed as well as prototypes for learning and the use of game principles for dialogue with the help of gamification. The development work has taken Gothenburg's digital twin across the Atlantic and had development dialogues with representatives of cities in the USA.

Exempelbild till Social hållbarhet i stadsutveckling

Social sustainability in urban development

In this pilot, we collaborated on a study of how an easily accessible technical interface to the city's digital twin could strengthen both residents and civil servants and support the common work for...

Skyfall (Torrential Rain)

In the Skyfall pilot, Gothenburg's digital twin has been tested in terms of work on securing the city against torrential rain. Simulated flood data from the City of Gothenburg has been visualised in...
3d visualization over Gothenburg

CoExist 2

In the future autonomous vehicles will have to interact with their surroundings in a separate way than manually driven vehicles. By using the digital twin, we can explore the interaction between...
Stadens siluett

City Skyline

In the pilot City Silhouette, we looked at how game engines can strengthen the dialogue between developers and City Planning Offices, in their task to harmonize the city image between the future and...
Centralenområdet_Drottningstorget_Bildcred till Jernhusen

Central Area

The aim of the pilot project was to create an interactive tool to help the Swedish Transport Administration understand and analyse different proposals for the design of the Central Area.

The way forward for Virtual Gothenburg Lab and Virtual Gothenburg

Within the framework of the activities at Visual Arena, Virtual Gothenburg Lab will continue to be developed together with Virtual Gothenburg and with actors from the business community and academia.

The testbed is now being opened up for business and academia to continue to develop the twin in collaboration with the city. In the test bed there is the opportunity to test and evaluate thoughts and ideas, create virtual prototypes and collaborate on important societal challenges. All with the digital twin, and associated data from the city, as a base.

Virtual Gothenburg Lab wants to unleash the potential that exists in using Virtual Gothenburg in a broad, creative and efficient way so that the work of meeting societal challenges is taken a step further.

Maybe it's you who read this who will develop the twin and with it meet important societal challenges together with Virtual Gothenburg Lab and the city? In the test bed there is the opportunity to test and evaluate thoughts and ideas and to create virtual prototypes. All with the digital twin, and associated data from the city, as a base. Virtual Gothenburg Lab wants to unleash the potential that exists in using Virtual Gothenburg in a broad, creative and efficient way so that we can get further together.

Get in touch with Virtual Gothenburg Lab