Skip to main content
digital twin

Digital Twin


A digital twin is a digital replica of a physical object. Urban digital twins are evolving as a useful tool to support urban planning, public administration, economic development and community engagement in cities. 

To explore how to develop an urban digital twin, the ASU CIC collaborated with DTPHX, Inc and City Zentith. DTPHX is a non-profit dedicated to building a better downtown in the City of Phoenix and City Zenith is a leading digital twin platform


Downtown Phoenix is a vibrant, living, ever-changing 1.7 square mile urban core in the 5th largest and fastest growing city in the United States. With rapid growth, new buildings, light rail and the expansion of Arizona State University, downtown is changing from a 9 to 5 place to work to a 24/7 place to live, work, learn and play. Urban planning and decision making in this dynamic city with constantly changing information and evolving stakeholders can be challenging due the lack of a central source for accurate data and analytics.     

Together, the ASU CIC, DTPHX and City Zenith explore the challenge: How might government, real estate, companies,   community based organization, non-profits, citizens, neighborhoods and academics find, access and share data and analytics for urban and strategic planning, managing   infrastructure and systems in the DTPHX service area?



Digital Downtown will be a cloud-based digital twin platform accessible to the public. DTPHX, Inc. assembled a universe of data sets into a 3D model of the buildings and built environment in the downtown core to create the foundational digital twin. Digital Downtown will include additional data layers, including transportation, energy, land-use, affordable housing, historic preservation, economic development and healthcare. Users can access standard analytics or build their own. 

Supporting Artifacts

The Amazon Working Backwards process produces three artifacts - a Press Release, a list of Frequently Asked Questions, and a Visual depiction of the user experience.You can find the Digtial Twin artifacts here:

DIGITAL TWIN PRFAQ NOTE: Not for press use.


Next Steps

The ASU CIC is currently working with DTPHX, Inc and City Zenith to build the digital twin for downtown Phoenix. 

About the ASU CIC

The ASU Smart Cities Cloud Innovation Center (CIC) is a strategic relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and is supported by AWS on ASU’s Innovation campus - SkySong. The mission of the CIC is to drive Innovation Challenges that materially benefit the greater Phoenix metro area and beyond. The CIC will do this by solving pressing community and regional challenges, using shareable and repeatable technology solutions from ideation through prototype, as a service for the greater human good.

The CIC also provides real-world problem-solving experiences to students by immersing them in the application of proven innovation methods in combination with the latest technologies to solve important challenges in the public sector. 

The challenges being addressed cover a wide variety of topics including homelessness, water conservation, vandalism, pedestrian safety, digital service delivery and many others. The CIC leverages the deep subject matter expertise of government, education and non-profit organizations to clearly understand the customers affected by public sector challenges and develops solutions that meet the customer needs.

For more information on the ASU CIC, to read about projects or to submit a challenge, please visit