The project was funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) within the Central Europe Programme
Project Duration: October 2008 – March 2012
Final Brochure: Download
Starting point and overall objectives
Soil belongs to basic natural resources, playing a key role for development of human society. Particularly in urban areas soil has several functions which are very important to secure the living quality in urban environment. Growing cities, technology development and the lack of urban soil management have caused a wide range of problems. Uncontrolled soil consumption by construction of buildings and development of city infrastructure, soil and water contamination and micro- and mesoclimate deterioration are just some of the challenges to meet. The lack of functional, living soil in cities leads to damage of water circulation and reduction of biodiversity. It may cause health problems related to risk of intoxication by respiration uptake and dermal contact with soil contaminants and air particulated matter coming from the soil.
Understanding the complex role of soil in cities is one of basic conditions for successful urban planning and land management.
Up to now there is no strategy in place in Central Europe, which would consider and manage soil in the urban planning process.
Objectives of the project
Within the URBAN SMS project the partners developed and established a comprehensive soil management strategy for Central European municipalities helping urban planners to consider the value of soils and their different functions within the planning process.
Main project goals were:
- to develop tools and instruments of urban soil management
- to implement and test the above in specific pilot regions
- to produce a European transnational strategy towards sustainable urban soil management
Together with the City of Vienna the Environment Agency Austria was responsible for implementing actions in the pilot regions of Vienna and Salzburg. EAA’s focus was on scientific input, knowledge dissemination, awareness raising and data management as well as the implementation of IT tools in the pilot region of Salzburg. The application of IT tools developed in the project for the City of Salzburg and surrounding municipalities provided soil function assessment as basis for urban planning. Bringing soil issues into regional planning processes like SEA or EIA will lead to an increasing consideration of soil and enforce soil protection developing and implementing guidance for Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) for the City in Vienna. Project workshops to raise awareness in Vienna as well as Salzburg addressed local decision makers.
Outputs and outcomes
The project provided the following core outputs:
- “Soil Manager Suite” involves IT tools ready for use within urban planning providing a desktop tool for end-user PC computer application and a GIS web planning tool for evaluation of soils for planning purposes.
- "Municipal Soil Manager” is a handbook for municipal decision makers giving practical advice how to implement a permanent management structure for soil protection within urban planning.
- The “Pilot action case study book” illustrates the successful implementation and the benefits of the developed IT tools on real cases.
- A “Communication Package” is a compilation of soil consumption scenarios, evaluation of compensation measures and results from stakeholder workshops including a film about the consequences of soil consumption.
URBAN SMS contributed to achieve the general European objective of establishing a comprehensive and functional land management strategy in Europe in order to protect soil as a natural resource in urban areas in order to preserve it and keep it safe for next generations.
This was achieved by the following project outcomes:
- Providing best practice examples and IT tools as well as guidance on sustainable urban planning for decision makers
- Starting an awareness raising process among decision makers and planners to learn about urban soil importance, problems and hazards related to soil in cities, the need for proper urban soil management and the benefit resulting from it.
- Leading to the application of a comprehensive Urban Soil Management System in cities of Central European countries and consequent improvement of urban planning and more considerate use of soil.
The direct beneficiaries are the municipalities and regional governments, public sector players in the field of land use planning and environmental protection as well as real estate developers and finally the whole society as the improved urban soil management will help to conserve soil as one of the major natural resources.
The involved partners were:
- City of Milan, Executive Plans and Programs for Buildings Department – Office for Reclamation, Italy