M-DAB - Digitise, analyse and sustainably manage the city's material resources

The research project investigates how digital technologies can support us in determining the existing and future material resources in construction qualitatively (building materials and their recycling) and quantitatively (quantities of building materials).

Short Description


In preperation

Starting point / motivation

Vienna is a growing metropolitan region in Austria. Hence, politics and authorities need to draft paths for sustainable and affordable building developments leading to an increased quality of life.

Building materials and the way of building construction define the building stock within one urban development phase. Moreover, this also affects the waste we have to deal with in future. Current knowledge about quantities and qualities of bound resources or waste materials is insufficient. 

70% (about 44 million tons) of Austria's annual waste volume originates from the building industry. In addition to environmental interests, waste management tackles also economic interests to implement practicable processes in order to better utilize these resources.

Contents and goals

The qualitative and quantitative determination of resources allows calculating economic parameters of waste disposal and resource recovery on material- and component-specific levels. Based on this, a prediction of their future availability becomes accessible. As a result, higher transparency of follow-up costs in waste removal and material recovery arises.

The results of the research project can be used to determine material resources and disposal costs in terms of time and space. Within planning scenarios, it will be simulated how resources can be used in a more sustainable way, how a better recycling balance can be achieved and how the future built environment can be made resource-efficient in terms of economic and environmental aspects.

A planning tool is developed, which visually prepares the automated calculation and simulation results. This provides a basis for communication and decision making for different stakeholder groups of the executive planning disciplines as well as the administration and politics (in particular in the areas of waste management, urban development and environmental protection).


Building upon and expanding existing databases (MA 23, TU-IWR-FAR) Vienna's building stock and its contained resources are analyzed and categorized. Based on this information, a three-dimensional visualization and simulation tool is prepared. Scenario-analysis (business as usual (BAU) and explorative scenarios were the resources are locally used) is used to project the development of the Viennese building stock and its material resources (volume by category, benefit, costs, local availability) into the future.

Parameters for policy-making are defined based on the scenario-planning and implemented into the visualization and simulation tool in order to make dynamic simulations possible. A BIM API is developed to enrich existing information and as an interface for the visualization and simulation tool.

Expected results

Quality and quantities of dormant resources and therefore possible costs and revenues are visualized through calculations and evaluations in the project. Stakeholders involved in executive planning disciplines, their clients, as well as for persons involved in the real estate industry (owners and administrators) will benefit. Furthermore, a process is designed, which enables a practical input/collection of component- and building-specific raw material resources.

This enables the determination of construction-specific disposal and recycling costs at planning stage of the building for the first time. Practically this is realized by an extension of the BIM interface IFC.

The process designed in the project leads to a constant increase of the level of detail in the database and enables automated simulation and thus precise forecasts over the entire lifecycle process of the building stock. This improves the communication and provides a better decision basis for all stakeholders and the implementation of efficient (on-site) recycling processes.

Project Images

Terms of use: The pictures listed underneath the header “Project Pictures” originate from the projects in the frame of the programmes City of Tomorrow, Building of Tomorrow and the IEA Research Cooperation. They may be used credited for non-commercial purposes under the Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC).

Project Partners

Project Management

TU Wien, Institut für Raumplanung, Forschungsbereich Örtliche Raumplanung - DI Dr. Julia Forster

Project- or cooperation partners

  • TU Wien, Institut für Wassergüte, Ressourcenmanagement und Abfallwirtschaft, Forschungsbereich Ressourcenmanagement und Abfallwirtschaft: Associate Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Johann Fellner
  • TU Wien, Institut für Architekturwissenschaften, Forschungsbereich Digitale Architektur und Raumplanung: Privatdoz. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Gabriel Wurzer
  • SIDE - Studio for Information Design, DI Erich Kotroczo
  • DI Dr. Mathias Mitteregger

Contact Address

DI Dr. Julia Forster
Tel.: +43 (1) 58801 280431
E-Mail: julia.forster@tuwien.ac.at
Web: https://simlab.tuwien.ac.at/