Laboratory of Urban and Environmental Systems

Lichen/City (Credits: G. Manoli)

From the nature of cities to nature in cities

Despite the significance of cities in human societies and the rapid land use changes of the Earth’s surface, our ability to sustainably design urban and rural systems is still limited due to a lack of quantitative guidelines in which trade-offs involving climate, ecosystems, and health are carefully considered.

At the Laboratory of Urban and Environmental Systems (URBES) we seek to describe and predict land-atmosphere interactions and coupled human-natural dynamics across a broad spectrum of spatiotemporal scales. Our aim is to elucidate the complex interactions between urban and natural systems, quantify the local and non-local impacts of human activities, and guide the design of greener, healthier, and more sustainable territories.

Specific research areas include urban climate and hydrology, soil-plant processes in natural and urban environments, urban structure and dynamics, and sustainable urban design – with particular attention to urban green spaces, climate, and health. Given the complexity of such problems, our research crosses the boundaries between multiple disciplines, from hydrology, to ecology, epidemiology, mathematical modelling, and complex system science.


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