07 July 2014 - 09 July 2014
Dublin, Ireland

Workshop to Develop a Global Database of Urban Form and Function

IIASA is co-organizing a workshop to initiate the development of a World Urban Database and Access Portal Tools (WUDAPT). This detailed characterization of cities around the world will allow researchers to compare cities globally but also improve the way that urban areas are represented in many different models and applications from a local to a global scale.

Urbanization is a key driver of deforestation, particularly in tropical countries such as Indonesia and Brazil (DeFries et al. 2010). Urbanization also contributes to other global environmental problems such as climate change, and has led to increasing demands for food, energy and water. At the same time, cities are uniquely vulnerable to the consequences of environmental change, e.g. coastal inundation from rising sea-levels and increased air temperatures and pollution levels.

There is currently a pressing need for a global database on the composition, configuration and function of cities. This information is of extreme value for modelling the local climates of urban areas; in formulating solutions for sustainable development and mitigation of climate change; for determination of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions; for integrated assessment models that holistically address the food-energy-water nexus; and to facilitate international comparisons of cities, which is not possible using currently available data.

This workshop will bring together experts to discuss the development of a World Urban Database and Access Portal Tools (WUDAPT) that will become a future resource built by the community for access by all (Ching et al. 2009, 2014). Participation will be encouraged from developing countries and mega cities in order to build an international community and provide hands-on training in mapping and documenting cities of all sizes. Crowdsourcing will be an innovative component for mobilizing data collection.

The Agenda - The full workshop agenda can be viewed here.





Monday 7th July

Tuesday 8th July

Wednesday 9th July


Local Climate Zones

Acquiring level 0 urban data

Climate models and urban parameters

Acquiring level 1 + urban data

Next steps

Funding and research papers

The three day workshop is organised around some presentations to outline the project, parallel discussion and laboratory sessions and plenary sessions. Urban climate modelers will focus on the discussions and urban experts will take part in the laboratories. 

This first workshop is intended to be the start of a community-led data gathering initiative to build a future WUDAPT. Further workshops are planned in the summer of 2015 (in conjunction with the meeting of the International Association for Urban Climate in Toulouse) to capture as many cities as possible.

The EU COST Action TD1202 Mapping and the Citizen Sensor is supporting the participation of relevant COST Action members.

For information on participation, please contact IIASA Research Fellow Linda See.


Ching, J. et al. 2009. National Urban Database and Access Portal Tool. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 90: 1157–1168.

Ching, J., Mills, G., Fedema, J., Oleson, K., See, L., et al. 2014. Facilitating advanced urban canopy modeling for weather, climate and air quality applications. Proceedings of the American Meteorological Society Symposium on Urban Environment, 2-7 February 2014, Atlanta Georgia.

Watch below a presentation by Jason Ching:

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Last edited: 01 July 2014


Linda See

Senior Research Scholar

Ecosystems Services and Management

T +43(0) 2236 807 423

International Association for Urban Climate

What is WUDAPT?

COST Action TD1202

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313