Material intensity of inner development - resource assessment and localization of urban development potentials

Visualization of the user interface

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Visualization of the user interface - MDAB2

Project description

Period: 2022-2023


Starting situation, problems and motivation

Annual land consumption in Austria is currently 47 km² (more than the area of Eisenstadt), clearly superseding the target of 9 km²/year, which the current government program aims to achieve in 2030 (WWF 2021 and Bundeskanzleramt 2020). Continued urban sprawl leads to a significant over-consumption of land and primary resources, since new infrastructure for traffic, supply and disposal and so forth have to be put in place. A targeted development of an existing urban environment (“inward development“, Grams 2015) leads to a reduction in annual land use and has significant potential for reducing the use of primary resources. To identify areas having a high potential in that respect, one has to assess a variety of suitability factors (e.g. location within the city, existing and targeted building densities, capacities and qualities of existing infrastructure). However, available methods in assessing inward development potentials do not account for resulting building materials (i.e. construction or demolition leading to primary material output or input).


Goals and innovative content

The project aims at localization, quantification and qualification of inward development potentials and shall, for the first time ever, account for material intensities in inward development (amount of primary material) in the context of different development scenarios. It shall furthermore offer several views – from real-estate to city planning – thereby making development assessable from different standpoints. Elaboration of criteria in the above sense and verification using GIS-based automated context analysis will allow for a comparison between different development scenarios (e.g. demolition and new construction, annex construction or retrofitting) under consideration of the urban context in which this development happens. It will furthermore allow for a more systematic approach to location planning using different views. Building on the extended data basis of our previous project M-DAB (FFG No. 873569), this project elaborates on potential profiles of different building and location types according to several parameters (e.g. building period, usage, construction class). In a next step, development pathways for each of these potential profiles are assessed with special regards for minimal resource utilization (land and material resources). In a final step this project employs digital methods (e.g. Machine Learning) to identify similar potential/development patterns within the urban fabric.


Desired results and findings

M-DAB2 develops a reliable digital model of material intensity which helps with the assessment of inward development potentials using an interactive visualization offering different views (e.g. real-estate developer, city planning authorities). In combination with the database of our previous project, M-DAB, this project offers unprecedented insights into (1.)  attainable saving potentials in primary resource use and landfill volumes, (2.) the ability to compare development scenarios within the built environment and contrast these to greenfield development and (3.) to assess the city-wide potential and impacts of a chosen best-practice method with regards to resource utilization for selected use cases.


Further information: Project Page, opens an external URL in a new window | TISS Research Portal, opens an external URL in a new window

This project is implemented under the Stadt der Zukunft program (8th call) within a proposal of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).