2022, Oct 11th. The Horizon Europe USAGE project (Urban Data Space for Green Deal) kicks off with the aim to provide solutions and mechanisms for making city-level environmental and climate data available to everyone based on FAIR principles (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable data). USAGE will support the implementation of the European strategy for data and various European Green Deal priority actions at the level where climate change is mostly felt: urban areas. USAGE wants to become a decentralised infrastructure for trustworthy data collection, processing and exchange based on commonly agreed principles, facilitating the combination of heterogeneous data for policy analysis.
The consortium meets for the first time in Spain hosted by the coordinator, the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, and can count on interdisciplinary partners (universities and research centres, big and small industries, municipalities) from five European countries.
With a budget of about 4 million euros, USAGE will provide innovative governance mechanisms, consolidated arrangements, AI-based tools and data analytics to share, access and use city-level data from Earth Observation (EO), Internet of Things (IoT), authoritative and crowd sources, leveraging on standards for data and service interoperability. These solutions will be tested and validated in four medium-sized pilot cities: Ferrara (Italy); Graz (Austria); Leuven (Belgium); Zaragoza (Spain), focusing also on the reusability of the solutions in other urban areas.
AVT and its affiliated AVT-ASI will contribute to the project with a variety of activities. First, we will acquire aerial hyperspectral images on the city of Ferrara and use them in combination to AI algorithm in order to map the urban materials, classify the tree species and map the green distribution in the city. AVT will also acquire thermal flights in summer and in winter to provide inputs for the heat distribution analysis. The information will be critical to study the effect of the climate change, for example with respect to the generation of heat islands. In addition AVT will involve the Municipality of Graz in the project, which will act as stakeholders and use the results of the project for its own environmental data management and analysis.
The USAGE project fits into the EU policy agenda supporting the twin green and digital transitions. To achieve the goals outlined by the Green New Deal, it is necessary to assume a „data-driven“ approach based on detailed data and information (European Data Strategy, 2020) to co-design environmental policies in which citizens, civil society and the private sector collaborate with institutions on technological and social solutions. USAGE aims at overcoming legal and technical barriers to the sharing and exploitation of urban data needed for policies related to Local Green Deals (LGD) among public bodies, private organisations and civil society. This will be achieved by combining the necessary tools and infrastructures for addressing issues of data trust.