ESA Tender Callout: Urban Green

 ESA Tender Callout: Urban Green

With the Urban Green tender ESA is looking for innovative space-based applications that can help cities plan, integrate and manage trees and urban green areas.

  • Opening date: 1 October 2021
  • Closing date: 12 November 2021


The quality of urban life and the functioning of the city depends on the quality with which the cities are shaped, restructured and transformed toward a sustainable city. One attractive and efficient way to guide this transformation is by developing urban green places which will mitigate the effects of climate change helping cities to become more resilient to be able to tackle these challenges. Green infrastructure such as urban parks are critical components of urban sustainability and resilience. Urban Green encompasses places with ‘natural surfaces’ or ‘natural settings’, but may also include specific types of urban greenery, such as street trees, and may also include ‘blue space’ which represents water elements ranging from ponds to coastal zones. Typical green spaces in urban areas are public parks, woodlands, children’s play areas, non‐amenity areas (such as roadside verges) and riverside footpaths.

With this new opportunity, in collaboration with several European cities, ESA aims to support the development of innovative space-based applications which can contribute to whether and to what extent urban trees and other green spaces can be effectively integrated into smart city planning and urban green management, be monitored regarding their health status and air quality in the surroundings and preserved as natural capital to maximise benefits for all living beings.

Key focus areas

  • Design and planning of urban green spaces
  • Management of urban green spaces
  • Urban green impact indicators

As a specific use case, some cities in the Ruhr Area District in Germany, could make available during the study the whole set of data or only the ones that are relevant depending on the services which is going to be analysed. 

The city of Essen (Germany) can be an example case in this tender

The value of space

Space technologies and data can play a key role in the development of Urban Green services.

Satellite Navigation (SatNav):

Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), also referred to as Satellite Navigation, will be able to provide geo-tagging services for data collected by smartphones and Internet of Things (IoT). IoT sensors can be deployed, for instance, to measure the number of pollutants in the air. SatNav will locate where the emission measurements are taken and pinpoint the position of the source where most of the emissions are generated. Moreover, SatNav will support the collection of crowd-sourced data that require geo-referencing. 

Satellite Communication (SatCom): 

Satellite Communication are required for transmitting the data collected by the in-situ sensors that are complemented with satellite Earth Observation (SatEO) images and weather data. Moreover, it can safely and securely provide connectivity in the absence of terrestrial communications or in case of terrestrial network failures.

Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO):

SatEO data provide diverse geospatial, environmental, mapping information. In combination with other data, they can support the planning, monitoring, identification and maintenance of the urban green, taking into consideration the impact on the environment and the population’s health.

The Urban Thematic Exploitation Platform, known as U-TEP is relevant, developed under the ESA Earth Observation Envelope Programme (EOEP). The U-TEP offers multiple functionalities for data generation, for data exchange, for data processing, for data analytics and for data visualisation, all this with scalable computing and storage resources. The U-TEP is currently being integrated with the Euro Data Cube as the underlying data cube technology to build “City Data Cubes”. The U-TEP City Data Cube services offer access to a large variety of urban data layers (existing datasets or uploaded by city authorities and partners) such as SatEO data, commercial data, drone imagery, urban climate data, citizen science data, sensor data, socio-economic data, mobility data – all combined with advanced Machine Learning techniques to extract valuable information for urban development policies.

Additionally, there are some terrestrial technologies which are relevant for the proposed applications and will be enriched if complemented with space-based data. For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning technologies are an effective tool to extract patterns and to analyse large amounts of data. 5G terrestrial communication networks for instance connect to the local sensors and weather stations to the data analysis server.

What ESA is offering

ESA Space Solutions provides funding to successful teams looking to investigate the technical feasibility and economic viability of space-based applications in support of the development and operations of Urban Green services and define a roadmap for services implementation and demonstration.

The activities will be 100% funded up to €200K per activity.

Who can apply?

We’re looking for teams that have identified potentially attractive market opportunities for users and customers in the Urban Green sector. Motivation, business experience and domain expertise are all important features. We want to hear about your ideas for developing related commercially viable, technically feasible business ideas that involve either space technology or space data.

More information

All info on eligibility and the process on how to write your proposal can be found on the dedicated ESA tender page for this tender.

Remco Timmermans

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