Welcome to the URBIS project


Sustainable urban development in its complexity is one of the most critical issues today and it is also reflected in numerous recent policy commitments and targets from global to local level. Understanding of complex relations of urban versus non urban land both on the level of physical forms and material & energy flows are recognised as crucial for balanced economical, ecological and social inclusive sustainable development.

icon USER NEEDS DRIVEN

Urban Sprawl is a Europe-wide serious problem, not only due to total area taken, but also due to its spatial distribution patterns (leading often to landscape fragmentation) and the composition of land taken (mostly agriculture and natural areas are converted to artificial areas). Finally, also the utilization of urbanized area (no. of inhabitants, no. of jobs) has to be taken into account to assess sustainability of urban development. Land is a finite resource and therefore urban planners need to select land to be used for further development more wisely applying the concept of land recycling. There is a need for a user-oriented service facilitating the identification of suitable sites for redevelopment based on objective criteria and providing flexible insight into these trade-offs on a strategic level for specific areas, still keeping in mind the general policy context. URBIS services will initially focus on the development of services focused on strategic users, but later on it will deal with operational users too:

- Strategic users, such as local and regional authorities, European and national agencies in charge of urban planning, would directly benefit from URBIS services as for the monitoring of the implementation of particular territory planning policy (e.g. the 30 ha goal on reduced land consumption in Germany). Furthermore, URBIS services may be used to support the allocation, monitoring and evaluation of ERDF funds in urban areas, or to assess to which extent urban development is meeting targets for the redevelopment of vacant sites.
- Operational users, such as industrial estates operators, private land developers or financial institutions are likely to require the URBIS services for meeting their requirements for information on suitable vacant sites location within metropolitan areas for the specific constructions or to improve project business plans. Regional and local planners also need information on the different vacant land development options as a critical component of urban and regional planning and spatial land management issues i.e. urban sprawl, nature conservation and leisure areas and green infrastructure connectivity etc.

The development of URBIS thematic services requires closer interactions with a wide range of stakeholders. URBIS partners already cover a wide range of the land use management processes. However, an external Stakeholder Board is created to ensure that the URBIS services address comprehensively all processes and actors involved. URBIS services initially focus on the development of services focused on strategic users, but later on will deal with operational users too.


icon EO TECHNOLOGY BASED

Copernicus programme generate large number of standard open-data, Earth Observation datasets as well as standard services (Urban Atlas, High Resolution Layers (HRLs)), which can be utilized for urban land recycling policy support. More also other public initiatives under the European Open Data Strategy generate number of other supportive information. Several research and development projects were conducted notably by the project partners around feature extraction within the urban environment and identification of vacant urban sites. The techniques developed based on data fusion and Object Based Image Analysis (OBIA) makes it possible to ingest a large amount of data and automate the identification of vacant urban sites. The following mature technologies will serve as a basis for URBIS services implementation:

- Heterogeneous data collecting and processing (historical data, aerial photos, satellite imagery, existing data bases)
- Extraction of urban patterns from Very High Spatial Resolution (VHSR) data and scene complexity
- Characterization of land cover in urban and vacant areas: identification of objective criteria.

Although large amount of data will be used to implement the service, the end-product will be compatible with standard GIS technology. It will also be possible to disseminate through OGC compliant web geo data portals with advance presentation capabilities (e.g. D3 documents). Such topic is Europe-wide and therefore also such focused service has Europe-wide potential for commercial exploitation. Nevertheless till now transferability and scalability of such services was questionable due to heterogeneity of input data needed in different European countries. In contrary, recent developments in standard open-data provision as Copernicus datasets and other public data available in line with principles of the European Open Data Strategy (2011) and strengthened by the European INSPIRE harmonization effort, make hight potential for the operation use of EO datasets in this domain.


icon OPERATIONAL SERVICES

The URBIS project aims to developp, implement and validate in real environment innovative information services related to urban vacant land recycling, based on open geospatial data, to support planning of European Large Urban Zone’s (LUZs) in a sustainable way. The innovative URBIS services that will be developed and implemented during the project are articulated around 3 main categories:

- Baseline services: an initial inventory and typology of urban land, to identify sites that can be used for re-development, but also that should be preserved,
- Update services: a regular update of the vacant urban land inventory,
- Thematic services: downstream services derived from the URBIS baseline and update products, set for both the public and private sectors, and meeting their specific needs.

The URBIS project aims to support European spatial urban planning in general and land use planners and land (re-)development agencies in particular and will answer the needs of strategic and operational users in this field (regional & local authorities, urban development agencies, national & EC level institutions). Vacant urban land can present very different characteristics depending on the level of development and previous use of the land. As a result, depending on their size, location and previous use, they could be redeveloped with minimum inputs (e.g. development of a green park from fallow land with no previous use) or will require substantial remediation work (development of a housing estate on potentially contaminated land). The lack of knowledge about site condition and characteristics often hampers their redevelopment. Although information exists locally, it is often patchy, incomplete and spread over different organisations. Moreover, there is a lack of consistent information at European level making it difficult to exchange and compare data.

Nevertheless, nowadays conditions exist for the development and implementation of a methodology to set up European information services on vacant land. URBIS project will identify, develop and validate operational potential of standard open-data provided under Copernicus programme and other public initiatives under the European Open Data Strategy for land recycling support. The development of such an information services under sustainable business model could provide major suport in the promotion of recycling existing urban sites thus contributing to the reduction of urban sprawl in Europe.




MEET OUR TEAM

SOLUTIONS

Overview

URBIS Solutions aim to assist in responding effectively to the societal challenges of our time, in transforming our cities and city-regions. However, the interconnectedness of socio-economic and environmental challenges in the urban context create complex conditions for urban management, and barriers to the delivery of a more sustainable urban development.

URBIS Solutions offer, for example, integrated assessments of city-wide land use development potential, targeting brownfield sites, specifying green infrastructure as a strategic structuring principle for urban development, and contextualising development assessments according to the ambient demand and supply for development in relation to plan objectives.

URBIS Solutions have been developed specifically to support city managers in this transformational governance, exploiting “open” European data including Copernicus data, and deploying the latest analytical methods to meet a wide range of user requirements for assessment, evaluation and communication tools including:

  • Information and intelligence – delivering evidence-based policy making, decision-making and implementation associated with the planning process;
  • Impact assessment and evaluation – specifying territorially defined assessment of socio-economic and environmental impacts – typically in assessment of alternative site development options – linking URBIS Solutions to other information/intelligence sources;
  • Stakeholder and inter-agency communication - fostering communication with urban stakeholders including the local community, as well as between urban and regional development agencies at the local level, and between levels of government from local to EU.

URBIS Solutions consist of 3 core elements:

URBIS Land Resource Management:
  • Green infrastructure planning and connectivity
  • Urban sprawl analysis and dynamics
  • Land development potential assessment
URBIS Thematic Services:
  • Urban Renewal Cost Estimation
  • Flood Risk Assessment
  • Solar and Biomass Energy Potentials
URBIS Integration Tool:

Interactive web-based user communication platform supporting visualization, assessment, evaluation, and benchmarking, etc.

URBIS Solutions offer:

  • Innovative solutions - for transformational governance of cities;
  • Practical solutions - delivering from concept planning to implementation;
  • Win–win solutions - supporting integrated planning according to policy objectives;
  • Local solutions - engaging the community building on strategic planning frameworks;
  • Common solutions - generic solutions for cities throughout Europe.

Land Resource Management Services

URBIS SOLUTIONS - Green Infrastructure planning and connectivity (Re-Naturing the City)

Context

Nature-based solutions to societal challenges are inspired and supported by nature as living solutions. They are adaptable, multi-purpose and resource efficient, and provide simultaneously environmental, social and economic benefits including:

  • improving city resilience contributing to both climate change adaptation and mitigation;
  • restoring urban biodiversity, ecosystems and their services;
  • enhancing human health, air and water quality, reducing noise;
  • raising quality of life, well-being and social cohesion.
Challenges / needs

Green infrastructure planning objectives are set in the strategic planning framework that extends across the administrative boundaries from city centre to hinterland at the local level. Green infrastructure planning requirement, are fully supported by URBIS solutions, and focused on the connectivity of the network of green infrastructures, and the definition of green routeways linking city centre to countryside. URBIS solutions (See Figure) identify gaps in the network to be filled to ensure connectivity essential to meet the requirements of the policy. Gaps in the network can only filled at the local level, where neighbourhood planning is critical to the realisation of city-wide planning objectives. Overall URBIS solutions support policy development, project implementation, as well as awareness raising.

Solutions

URBIS Solutions for Green Infrastructure planning and connectivity (Re-Naturing the City) are based on URBIS Green and Open Space Layer dataset and include following elements:

  • Production of datasets - URBIS Green and Open Space Layer and change - in 5m spatial resolution, derived from Copernicus satellite imagery and other data sources) describing amount, spatial distribution and other characteristics of green and open space in the city-region and their development in time (2006 – 2012);
  • Delivery of indicators - specifying existing state and identifying development of green and open space (2006 - 2012) in the city-region, calculated for analytical units at various scales (1km grid; neighborhood, city-wide and functional urban area);
  • Support of interactive thematic analysis - focusing on green and open space e.g. provides site relevant information for context analysis, benchmarking of analytical units to identify green area deficiencies, via the URBIS Integration Tool.

URBIS SOLUTIONS - Urban Sprawl Dynamics Analysis

Context

Urban sprawl defined as ‘unplanned incremental urban development, characterised by a low density mix of land uses on the urban fringe’ (EEA, 2006) has different impacts depending upon the type of land use involved (residential, industrial, commercial, etc.) and what land is being consumed (agriculture, forest, etc.). Agricultural land is generally the dominant land-use in peri-urban areas, and this land use suffers of rapid changes. Urban sprawl and the uncontrolled expansion of built development and infrastructures of transport around cities:

  • generates high rates of land-take and soil sealing;
  • poses a major threat jeopardizing the sustainable use of soils, in particular the highly fertile soils;
  • promotes loss of ecosystem services due to disrupted natural cycles;
  • creates other harmful effects including increase in the urban heat island effect, decrease of infiltration and acceleration of run-off, etc.
Challenges / needs

Compact cities form critical elements in strategic policy frameworks to counteract urban sprawl. URBIS solutions support public authorities in resisting pressure by market actors generating urban sprawl, reinforcing governance-based planning interventions resisting supporting compact cities. URBIS urban sprawl dynamics intelligence (See Figure) identifies the rate of urban sprawl in peri-urban and the urban hinterland, and supports critical analysis regarding loss of agricultural soils, as well as the health of ecosystems and habitats. URBIS solutions help to guide strategic priority setting and decision-making at local and regional levels. Overall URBIS solutions support policy development, project implementation, as well as awareness raising.

Solutions

Urbis Solutions - Urban Sprawl Dynamics are based on URBIS Enhanced Imperviousness Layer, Land Cover Map and include following elements:

  • Production of datasets - URBIS Enhanced Imperviousness Layer, Land Cover Map and change - in 5m spatial resolution, derived from Copernicus satellite imagery and other data sources, describing amount, spatial distribution and other characteristics of urban area in the city-region and their development in time (2006 – 2012);
  • Delivery of indicators - specifying existing state and identifying development of urban areas (2006 - 2012) in the city-region, calculated for analytical units at various scales (1km grid; neighborhood, city-wide and functional urban area); to define the nature of sprawl and support development of potential land use solutions;
  • Support of interactive thematic analysis - focusing on urban land and urban sprawl in the local and regional context via the URBIS Integration Tool to meet the requirements and varied objectives of a wide range stakeholders.

URBIS SOLUTIONS - Land Development Potential

Context

Potential development sites can include for, example, brownfields sites as well as other vacant and underused areas within the existing urban environment. The re-use of these sites supports sustainable land use management objectives, including the minimization of land consumption and de-sealing initiatives, as well as an opportunity to rethink city planning and improve urban design:

  • providing new green open space;
  • developing new housing opportunity including social housing;
  • creating mixed use developments in the heart of the city.
Challenges / needs

URBIS Land Development Potential assessments complement the URBIS sprawl dynamic assessment in the city regional context by providing detailed assessment within existing urban areas. URBIS solutions identify and classify sites according to their development potential, and suitability to accommodate a wide range of new urban uses. URBIS Land Development Potential assessments (See Figure) provide a first estimate of the type, scale and distribution of sites available for urban redevelopment. These assessments offer local stakeholders and authorities an improved overview of inner city development potentials, as a basis for further investigation and site development. Overall URBIS solutions support policy development, project implementation, as well as awareness raising.

Solutions

URBIS Solutions – Land Development Potential is based on URBIS Grey Layer and change and URBIS Green and Open Space Layer and include following elements:

  • Production of dataset - URBIS Grey Layer and change - of potential development areas (brownfields) in the city-region and their development in time (2006 – 2012) to identify brownfield site potential via URBIS Grey Layer assessment;
  • Production of dataset - URBIS Green and Open Space Layer assessment - identifies non-brownfield potential development sites in the urban envelope;
  • Delivery of indicators - specifying characteristics of each site (derived from Copernicus satellite imagery and other open-source data sources); enabling to define sites according to range of criteria e.g. large vacant sites, with no green potential, well connected to urban fabric;
  • Support of interactive thematic analysis - focusing potential development sites e.g. based on site specific information, via the URBIS Integration Tool and Evaluation Tool.

Thematic Services

URBIS SOLUTIONS - Urban Renewal Cost Estimation

Context

The creation of new urban uses, supports a range of policy objectives including the development of more compact cities, delivered by mixed use developments, connected by green infrastructures in the heart of the city. This regeneration, transformation, and restructuring of cities often requires the demolition of buildings and infrastructures. Demolition occurs for a number of reasons, including abandonment of the use of the structure, unsatisfactory location, deteriorating building material quality, lack of interest from property owners to invest.

Challenges / needs

URBIS Urban Renewal Cost Estimation permits full understanding and evaluation of the benefits of the renewal process, and supports full assessment of the costs of demolition activity to be presented to decision-makers including:

  • municipalities and city planners in the generation of demolition and site redevelopment scenarios;
  • finance and investment managers in the prioritization of demolition sites in a portfolio management system to guide longer term strategic planning and investment;
  • land owners and development agencies in the evaluation of alternative development strategies for the city.
Solutions

URBIS Solutions – Urban Renewal Cost Estimation is based on URBIS Grey Layer and include following elements:

  • Production of dataset - URBIS Grey Layer - of potential development areas to identify brownfield sites in the city-region;
  • Delivery of basic indicators – specifying characteristics of each site relevant for estimation of the demolition/renewal cost, including degree of sealing, area/volume of buildings, previous land use e.g. industrial/residential;
  • Delivery of advanced/specific indicators - estimating demolition/renewal costs based on area of sealed surface, volume of buildings, area of buildings, and current land use (residential/industrial);
  • Support of integration of local specific datasets or knowledge (average demolition costs for the city/region);
  • Support of interactive thematic analysis - focusing on assessment/benchmarking of site potential for renewal via the URBIS Integration Tool and Evaluation Tool.

URBIS SOLUTIONS - Flood Risk Assessment

Context

Sustainable city planning requires hazards to be mitigated where they can be anticipated, and specifically urban structures must be managed to avoid the consequences of climate change including protection against flooding, and avoidance of development in flood risk zones. At the same time the development of green infrastructures inside and around cities, offers opportunity to deploy more resource-efficient nature based solutions, so instead of building dykes against flood events, exploitation of flood areas can be secured. Comprehension of flood risk and assessment of it’s impact is therefore an essential element in decision making for the future development of the city.

Challenges / needs

URBIS Flood Risk Assessment service provides vital flood risk zone information:

  • specified in relation to potential development zones;
  • identifying the suitability for development and providing improved ecological services;
  • permitting the optimal planning of potential development areas;
  • supporting the delivery of nature based solutions.
Solutions

URBIS Solutions – Flood Risk Assessment is based on URBIS Grey Layer and URBIS Grey Layer and include following elements:

  • Production of dataset - URBIS Grey Layer - of potential development areas (brownfields) in the city-region based on location of sites inside/outside flood zones;
  • Production of dataset - URBIS Green and Open Space Layer – to identify non-brownfield potential development sites or green sites with potential for natural water retention within the urban envelope;
  • Delivery of advanced/specific indicators – specifying characteristics of each site relevant for estimation of its risk of flood, based on its location in respect of flood zones defined in the city-region and other site characteristics;
  • Support of integration of local specific datasets or knowledge – concerning local information about environmental risk zones);
  • Support of interactive thematic analysis - focusing on assessment of flood risk for potential development sites in the city/region via the URBIS Integration Tool and Evaluation Tool.

URBIS SOLUTIONS - Solar and Biomass Energy Potentials

Context

Meeting the goals of energy security and CO2-neutrality, require that cities create commonly agreed long-term strategies to frame the energy transition and ensure its viability and execution. Decentralised renewable energy production at city and city-region levels can be provided by a variety of sources including solar and biomass. Site potentials for the production of solar and biomass energy are typically unknown and unexplored, and consequently solar and biomass energy assessment tools offer huge potential to support the political needs for energy security, CO2-neutrality and the energy transition.

Challenges / needs

URBIS Solar and Biomass Energy assessment tools permit the evaluation of the development potentials of sites and specification of their suitability for generating renewable energy resources. Accordingly sites which are currently underused or vacant may provide ample opportunities for the production of renewable energies. URBIS Solar and Biomass Energy assessment tools:

  • solar and biomass energy production;
  • assess the energy performance of buildings;
  • define energy potential according to a variety of factors including size of site, orientation, relation to the sun, and fertility of the soil. etc.
Solutions

URBIS Solutions – Solar and Biomass Energy Potentials is based on URBIS Green and Open space layer and include following elements:

  • Production of dataset - URBIS Green and Open space layer – to identify open spaces in the city with potential for solar or biomass energy production;
  • Delivery of indicators – specifying characteristics of each site relevant for estimation of the potential for solar or biomass energy production, including site area, location, slope, distance to transportation networks;
  • Support of integration of local specific datasets or knowledge - information about sun exposure or soil fertility, investor and local planning indicators;
  • Support of interactive thematic analysis - focusing on assessment of potentials for solar or biomass energy production in the city/region via the URBIS Integration Tool and Evaluation Tool.

Integration and Evaluation Tool

URBIS SOLUTIONS – URBIS Integration Tool

Context

Effective data-driven decision making requires support the decision making processes via an easy-to-use tool flexible to choose analysis level and seamless integrating data and indicators with additional information in transparent environment. In land management domain it means embedded in the integration tool, intended specifically for the assessment of the (re)development potential of the site e.g. brownfield site or vacant urban site more generally. This advanced filtering functionality shall provide ability for interactive:

  • Filtering of analytical units (sites) based on values of multiple criteria or indicators
  • Visualization of selected units in map and charts
  • Export of selected units as a GIS layer or as a table with e.g. indicator values
Challenges / needs

The URBIS Integration tool supports the requirement for a platform which can support interactive user driven analysis of project results and communication between the user and provider of the services. To meet this need, a web-based application has been developed, built on open source programming approaches. This URBIS Integration tool provides an environment, which supports decision making at different stages of the urban and regional planning policy development and implementation process, by providing tools for interactive multi-scale land use planning assessments of the city and the surrounding city-region.

Solutions

URBIS Integration Tool enables:

  • Direct access to URBIS results - visualization/presentation of URBIS products
  • Setting and sharing user-defined layouts and views
  • Interactive analysis of URBIS results in map window, charts and tables
  • Multi-temporal analysis
  • Visualization of quantities e.g. indicator values, in thematic maps (choropleths)
  • Interactive selection, filtering and benchmarking of analytical units at different hierarchical levels e.g. site, sub-city district, core city area, and functional urban area.
  • Exporting results and selection as graphics, tables or GIS layers
  • Displaying and exporting site specific information
  • Integration and visualization of users´ own spatial datasets

The tool is available online at http://urbis.gisat.cz/tool/



PROJECT NEWS

Meeting URBIS Pilot Users

During first weeks in December we will meet with our users to discuss their experiences with the first version of the URBIS services provided few weeks ago. Series of meetings is important to get the direct user feedback on their utility (pros and cons). We start with URBIS Pilot User Meeting with Moravian-Silesian Regional Department on 9th December followed by other test sites. 


3rd Technical Meeting

Third technical coordination meeting will be held on September 9–10th 2015 in Prague in GISAT premises. The main aim of the meeting is finalization of the first prototype of the URBIS services and coordination of the plan beyond M18.


URBIS Year One

URBIS project has succesfully passed P1 Review. See publishable summary from the P1 Progress Report.


P1 Review Meeting

URBIS project has passed M12. P1 Review Meeting will be held on May 7th 2015 in EU premises in Luxembourg.


URBIS SHB Workshop

URBIS Stakeholder Board Workshop will be held on March 26th 2015 in UK Research Office premises in Brussels. Discussion will be framed by requirements coming from resource efficiency agenda as recently reflected in upcoming UN Habitat3 or EU Land Communication development and the question how these initiatives can be effectively supported on the regional or local level and how URBIS project can contribute in these activities. SHB workshop provides excellent opportunity to foster board members engagement with participation from project team, DG REGIO and DG ENV, JRC, EEA, EEA, ETC-ULS and some urban planning experts.


URBIS will present on IUME Meeting

URBIS project will be presented on 8th IUME (Integrated Urban Management in Europe) group organised by EEA on March 25th 2015 in Eurocities premises in Brussels. The topic of the meeting is “the future urban challenges“. Edit 28/03/2015 — See some future urban challenges identified in BXL


2nd Technical Meeting

Second technical coordination meeting will be held on January 27–28th 2015 in Leipzig in STADT+ premises. The aim of the meeting is specification of the first portfolio of the URBIS services described both from user and technical point of view.





FEEDS

INTERNAL WEB SITE

CONTACT US
You can see the URBIS project partners spatial distribution on the map above.

The URBIS project consortium is lead by GISAT s.r.o.:

icon 4 Project coordinator: Tomas Soukup

icon 1 GISAT s.r.o., Milady Horakove 57, 170 00 Praha 7, Czech Republic

icon 2(+420) 270-003-735

icon 3 www.gisat.cz

email Send us your feedback


CREDITS

icon 35

URBIS project has received funding from the EU FP7 ICT Policy Support Programme as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme.

Grant Agreement No. 621125