SUA – Climate KIC

Smart Urban Adapt – Helping cities transition to a low carbon future

The city of tomorrow has to use fewer resources and to provide better living qualities. Therefore SMART URBAN ADAPT helps European cities with next-generation decision tools to design development paths for the 1-ton-CO2-society.

Current climate mitigation scenarios for sustainable urban environments are mainly defined by fixed key performance indicators. Associated action plans are likely to fail due to interactions of systems, legal regulations and economic mechanisms in the real world environment. This calls for a more integrated surveying of climate critical urban systems and adjustable adaptation mechanisms to create feasible urban development paths for climate change mitigation. Hence, this project aimed to develop a scenario based evaluation platform for the generation of accredited urban development paths and resilience benchmarks for municipalities (figure below). Previously separated urban subsystem models were integrated into large GIS data warehouses and combined emerging urban climate data sensing techniques. This platform was leveraged by novel and interactive decision support tools for the cross-sectoral, multi-scale planning, management and operation of existing cities. The modular platform would be commercially exploited in terms of (a) consultancy businesses and sustainability rule databases developed by spin-off companies, (b) middleware services, (c) key technologies (cloud based GIS data warehouse, cloud computing and sensing) and (d) modular interactive next generation software applications for urban planning, real estate investment, and community education.

Dipl Ing Jan | +41 44 633 79 62

SUPat – NFP65

Sustainable Urban Patterns – A project within the scope of the National Research Programme NRP 65 “New Urban Quality”

Traditional planning methods for urban systems reach their limits, as continuous interactions among people and socio-economic and ecological variables generate increasingly complex and unsustainable environments, which impact human health, well-being and ecological quality. Our goal was therefore to generate exemplary sustainable urban patterns on regional and local scale for selected case study areas in the Limmattal close to Zurich. This required developing new approaches clarifying design tasks through an iteration of thorough spatial, infrastructural and socioeconomic readings, conceptual interpretations and their testing – guided by design, supported by simulation and collaborative modelling.

The overall goal of the NRP 65 project “SUPat – Sustainable Urban Patterns” was to establish a collaborative modelling platform, which bundles the diverse capabilities and methods of designers, planners, scientists and simulation tools, such as advanced economic and transport modelling tools, ecological process models, and social analyses, to derive at convincing sustainable urban patterns. Overall the collaborative modelling platform accelerates knowledge exchange between relevant actors and serves as an operative tool to assess the conditions under which specific urban qualities have a good chance to achieve their environmental, social and economic goals.

Dipl Ing Antje Kunze | +41 44 633 68 59

KTI – Visual Manager

In this research project, which lasted 18 months, we developed a framework and a related Multi-Touch-Software for the visual management of risks and strategies. The applied research project was done jointly with our industry partner vasp datatecture GmbH ( Their consultants and visualization experts developed the methodologies and logical designs and prototypes. Based on this input, the software developers at ETH elaborated a generic framework and a multi-touch-application. On top of that the researchers envisioned and implemented new forms of gesture based human computer interaction and a practical way for writing text without an external keyboard. Furthermore, an iPhone application allowed accessing the data for example from home or the bus, manipulating and processing the data of the application. This new visual management approach had led to a new form of discussion, a reduction of complexity, more clarity and consistency, a higher involvement and motivation of people and thus leverage efficiency.

The project can become a landmark for a paradigm shift towards a visual management.

Dr Remo Burkhard | | +41 44 633 79 08

KTI – City planning tool

Computer-assisted Interactive Planning of Energy- and CO2-Efficient Cities

This Project was a collaboration between the ETH Zurich and Esri Procedural AG. The goal was to develop a software system that can help urban planners and designer to design more energy efficient and less CO2 consuming cities.
The Zurich based company Procedural AG develops and distributes the 3D Software “CityEngine”, which uses a new approach for modeling 3D urban environments very efficiently. Real-world data and simulated scenarios can be integrated into new urban scenarios or be used for the digital apparent reconstruction of existing cities.
Compared to present technological standards the quality to create a more sustainable city plan would be drastically enhanced. Furthermore, predictions on apparent energy consumptions and CO2 emissions are more easily accessible along with the creation of optimized design alternatives.



We implemented a research lab – the Value Lab, a new collaboration environment for virtual design and planning of architecture. It combined the use of complimentary views on high resolution computer displays with direct multi-touch content manipulation creating a streamlined working pipeline for the evaluation of design. Until the date, the Value Lab Space consisted of five large scale, high-resolution lcd-panels and two high-resolution projectors. Three lc-displays are wall mounted in a 1×3 layout interactive display wall and two are realized as one large interactive display table. Both the display row and the interactive table are equipped with multi-touch technology. The Value Lab was operational with the opening of the HIT building in September 2008. Further information