We are a non-profit group of scientists providing evidence and engaging in dialogues among scientists, stakeholders and the public alike.
Providing evidence today for the design of tomorrow’s green cities.
We put the data collected by hundreds of satellites to work in those areas where the majority of people live – in cities. Cities provide connections, knowledge and opportunities. Embedded in this matrix, valuable habitat for People and Nature alike can be established.
Share with us your research outcomes, your city story or your opinions and views. You might also start an enquiry and we come back to you as soon as possible.
Choosing the ‘cool path’
Covid19 shows the immense value of our green urban infrastructure, as people frequent parks and forests even stronger. However, there is even more value in our urban parks, forests and water bodies – from cooling potential to habitat provisioning for valuable urban biodiversity. It is not coincidental that the ‘Cool Street’ (Dt. ‘Kühler Weg’) runs along Berlin’s famous Grunewald forest – being close to vegetation makes a big difference for health and well-being. We can make these functions visible, analyze them and make evidence-based feasible suggestions for improvements, with remotely sensed data from satellites offering up to date global coverage at high cost efficiency.
These environmental values create issues of injustice and distribution. Who profits of these features? Are deprived neighborhoods left behind? These questions require integrative ways of analysis, as proximity to the green areas might be the only way to benefit of some of the services they produce, for example cooling. Especially in densely build neighborhoods with less space for green, the accessibility is key. Therefore, a regular and just distribution of green is very important.
Management is key
What management actions we carry out do at what time is just as important as the initial design and layout of green areas. For example, the frequency of mowing, whose effects are visible from space, has profound implications on the ecological performance of green areas.
Rapidly growing cities require rapid response and up-to-date planning material ready to use. Orbiting at altitudes of 500 – 1000 km with speeds around 7.5 km per second, satellites having various sensors aboard can provide just that – from sleepy villages to buzzing mega cities alike. Take Guatemala City for instance, featuring a population of around 3 million in its larger agglomeration. This represents a doubling of inhabitants since the early 1990ies. Here, we analyze the green fabric and the value attributed to this by the people. Working to safeguard valuable forest remnants on the steep slopes is important, as those areas provide ecosystem services such as habitat provisioning, erosion prevention, and ground water recharge. Managing these valuable and sensitive areas and directing pressure away from them is important to ensure a sustainable development.
Rapid growth requires rapid deployment
Going back in time
We have long-standing archives that reach back to the 1970ies. Using those, we can monitor and observe regimes falling, cities growing and shrinking and greening. An increase in vegetation is thereby not necessarily the opposite of an increase in population. Berlin illustrates all these various trends very well.
The research and this website is collaboratively funded by the DBU and is part of the H2020 project Clearing House on urban forest solutions