Dipl Ing Jan Halatsch



Jan Halatsch received a Dipl. Ing. degree in Architecture from the Technical University of Dresden (Germany) in 2004. From 2004 to 2006 he participated in a postgraduate master program in Computer and Information Science at the University of Konstanz (Germany). From 2006 to 2008 Jan held a position as a research scientist for the ETH Value Lab project  and as a teaching assistant for several elective courses and theses at the Chair for Information Architecture. Jan was a team member of the software company Procedural (now ESRI) during the first phase of this start-up company. At Procedural Jan was actively involved to position the modeling software CityEngine as an important tool for city modeling, urban planning and design. Since 2008 Jan’s research focus is on sustainable urban planning and efficient geometric modeling, simulation and visualization techniques (CTI project – interactive city planning tool). In 2009 he became a lecturer  for a regular advanced master course on new methods in urban simulation and modeling.  His current PhD research focusses on the development of an procedural multi-scale urban climate model for the interactive prediction of urban heat islands within the planning process. Jan is actively involved in scientific activities such as the Climate-KIC, the organization of conferences, editor or being a delegate of the non-professorial staff at the department of architecture (D-ARCH). During Professor Schmitt’s stay at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore Jan became also the financial deputy of the Chair for Information Architecture.
Jan founded together with Antje Kunze the ETH Zurich-SpinOff SmarterBetterCities AG, which provides web-based procedural modelling solutions and 3D cities libraries.

Research Interests

GIS-based procedural city modeling, information visualization of large-scale city models, grammar-based prediction of urban heat islands (UHI), geo-data warehouse design


Jan Halatsch’s PhD thesis concentrates on the simplification of micro- climate models. Interactive micro-climate evaluation techniques could help significantly in the early design stage to prevent from poor urban planning. A huge contribution is expected by coupling different urban physics models into an integrated rule-based 3D city model that is aware of different climatic scales. Therefore, an existing procedural 3D city modeling process will be extended to include computations for urban physics into an interactive city model. The urban physics calculations will be integrated in a 3D modeling environment, providing instant feedback to the users on the developed models.


Jan is, was working within the following projects:

  • Computer-assisted interactive planning of energy- and CO2-efficient cities (coordinator, 2009-11) (link)
  • NFP65 Sustainable Urban Pattern (lead procedural city model, 2010-ongoing) (link)
  • ETH Value Lab (technical project manager and financial controlling, 2006-2011) (link)
  • Climate-KIC Smart Urban Adapt (coordinator, 2010-ongoing) (link)


The following teaching activities had been performed by Jan:

  • Advanced master course (lead, 2009 – ongoing): New methods in urban simulation and modeling.
  • several elective theses (2007 – ongoing)
  • two elective courses (fall semester 2008, spring semester 2009)
  • one seminar week (2009), and one summer school course (2009)


  • Best Paper, CONVR 2009 (International Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality)
  • Best Paper CUHC 2008 (China Urban Housing Conference)
  • Best Paper eCAADe 2008 (Conference on Education and Research in CAAD in Europe)


  • Financial deputy, Chair for Information Architecture (since 2010)
  • Department conference delegate for non-professorial staff (2010-ongoing)
  • Appointments committee for non-professorial staff (2010)


  • 13 papers in proceedings of peer reviewed international conferences and two book chapters.
  • Co-editor of a book: Springer CCIS Volume 242 on “Digital Urban Modelling and Simulation” (to appear)
  • Co-editor of a journal: AutoCON special journal issue on eCAADe2010 (to appear)