Smart District Data Infrastructure (SDDI)

More than 50% of the world population is living in cities today and the number is further increasing. No matter if looking at environmental noise, air quality and particulate matter, energy usage and production, or traffic flows - in order to achieve or maintain a high quality of living in cities, municipalities and companies must take into account many different concerns simultaneously. The concept "Smart District Data Infrastructure" (SDDI) provides planners with the necessary set of flexible tools. Entire cities or just city districts are represented by 3D virtual city models which are linked with dynamic data, for example, on the traffic density or energy consumption. These models are used for monitoring and evaluation of the current situation, and especially for simulations of future developments and an early impact analysis.

Project description

The SDDI has a modular structure and defines an organisational and technical framework consisting of actors, applications, sensors, an urban analytics toolkit, and a virtual district model. Actors are citizens and the city administration, but can also be other stakeholders like public transport services, utility service providers, and real estate firms. Sensors comprise local weather and climate stations, regional weather radar, smart meters for energy, gas, and water consumption, video cameras, and traffic sensors. Urban analytic tools are software components that, for example, estimate the energy demands or potentials of solar energy production for all buildings, simulate road traffic and pedestrian flows, or perform noise propagation or flooding simulations. The SDDI is based on Open Standards and links systems of different manufacturers in a non-proprietary and extensible way.

What makes the SDDI framework unique compared to others within the field of Smart Cities is the fact that all information, sensors, and applications are located within a semantic 3D city model. The latter is a virtual representation of the physical reality of the district. It consists of the most relevant objects like buildings, streets, vegetation, water bodies, and networks. The 3D model is based on the international standard CityGML and does not only serve for neat visualizations - it is an information hub and essential foundation for most simulations and analytic tools. Within this virtual district model, for example, the energy demands of buildings can be put in relation to their physical conditions and their socio-economic key performance indicators. This way, the impact of planned urban redevelopment projects on the different thematic fields like the environment, mobility, energy, and social affairs can be investigated at the same time.

Adoption throughout Europe

The SDDI has been developed to a large extent within the flagship project "Smart Sustainable Districts" (SSD) funded by the European research body Climate-KIC. The SSD project provides methods and tools to support urban redevelopment on the district scale. Major concerns are (among others) the reduction of emissions, increase of energy efficiency, usage of renewable energies, and the general improvement of the quality of living in cities. SDDI is being employed already in three ongoing large urban redevelopment projects:

  1. London, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: This project is on the transformation of the district where the Olympic games 2012 took place to a new structure with mixed residential, recreational, and commercial usage.
  2. Paris, Docks de St. Ouen: Brownfield development of a new district with residential and commercial usage on the territory of the former Paris docks next to the Seine river.
  3. Berlin, Green Moabit: The focus lies on the energetic retrofitting of a large number of buildings and concepts for a more sustainable water management.

Due to the use of Open Standards most of the analysis tools and applications which are being developed for a specific district can be also employed by the other districts.

Project sponsors

Climate-KIC of the EIT. Climate-KIC is a Knowledge and Innovation Community about Climate Change and Mitigation. It is one of three Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) created in 2010 by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The EIT is an EU body whose mission is to create sustainable growth.

The SDDI project is part of the Climate-KIC flagship project Smart Sustainable Districts (SSD).

Project partners

In the project Smart Sustainable Districts in general

  • Imperial College London, Centre for Process Systems Engineering, Prof. Nilay Shah
  • Technische Universität Berlin, CHORA City & Energy, Prof. Raoul Bunschoten
  • University of Utrecht
  • Chalmers University of Technology
  • Utrecht Sustainability Institute (USI)
  • Institute for Sustainability London
  • Aria
  • TNO

In the district London, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP)

  • Imperial College London, Centre for Process Systems Engineering, Prof. Nilay Shah, Dr. Chris Mazur
  • University College London, The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), Prof. Andrew Hudson-Smith, Oliver Dawkins
  • London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), Jim Wood, Ben Edmonds
  • Intel Labs Europe, ICRI Cities, Dr. Evangelos Theodoridis, Dr. Mo Haghighi
  • Engie

In the district Paris, Docks de St. Ouen (NUM-DOCKS)

  • Aria, Denis Morin, Corinne Krzyzamiak
  • Sequano

In the district Berlin Moabit

  • Technische Universität Berlin, CHORA City & Energy, Prof. Raoul Bunschoten, Nadine Kuhla von Bergmann, Daniel Rigamonti

Award in the contest "Germany - Land of Ideas"

As one of 100 winners from about 1000 candidates the project has been awarded "Landmarks in the Land of Ideas" 2016. The goal of the "Germany – Land of Ideas" initiative and Deutsche Bank is to make innovations visible in Germany and abroad and to strengthen the economic potential and sustainability of Germany as a location. This year, in 2016, the competition "CommUnityInnovation – a model for success" is awarding projects that show the added value and potential of joint action, whether in business partnering, scientific networks, or neighbourhood initiatives.