M-DAB2: Material intensity of inner development - resource assessment and localization of urban development potentials

For the first time, the material intensity of inner development (in terms of material quantities) for different design variants is to be considered in the evaluation of inner development potentials. A set of methods for the holistic evaluation of potential areas and different development variants and scenarios for resource-saving inner development will be created.

Short Description

Starting point / motivation

Annual land consumption in Austria is currently 47 km² (more than the area of Eisenstadt), clearly superseding the target of 9 km² per year, which the current government program aims at for the year 2030 (Umweltbundesamt 2021 and Bundeskanzleramt 2020).

Continued urban sprawl leads to a significant over-consumption of land and primary resources, since new infrastructure for traffic, supply and disposal and so forth have to be put in place. A targeted development of an existing urban environment („inward development", Grams 2015) leads to a reduction in annual land use and has huge potential for reducing the use of primary resources.

To identify areas having a high potential in that respect (see Fig. 1), one has to assess a variety of aspects (e.g. location within the city, existing and targeted building densities, capacities and qualities of existing infrastructure). However, assessments of inward development do currently not account for resulting building materials (i.e. construction or demolition leading to primary material output or input).

Contents and goals

The project aims at localization, quantification and qualification of inward development potentials and will, for the first time ever, account for material intensities in inward development (amount of primary material) in the context of different development scenarios. It will furthermore offer several views - from real-estate to city planning - thereby making development assessable from different standpoints.


Elaboration of criteria in the above sense and verification using GIS-based automated context analysis will allow for a comparison between different development scenarios (e.g. demolition and new construction, annex construction or retrofitting) under consideration of the urban context in which this development happens (see Fig. 2).

It will furthermore allow for a more systematic approach to location planning using different views. Building on the extended data basis of our previous project M-DAB, this project elaborates on potential profiles of different building and location types according to several parameters (e.g. building period, usage, construction class).

In a next step, development pathways for each of these potential profiles are assessed with special regards for minimal resource utilization (land and material resources). In a final step, this project employs digital methods (e.g. Machine Learning) to identify similar potential development patterns within the urban fabric.

Expected results

M-DAB2 develops a reliable digital model of material intensity which helps with the assessment of inward development potentials using an interactive visualization offering different views (e.g. real-estate developer, city planning authorities). In combination with the database of the previous project M-DAB, this project offers unprecedented insights into

  1. attainable saving potentials in primary resource use and landfill volumes,
  2. the ability to compare development scenarios within the built environment and contrast these to greenfield development and
  3. to assess the city-wide potential and impacts of a chosen best-practice method with regards to resource utilization for selected use cases (see Fig. 3).

Project Partners

Project management

TU Wien - Institut of Spatial Planning, Research Unit of Local Planning / Spatial Simulation Lab (Simlab)

Project or cooperation partners

  • TU Wien - Institute of Water Quality and Resource Management, Research Unit of Waste and Resource Management
  • TU Wien - Institute of Architectural Sciences, Research Unit of Digital Architecture and Planning
  • Rhomberg Bau GmbH
  • Ernst Dengg - DS energie consulting & management GmbH

Contact Address

TU Wien - Institut of Spatial Planning
Research Unit of Local Planning / Spatial Simulation Lab (Simlab)
Karlsgasse 11
A-1040 Vienna
Tel.: +43 (1) 58801 280430
E-mail: stefan.bindreiter@tuwien.ac.at
Web: https://simlab.tuwien.ac.at