Future Talk provides perspectives for sustainable urban development and satellite measurements

University of Vaasa's research platform Digital Economy and a regional studies research group will jointly organise a virtual Future talk discussion event, where sustainable urban development and satellite measurements are discussed, on 3 December.

In this unique event, a panel discussion with top experts from different fields sheds light on new opportunities that satellite measurements bring to sustainable urban development and in particular, to sustainable development of energy and material flows.

The discussion panel will be participated by Sirpa Pietikäinen (European Parliament), Emma Terämä (Ministry of Finance), Maria Yeroyanni (European Commission), Paul Hoekman (Metabolism of Cities) and Mikko Strahlendorff (Finnish Meteorological Institute).

Satellite data provides information about the environment and the activities of people

– Satellite measurements are a key source of data in a digitalising world. They are an important part of the data economy of the future, and their significance is increasing in achieving the goals of sustainable development, says Director of Digital Economy research platform, Heidi Kuusniemi.

Satellite measurements have already for some time had a significant role in sustainable urban development. Remote sensing technology and the related infrastructures are, however, developing at a fast rate. For example, satellite measurements help in the optimisation of sustainable use of natural resources, monitoring of critical infrastructure, particularly with regard to energy networks, in predicting solar and wind energy production, urban development, smart waste disposal systems, and in monitoring air quality and also climate change.

– I closely follow space data research via the European Space Agency. It is magnificent how, with increasingly better and more exact data, our ability to understand cities and the state of the environment increases. It brings fantastic opportunities for the future, says Member of the European Parliament, Sirpa Pietikäinen, who will participate in the discussion panel.

Heidi Kuusniemi heads the Kvarken Space Economy EU project operating under the university's Digital Economy research platform. In the project, new areas of application for space data and satellite measurements, as well as the related new business opportunities, are studied. Through this project, sustainable urban development has emerged as an efficient utiliser of space data, and new innovations have been identified as tools for smart cities. 

– In our project, we will also design, implement and launch a KvarkenSat small satellite. It will contain imaging technology, and it will also have a contribution to make in the field of urban development by remote sensing above-ground processes.

Sustainable urban development is a key part of future regional development

– Sustainable urban development is a very significant part of research at the University of Vaasa. For us, the most interesting area is to focus on the energy and material flows of cities. They help us find out how sustainable cities are and to obtain data to support future urban developers, says Katriina Nousiainen, research assistant in the Digital Economy research platform.

Nousiainen moderates the Future talk event, and the event is a part of her Master's thesis. She studies Administrative Sciences at the University of Vaasa, majoring in Regional Studies.

According to Pietikäinen, MEP, research data concerning the construction of living environments and global urban development is valuable, because data is needed particularly in cities' decision-making and sustainable development solutions. Indeed, she says she has always been interested in cities, their structures, infrastructures and changes.

– When visiting abroad, I love to walk through cities, which is the best way to notice the special characteristics of the different areas of the cities and their dynamics. It is interesting to observe how people mould the environment, and to see the stratification and the change in city structures. Through these experiences, I have learnt to understand city politics and become more extensively familiar with it, and in particular, how significant they are for sustainable development, Pietikäinen says.

Further information

Director, Heidi Kuusniemi, Digital Economy research platform at the University of Vaasa, p. 029 449 8504, e-mail: heidi.kuusniemi@univaasa.fi

Research assistant, Katriina Nousiainen, Digital Economy research platform at the University of Vaasa, e-mail: katriina.nousiainen@univaasa.fi

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