ISSUE #5, October 2020
Dear readers,

While SMURBS was entering its 30th month in a busy and fully productive momentum, the unanticipated Covid-19 pandemic shook the whole world. 
Νonetheless, the consequent “Work From Home” new normality proved somewhat beneficial to SMURBS people, who seized the opportunity to frequently meet and collaborate digitally, defying borders and lockdowns.
Αs a result, new successful ideas were born, leading to the effective conclusion of many SMURBS’ subjects and solutions. 
SMURBS Newsletter #5 embodies all these subjects that were undertaken during this precarious period, and we do hope that you will find them interesting. 

Warm wishes for health and we hopefully see soon the exit from this awkward situation for humanity!
On behalf of the Core Coordination Team of SMURBS


Highlighted smart urban solutions
Progress Dashboard
Highlighted Smart Urban Solutions
UNDYNE: UrbaN DYNamic Exposure to the air
After a systematic, collaborative effort of HZG and NOA, SMURBS portfolio is now enriched with population exposure estimations based on the spatio-temporal distribution of the micro-environments in the cities of Athens and Hamburg. The tool aims at supporting decision making regarding air quality, exposure and health impacts in a more holistic approach. It incorporates several smart features, such as the usage of high resolution satellite products, and citizen science data, while the developed code is opensource (UNDYNE model). Targeted results for both cities of the network of SMURBS have been presented at the recent, international conferences (IAQ2020 and EGU2020).
Smart Solutions for Solar Energy planning and

management from space
APCG-NOA researchers conducted two new collaborative studies on Smart Renewable Cities. 
Firstly, in collaboration with the World Radiation Center in Switzerland, they introduced a holistic solar power estimation mechanism to support inter alia the urban renewable energy resource planning in Europe. 
Simultaneously, in collaboration with Indian technological institutes and a renewable energy constructor, they published a paper dealing with the roof-top photovoltaic energy production management from space. The proposed methodology is operationally ready and is able to support the penetration of renewables in smart cities by providing solar potential simulations at urban environments and realistic energy production estimations in real-time.
Biometeo indicators for urban areas in Greece,

soon available online
Prof. Panagiotis Nastos and his team, as a partner of SMURBS and through the Biomedical Research Foundation at the Academy of Athens (BRFAA) and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), are in the process of implementing an online platform displaying biometeorological indicators for several cities in Greece. The online platform will visualize these indicators and provide information on the human thermal index (Physiologically Equivalent Temperature, or PET) and Climate Tourism Information Scheme (CTIS), along with depicting detailed climate information throughout the year for use by tourists in planning their travel.
SMURBS and Sentinel-5p gauge impact of COVID-19

lockdowns on urban air quality
In response to the pandemic, SMURBS partners have been contributing with Earth Observation-based services to deliver information and actionable knowledge with aspects including causes of the spread, its impact on the environment (including lockdown measures), and forecasts on some the pandemic's drivers. To this end, NOA has been consistently contributing to the COVID-19 BEYOND platform, which gathers and provides different metrics of the pandemic’s progress,  with satellite and in situ based air quality (AQ) information. In particular, time series of the daily spatial mean NO2 concentration fields (, calculated for nine Greek cities, based on Sentinel-5p retrievals of the TROPOMI instrument, , were retrieved, as well as in situ measurements of a number of pollutants near the surface (
A similar service in Romania was offered by ROSA, with emphasis placed on the difference between COVID and pre-COVID periods.

SMURBS' active role in the GEO Call for Interest ''EO for Climate Change Impacts on World Heritage Cities'', September 2020

In June 2020, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) announced an initial, open invitation to gauge the interest and support of the GEO community to propose a Community Activity, incorporating urban cultural heritage aspects into the 2020-2022 Work Programme, in cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). As a follow up to the Greek statement delivered during the "Action on Climate Change" Session at GEO Week GEO-XVI Plenary in Canberra in November 2019, this Community Activity will draw on the GEO community's rich expertise to realize the untapped potential of Earth observations (EO) to monitor and enable specific mitigation and adaptation strategies to shield urban cultural heritage from climate change risks.
The Community Activity will provide a forum for relevant partners to share practices, needs, and expertise; match user needs to EO assets to enrich and coordinate processes for the preservation, monitoring, and management of urban cultural heritage; and enable a practice modernization through co-producing targeted tools and services focusing on climate change impacts to World Heritage Cities. In this framework, SMURBS will contribute significantly with the know-how and experience gained, as well as with its networking, with respect to addressing environmental and societal resilience to climate change threats at urban scales. 
The invitation was of great success since almost 80 partners have already joined, originating from 24 countries and 10 international organizations!
SMURBS active engagement  in the 6th

RECETOX Online summerschool, on Toxic Compounds,

June 2020
SMURBS ingrained its latest advancements towards smart and resilient cities in the 16th RECETOX summer school on Toxic Compounds in the Environment.
Adjusting to the pandemic, this traditional and prestigious summer school was held online during 15 – 19 June 2020. SMURBS co-organizers introduced the specialized topics, on smart cities, urban air quality, smart sensors, and urban exposome, with 13 invited speakers: Jennifer Bailey, Eleni Athanasopoulou, Iasonas Stavroulas, Despina Paraskevopoulou, Sofia Pomakidou, Jenny Linden, Martin Ramacher, Panagiotis Nastos, Kostas Eleftheriadis, Evangelia Diapouli, Haris Kontoes, Nefta Votsi, and Evangelos Gerasopoulos. Warm thanks to the hosts (MUNI Recetox) for the whole organization, and especially to Jana Klanova and Pavel Cupr for their initiative to incorporate SMURBS expertise into this great event.
SMURBS contributions to the GEO Work Programme

Activities, June  2020
SMURBS members contribute concretely to the formation of the urban agenda of GEO. Within the Urban Resilience Subgroup (UR-SG) of GEO’s Programme Board,  Dr. Evangelos Gerasopoulos serves as one of the two co-chairs and Ms. Jennifer Bailey supports the administration of the subgroup. The subgroup interacts with and provides coordination for GEO urban teams to support the ongoing implementation of the GEO WP in line with GEO engagement priorities, as well as responding to the UN-Habitat invitation to collaborate. Moreover, Dr. Evangelos Gerasopoulos is a member of the Steering Committee of the “Earth Observation Toolkit for Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11 Toolkit)” resulting from the significant works of the EO4SDG GEO Initiative ( On both occasions, SMURBS’ experience plays a catalytic role in the efficient contribution of its members in enforcing and promoting the urban component within the GEO activities. 

SMURBS participates in the open call for EoI by GEO and UN-Habitat  to support sustainable urban development, June 2020

Three SMURBS partners (NOA, CNR, SRI) have expressed their interest in the "Earth Observation Toolkit for Sustainable Cities and Communities" programme, implemented under the auspices of The Group of Earth Observations (GEO) and the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) and in partnership with many other collaborators (i.e. NASA, etc.).
The programme aims to support UN Member States in sustainable urban development by creating a customizable and continually updated toolkit that will integrate Earth observation and geospatial data with national statistics, socioeconomic information and other data. Needs and data are to be defined, and practical guidance will be provided in order to support urban monitoring, reporting and development at the city, national, regional, and global levels.
The programme will complement the efforts of countries to monitor, report and drive progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG 11), which aims at "making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable", as well as on the New Urban Agenda (NUA), which promotes urban development through sustained utilization of Earth observation (EO) data and applications. The project will provide a global network where experts can share methods, good practices, and experiences in geospatial information and EO-integrated SDG efforts to build local and national capacity in these areas. 
SMURBS projectERA-PLANET  put forth three of its solutions as candidates for the toolkit. In particular, NOA presented its online platform, which utilizes EO to calculate SDG Indicator 11.6.2 (population-weighted annual average fine particulate matter) for more than 800 European cities, as well as within key migration areas in Europe (i.e. the Mediterranean). CNR focuses on the migrant population regularly residing in Bari, and proposes a workflow to map the regular migrant population living in inadequate housing (SDG 11.1.1) and the ratio of land consumption rate to regular migrant population growth rate (SDG 11.3.1). Last, SRI can support of SDG indicators 11.3.1 and 11.6.2 for selected cities of Ukraine, through the use of a Copernicus-compliant Urban Atlas utilizing open source satellite data.  Ultimately, these three initiatives were selected and will be incorporated as Innovative EO Solutions within the toolkit.

SMURBS Remote sensing smart cities technologies @ SRI students' training, June 2020

On June 23rd, Space Research Institute (SRI), SMURBS Partner from Ukraine, successfully organized a digital training session for students within the Copernicus Academy activities, with the theme being SMURBS project’s remote sensing technologies for smart city monitoring. During this training, students had the opportunity to gain skills in geospatial data usage and analysis as well as experience in working with QIS systems. In addition, the latest project results were presented to them by the SRI SMURBS team members.
Effects of the 7-week COVID-19 lockdown

(March-May 2020) on air quality in Athens
Τhe Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry Group ( of the Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development (IERSD) of the National Observatory of Athens (NOA) continuously tracks air quality in Athens during the last decade, at its state-of-the-art Air Monitoring Station in Thissio. During SMURBS implementation a significant enhancement of capacities and automation of the station has been realized.
In this context, the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown measures that were enforced from March 23 – May 10, on pollution levels in Athens, were assessed, with the synergy of in situ measurements, satellite information, and city-scale modeling.
The results have revealed a decrease of 30-40% in the mean concentrations of traffic-related pollutants (including NO2 and Black Carbon), in comparison to the pre-lockdown period (1-22 March) and at least 40% compared to the corresponding period in 2019. The in-situ measurements of NO2 were well reproduced by city-scale modeling simulations, assuming a 45% decrease of emissions from the road transport sectors. The model implementation also allowed the assessment of lockdown reductions at the whole basin of Athens.
The results were communicated to the Greek State as part of the information requested from competent research entities and also to ACTRIS/ESFRI as part of the report on the encountered AQ changes during the lockdown in several European cities. A publication has been submitted and is currently under review.

@ Press

SMURBS research on the light pollution and LED lighting  @ECOBUSINESS 

ECOBUSINESS” journal for professional ecologists hosts in its 9th vol. 2020, SRI's experts article “Night Lights project: what will the study of light pollution and LED lighting provide for Ukraine?”, presenting the results of the first research on the light pollution and LED lighting based on the satellite data and data provided by local city councils in Ukraine, within SMURBS project. 

SMURBS portfolio @ Kathimerini daily Greek Press, February 2020

SMURBS feature to the Greek daily Press "Kathimerini", was published in February 2020, highlighting the importance of real-time information, Internet of Things and citizen involvement, when targeting to combat urban environmental stressors. Τhe article brings into focus some highlights of the 32 solutions currently incorporated in the smart urban portfolio of SMURBS, 16 of which focus on air quality, 8 on urban growth, and 8 on disaster resilience.
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