The project urbisphere (coupling dynamic cities and climate) is a joint effort of four Principal Investigators and their research teams, funded by the European Research Council (ERC-Synergy). It aims to change how the scientific community conceptualises, classifies and predicts the climate system and urban planning in cities. urbisphere will create a deep understanding of socio-economic dynamics and human responses to climate and extreme events as well as urban transformation. The urbisphere team will explore how urbanization, human behaviour and technology changes in cities will impact climate change and how impacts of climate change will influence urban populations, their vulnerability and their adaptive capacity. It will also provide new insights into associated risks at present and in the future.


The EU-funded H2020-Space project CURE (Copernicus for Urban Resilience in Europe) aims to synergistically exploit four Copernicus Core Services (CLMS, CAMS, C3S and EMS) to develop an umbrella cross-cutting application for urban resilience at several European cities. CURE is expected to provide the urban planning community with spatially disaggregated environmental information at local scale. It will use DIAS (Data and Information Access Services) to develop a system integrating this application, capable of supporting operational applications and downstream services across Europe in the future. Furthermore, CURE will provide scenarios on how the developed system could potentially be integrated into the existing Copernicus service architecture, addressing also its economic feasibility.


The H2020 project CoCO2 (Prototype system for a Copernicus CO2 service) is led by ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) and aims to deliver the prototype systems for the new European anthropogenic CO2 emissions monitoring service, as part of Copernicus. CoCO2 activities shall sustain the development of a European capacity for monitoring anthropogenic CO2 emissions, addressing all components of the system, such as atmospheric transport models, re-analysis, data assimilation techniques, bottom-up estimation, in-situ networks and ancillary measurements needed to address the attribution of CO2 emissions. Such an anthropogenic CO2 emissions Monitoring and Verification Support capacity will deliver consistent and reliable information to support policy- and decision-making processes.


The ESA funded Living Planet Fellowship for the EO4UTEMP project (Large scale exploitation of satellite data for the assessment of urban surface temperatures) examines the exploitation of EO data for monitoring the urban surface temperature (UST). EO4TEMP develops novel UST algorithms exploiting multi-temporal, multi-sensor, multi-resolution EO data, validated with in-situ measurements in urban sites and applied to Sentinel-3 and Sentinel-2 data. Therefore, EO4UTEMP provides an advanced methodology for deriving frequent UST estimations at local scale (100 m), capable of resolving the diurnal variation of UST and contribute to the study of the urban energy balance.


BLENDED (Synergetic use of Blockchain and Deep Learning for Space Data) is a European Space Agency funded research project led by Space Applications Services. It is investigating the application of technologies that enable the secure, valuable and efficient collaboration of data and algorithms. The project will be applying the Inter-Planetary File System (IPFS), encryption and blockchain smart contract technologies to prototype a peer-to-peer, decentralised Machine Learning training platform for space data regarding the detection of changes in urban areas. Topics that will be addressed include preservation of data/methods ownership, traceability of data use and exploitation, traceability and preservation of copyright, preservation of data privacy, and the ability to manage and process efficiently large volumes of data.


The EU-funded H2020 project URBANFLUXES (URBan ANthropogenic heat FLUX from Earth observation Satellites) was a Space project on “New ideas for Earth-relevant space applications” aiming to investigate the potential of Earth Observation (EO) to retrieve anthropogenic heat fluxes. The main research question addressed, whether EO is able to provide reliable estimates of urban heat fluxes spatiotemporal distribution, at local and city scales. URBANFLUXES prepared the ground for further innovative exploitation of European space data in scientific activities, i.e. Earth system modelling and climate change studies in cities and future and emerging applications (sustainable urban planning) by exploiting the improved data quality, coverage and revisit times of the Copernicus Sentinels data.


Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) aim to help societies to address a variety of environmental, social and economic challenges in sustainable ways. They are actions, which are inspired by, supported by or copied from nature. EU-funded H2020 project ThinkNature developed a multi-stakeholder communication platform ( that supports the understanding and the promotion of NBS at local, regional, EU and international level. Through dialogue uptake facilitation and steering mechanisms as well as knowledge capacity building, the ThinkNature Platform brings together multidisciplinary and multi-sector stakeholders (researchers, policy-makers, practitioners, businesses, etc.), as well as citizens. The platform contributes to a wide interactive society that builds new knowledge corresponding to a wide geographical scope.


The EU-funded H2020 project ECOPOTENTIAL (Improving future Εcosystem benefits through Earth Observations) was a large project that focused its activities on a targeted set of internationally recognised Protected Areas, blending Earth Observations from remote sensing and field measurements, data analysis and modelling of current and future ecosystem conditions and services. ECOPOTENTIAL considered cross-scale geosphere-biosphere interactions at regional to continental scales, addressing long-term and large-scale environmental and ecological challenges.


The EU-funded FP7 project BRIDGE (sustainaBle uRban plannIng Decision support accountinG for urban mEtabolism) aimed at bridging the gap between bio-physical sciences and urban planners and to illustrate the advantages of accounting for environmental issues on a routine basis in design decisions. BRIDGE provided the means to quantitative estimate the various components of the urban metabolism (observation of physical flows and modelling), the means for quantitative estimate of their impacts (socio-economic and environmental impact assessments and indicators), as well as the means for resource optimisation in urban fabric (support the decision making in urban planning). BRIDGE focused on the interrelation between energy and material flows and urban structure.


The ERA.Net-RUS Plus project SEN4RUS (exploiting Sentinels for supporting urban planning applications at city and regional levels in Russia) aimed at taking into account the specific requirements of spatial and urban planning in Russia to develop indicators that effectively and efficiently exploit the information content provided by Copernicus Sentinels mass data streams in support of city and regional planning. SEN4RUS designed and implemented EO-based services for planners and decision makers that are specifically tailored to the Russian requirements. A key instrument in this context was the further development of a Web-based Information System, capable of evaluating the EO-derived indicators and providing them in a form that allows easy access and direct implementation into planning procedures.


The Life IGIC project will develop Green Infrastructure (GI) and support Sustainable Farming Methods in pilot olive orchards of Western Messara plain, south Crete, Greece. The project area, surrounded by Natura 2000 sites, is of great cultural, natural and agricultural value. Land-use change towards intensive farming has been applied during the last decades and led to reduction of species and loss of habitats. Overall, biodiversity has suffered and ecological conditions of the area have been deteriorated. The main objective of the project is the development of a GI network, which will play a demonstrative role at regional, national and EU level; while conserving biodiversity, enhancing agroecosystem services and providing the basis for reconnecting existing nature areas.


The ERA.Net-RUS project GEOURBAN (Earth Observation in sUstainable uRBan plAnning & maNagement) aimed to bridge the gap between EO scientists and urban planners by demonstrating the ability of current and future EO systems to depict parameters of urban structure and urban environmental quality over large areas at detailed level. GEOURBAN developed a web-based information system, which has the potential to support urban planning and management by providing a set of EO-based indicators easily transferable to any city and understood by non-experts too. Three cities with different typologies and planning perspectives were included as case studies: Tyumen, Tel-Aviv and Basel.


The EU-funded LIFE+ project FLIRE (Floods and Fire risk assessment and management) was a demonstration project aiming to the development of an integrated Web-based Decision Support System (DSS) for both flash floods and forest fires risk assessment and management. The FLIRE tool was designed using state of art technologies and methods and taking into account prevention, adaptation and interaction issues. The FLIRE tool is operational and online available. FLIRE’s area of implementation was the peri-urban environment of the Eastern Attica region and more specifically the Rafina river basin (Greece), a typical Mediterranean area that extends over approx. 130 km2 with rapid and uncontrolled urbanization. This pilot area is quite prone both to flash floods and forest fires resulting in its gradual ecological degradation, with significant consequences for the almost 5 million inhabitants of Athens.


EO4SEB (Earth Observation for Surface Energy Balance) was a bilateral collaboration between Greece and France, aimed at reviewing existing (Earth Observation) EO systems and state-of-the-art methods to identify their capabilities and limitations in supporting Surface Energy Balance (SEB) modelling. EO analysis products were used to parameterize the SEB model DARTEB and developed by Centre d'Etudes Spatiales de la BIOsphère (CESBIO). The synergy between EO data and DARTEB was used to explore the effects of the land cover/use driven energy exchanges to urban climate at local and regional scales. The combined use of EO data with physical numerical modelling has the potential to provide spatio-temporal distributions of urban environmental parameters capable of supporting advanced urban studies.


PW (Precipitable Water) was a bilateral collaboration between Greece and China, aimed at providing accurate precipitable water spatial distribution maps over Greece, capable of being used in regional and local studies. PW also aimed at providing an integrated mathematical model and method for analysis of the spatial-temporal distribution of PW and its evolution characteristics relevant to different weather and climate events. Information theory as well as fractal and neural network methods were used to study the spatial-temporal distribution of PW, detecting also potential irregularities and contributing in this way to climate research.