Future Ecosystem - FuEco

Assessment of combined stresses in public urban spaces. Modelling, analysis and visualisation of combined stresses by noise, stress due to heat, and particulate matter. 

Nowadays, the majority of the world's population lives in urban spaces. In the context of urban planning and urban development, divergent demands of residents of the living space "city" have to be taken into account. The desire for nice and liveable quarters with a high proportion of urban greenery, clean air, a low noise level as well as a pleasant ambient temperature is of particular importance.

Planning, implementation and maintanance of such areas require multifaceted consideration which has not been implemented properly in research yet due to a lack of integrative method. Particularly, the consideration of situations with combined stresses represents an important challenge: additional negative coupling effects which result from a combination of stress due to heat, stress due to noise, and particulate matter (PM) cannot be identified by the observation of single factors. This deficit is even more sensitive as the impact of the climate change especially in summer may increase stress situations due to thermic extremes and PM immission, respectively.

Against this background, the aims of the project Future Ecosystem (FuEco) are (1) the consideration of combined stress situations, going beyond existing approaches, in a measurement and model chain, in order to (2) derive comnined stress indices, and (3) to make it accessible in a virtual environment (aixCAVE). Apart from the thermic component, air quality as well as acoustical and acceptance relevant factors will be considered and integrated. It will be examined which combined stresses may arise for urban residents in differently designed urban open spaces, also in regard to future scenarios, and thus conceptual alternatives with a low overal burden can be derived. Opposite to previous approaches of model effects, in the current project, stresses will be diversified by user profiles, gender and age in order to transfer the results into later applications.

As exemplary public spaces in Germany, studies will take place in Aachen, Düsseldorf and Berlin, cities which differ in size as well as structure. The gained data will be used to calibrate and validate an atmospheric model chain as well as a noise level model. The evaluation and gathering of model results will provide exemplary information about the distribution and intensity of stresses regarding different types of cities, user profiles and topographic position. The visualisation allows the integration of data into the process of planning and consideration of alternatives for urban development.


Luisa Bremen 

Teresa Schmidt

Project supervisors:

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Christoph Schneider
Geographisches Institut / Department of Geography
RWTH Aachen University
Wüllnerstraße 5b
D-52056 Aachen

Prof. Dr. Martina Ziefle
Human-Computer Interaction Center
Lehrstuhl für Communication Science
RWTH Aachen University
Theaterplatz 14
D-52062 Aachen

Project partners:

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Janina Fels, Institut für Technische Akustik, Medizinische Akustik, RWTH Aachen
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Torsten Kuhlen, Virtual Reality Group der RWTH Aachen, RWTH Aachen
Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Peter Russell, Lehrstuhl für Computergestütztes Planen in der Architektur, RWTH Aachen