Bild: Bautafel der Wohnhaussanierung "Tschechenring"

EPIKUR – Energy efficiency potential of intelligent measures of urban densification

The present research proposal focuses on the possibility, implications and consequences of "inwards urban expansion" through densification of the existing urban tissue. In this context, densification is not only approached through known and common aspects of building regulations and guidelines, but in view of what is actually possible to achieve.

Short Description

Towards this end, methods and computer-supported procedures for the evaluation of relevant architectural and urban planning aspects, as well as, the assessment of energy and cost aspects of an existing neighbourhood in the city of Graz (as a case study), will be developed, implemented, validated and generalized for further use.

Starting point / motivation

The city of the 21st century as an expression of numerous cohabiting human beings, is faced with many challenges including:

  • substantial migration towards cities
  • urban sprawl
  • social and demographical issues
  • environment pollution
  • infrastructural supply and disposal
  • traffic and mobility

In this context, one of the complex issues in need of addressing is the question of the future expansion of cities. Due to common inconsistencies among legal and administrative guidelines, the manner in which a city expands (commonly through designated urban extension areas), is not considered to be optimal.

Contents and goals

The proposed research effort focuses on urban densification. It is commonly accepted that many aspects of the above-mentioned issues can be elegantly and efficiently addressed through densification. However, due to various administrative barriers and open questions, urban densification is also subject to scepticism.


For an all-encompassing investigation of the topic, primarily and aside from existing legal and normative guidelines, the actual urban densification potential must be estimated. To evaluate this potential from various view points

  • architecture and urban planning,
  • building physics and energy performance,
  • technical,
  • human-ecological,
  • ecological,
  • economic,
  • social and demographic views,

assessment tools and processes are to be developed. Through collaboration with the city of Graz, a case-study to undergo densification measures and two control neighbourhoods within the boundaries of Graz are to be determined, for the implementation and validation of the developed methods.

Expected results

Once validated and generalized, the developed tools and methods, supported by state-of-the-art information technologies, can aid planners and decision makers to perform similar multi-faceted potential analyses, in other urban contexts.

Project Partners

Project management

Univ:Prof. DI Dr.techn Ardeshir Mahdavi - Technische Universität Wien, Department of Building Physics and Building Ecology

Contact Address

Technische Universität Wien
Department of Building Physics and Building Ecology
Univ.Prof. DI. Dr.techn. Ardeshir Mahdavi
Karlsplatz 13/4
A-1040 Wien
Tel.: +43 (1) 588 012 7003
Fax: +43 (1) 588 012 7093

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