Urban development and environmental performance: research for decision support

Date released: Jul 25 2006

Urban development and environmental performance: research for decision support - Tue, 25 Jul 2006 11:33:00 IST

UCD Urban Institute Ireland has been awarded over €1 million in funding by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a major research project to produce decision support tools for managing the urban environment.

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dick Roche T.D., speaking at the launch said,

"With the increasing urbanisation of Irish society the need for timely and accurate data to plan for the future has never been more important. This project presents the opportunity for researchers to not only develop a system that will be of great benefit to policy makers here at home, but also to break new ground internationally and demonstrate that Ireland can be a world leader on these issues."

Professor Frank Convery, from UCD’s Urban Institute and Director of the project said,

"This project will overcome the current lack of analytical capacity for linking development and environmental performance. There is endless debate about what’s happening around Dublin as regards roads and other infrastructure, land use change and environmental impacts. The Urban Environment Project will give us decision tools that allow us to mobilise information, and explore alternatives and their implications, informed by evidence."

This project will use a state-of-the-art computer model     MOLAND to track changes in land-use patterns over time. The research team will collect and analyse data on the following themes:

  • Air quality
  • Urban Transport
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate Change
  • Urban Sprawl

The data will then be integrated into the model allowing for environmental dimensions to be incorporated into traditional land-use scenario evaluation.

Mr Larry Stapleton, Director, EPA said:

"The patterns of population change indicated by the recent preliminary census returns are complex and some would give rise to environmental concerns. This underlines the need for a capacity to analyse and predict the spread of environmental impacts resulting from demographic change. This project is therefore timely and can help ensure that advanced assessment tools are available and can provide the best possible support to future planning and decision making."

The Urban Environment Project (Decision-Support Tools for Managing Urban Environment in Ireland) is an interdisciplinary research programme that brings together researchers from engineering, biology, geography, economics, transport and information technology fields. Partners in University College Dublin, National University of Ireland Maynooth and Trinity College Dublin as well as collaborators from the private and public sectors will work together to design and implement these decision support tools.


For more information please contact:

Sheila Convery, UEP Project Manager Tel: 01 716 2695 Email: sheila.convery@ucd.ie

Eilis O’Brien, UCD Director of Communications, Tel: 01 716 1491 Email eilis.obrien@ucd.ie

Notes to Editor:

Urban Institute Ireland (UII)

Urban Institute Ireland (UII) is a multi-disciplinary research centre that aims to improve the quality of the urban working and living environment. It involves more than 150 researchers in architecture, economics, civil/mechanical/structural engineering, environmental studies, geography, planning, sociology and urban design.

UII is located in a state-of-the art energy efficient building in Richview, UCD. It houses a range of tools, expertise and resources for studying urban issues. These include the Built Environment Laboratory as well as URBIS - an urban themed geographical information system.

The Institute secured more then €3 million in additional funding over the last 3 years. UII plans to develop further its 4th level capacity and will be at the forefront of developments in the urban sphere as Ireland increases her investment in R&D.

EPA research programme

Over the past ten years, the EPA research programme has supported research and development activities in a range of environmental areas. This work is carried out by researchers in universities, colleges, state research organisations, companies and by individuals. Currently, the annual EPA research budget is €7m and is administered through the Environmental Research, Technological Development and Innovation (ERTDI) Programme on behalf of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government 

The EPA research programme currently funds approximately 400 projects ranging from short desk studies to large multi-annual capability development projects involving several organisations. Over 700 researchers have been involved to varying degrees in the programme including over 100 post-graduate scholarships and fellowships to support new researchers.