Space for urban planning: Team project conclusions from the space studies program

Ernest Artiaga, Julie Ann Banatao, Léo Baud, Bjoern Brockman, Hervé Cadiou, Nikhitha Chadde, Fei Dong, Makiah Eustice, Jinhua Fan, Nicolas German, Miracle Israel Nazarious, Julia Kirkland*, Aleksandra Kozawska, Tanumi Kumar, Min Li, Yinan Li, Thi Hien Nguyen, Nicole Nir, Simone Paternostro, Ante RenicGuozhi Rong, Anthony Schimer, Daciana Valeria Sferle, Jonas Tobiassen, Meng Wang, Yan Wang, Jianfeng Ye, Wei Yi, Chen Zhao, Zhichao Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


During the summer of 2019, a team of thirty professionals and students with different backgrounds and nationalities worked on this project at the International Space University (ISU). The project aimed to study, identify, and analyze the feasibility of introducing space technologies and related spin-offs to support local or national authorities in defining new strategies and processes for urban planning and development. This is a multidimensional topic that involves multiple actors, from policy makers to engineers and citizens. Urban planning and development is becoming an issue worldwide as projections estimate that more than 70 percent of the world's population will live in cities by 2050, and to date there are already more than 40 megacities. This not only impacts the pollution and congestion within cities, but also affects the surrounding areas. For example, agricultural land will need to increase production to meet the rising demands of cities. This can cause the degradation of land, pristine environments, and ecosystems, and a depletion of natural resources. A broad range of solutions are explored that could help local and national leaders to prepare cities for the challenges of the future by employing space applications and technologies to address the problems caused by urbanization. Due to the high complexity of the problems identified, a few specific challenge areas are focused on that are central to the United Nations' (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the 2030 agenda. These include the utilization of land and its resources, energy consumption, effective transportation networks, and access to clean water. 19 realistic as well as visionary space technology and space application solutions are proposed and are considered against social, economic, and environmental factors in addition to the SDGs. From these solutions, 12 recommendations are set out for urban planners to achieve a more sustainable future for our global cities and society.

Original languageEnglish
Article number58357
Number of pages2
JournalProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
Early online date14 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
Event71st International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 12 Oct 202014 Oct 2020


  • Smart cities
  • Space applications
  • Space technologies
  • Sustainable development goals
  • Sustainable urban development
  • Urban planning


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