A look at present and future key ecological, economic and social challenges usually reveals a direct or indirect link to urban areas and the human activities going on there and in their vicinity. Especially metropolitan areas are important economic, political, social and cultural centers because of their high population density and infrastructure. They also influence their natural and socio-economic environments even up to global levels. Urban areas consume large amounts of resources in the form of land, energy, raw materials and labor, turning them into a broad range of goods and services. In turn, the processes related to these products and economic cycles strongly influence the environment and society, both in positive and negative ways.
Already today more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and this global trend of urbanization continues at an increasing pace. Urban sprawl, high traffic density, social tensions, and the vulnerability of urban conglomerations to natural hazards such as earthquakes or storms are only some of the associated problems. But they reveal that sustainable management of the built environment is essential to maintain the manifold functions of human settlements. Here, a key aspect is the understanding of the processes of and interactions between the built and natural environment and the socio-economic context.
The team “Smart Cities and Spatial Development” develops remote sensing methodologies and information products to support an efficient, advanced and sustainable management of the built environment and its related ecological, economical and societal spheres. Therefore, the team utilizes a broad spectrum of high and very high spatial resolution data obtained from active and passive remote sensing sensor systems (multispectral, hyperspectral and SAR) with the help of (semi-) automatic image processing techniques. Our applications basically focus on the following topics:
From a methodological point of view the research focuses on operational solutions for the: