Source: Franco Iozzoli, ISPRA

1,014,619 inhabitants
surface area: 3,702 km2

A County seat of Emilia Romagna Region.

Climate: cold and damp winters & hot and muggy summers


Which pressures?

    Urban Growth 



Environmental pressures targeted by SMURBS


Urban Growth: Urban sprawl along with urban fragmentation are the main environmental problems impacting Bologna and the surrounding area. It reveals the disorganized growth of settlements, which influences the development of industry and transport infrastructure. This goes hand in hand with a considerable loss of green urban spaces and, in particular, the loss of high quality green urban areas that provide important ecosystem services. Plans to safeguard and enhance the countryside around the urban area can be ensured by sustainable territorial management and collaboration between the municipality and the residents. Therefore, synthetic and easily understandable analysis tools are necessary to assess the spatial phenomena of uncontrolled and discontinuous city expansion and provide timely information for the public.


The implementation of smart urban solutions


Urban Growth: For the city of Bologna, advanced land consumption monitoring has been performed to record the pattern of urban growth and thus, to assess potential sustainability patterns of the city. This is realized through a photo-interpretation oforthophotos, ancillary data, Very High Resolution (VHR) images and free online services and the changes were mapped in a Geographic Information System (GIS) producing a VHR Layer of land consumption changes with 5m spatial resolution. The resulting detailed maps support urban planners, architects and decision makers to realize urban development strategies re-shaping and re-thinking the use of spaces. Τhese maps are easily understandable for the citizens and can be a valuable instrument for participated urban regeneration projects. This is of particular importance, since Bologna is the first city in adopting new regulations allowing residents to partner with the city to revitalize and take care of public spaces and services. Further, applications of this solution supports the 2 indicators of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11.3.1“Ratio of land consumption rate to population growth rate” and “per capita land consumption”.

The following urban growth related city-scale indicators were elaborated for Bologna: LCPI (Largest Class Patch Index), RMPS (Residual Mean Patch Size), ED (Edge Density), ID (Dispersion index), percentage of land consumption, surfaces of land consumption (hectares), annual percentage increase in land consumption, loss of agricultural, natural and semi-natural areas. This solution supports urban planners and architects to understand transformations and changes of the urban space and can help monitoring and assessing urban growth processes and the spatial form and characteristics such as size, distribution and composition of green areas in the urban landscape to evaluate ecosystem services provision.

The land cover classification for the urban area of Bologna was based on satellite images (Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2) at 10m resolution. This is a valuable input for Earth Observation Data Ecosystem Monitoring (EODESM) system. This solution provides a framework for land use planning and urban design. Mapping procedures involve stakeholders, who are participating in the individuation of relevant ancillary data by providing research and cartographic material available on local level. This represents a fundamental integration between national and local level information.



Partners involved in the design and implementation of the solutions

Stakeholders involved: 


Ministry of Environment


Municipality of Bologna

University of Bologna