51st Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "New Challenges for European Regions and Urban Areas in a Globalised World", 30 August - 3 September 2011, Barcelona, Spain
Recently, through the GMES program of ESA the Urban Atlas dataset was released. The Urban Atlas is providing pan-European comparable land use and land cover data for Large Urban Zones with more than 100.000 inhabitants as defined by the Urban Audit. The production of the various datasets started in 2009 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2011. At presently datasets for more than 150 urban areas have been released. Most importantly the datasets can be freely downloaded and distributed. The availability of such a huge dataset produced with the same standards will have a major impact on the development of urban transportation models and the comparative analysis of the urban areas across Europe. Combined with the data sets that will be developed from the various Census of population it could become the basis for the application of various models in the next ten years. In this paper two major themes are discussed. First, how the current state of art in urban modeling (behavioral, cellular automata and statistical) can use these models, what type of additional data might be needed and how these datasets can be combined with other data for developing land use transportation models. Second, spatial metric techniques are used to define indicators for the landscape that could be used for comparing the structure and the form of the various cities. In the last ten years there has been an increasing interest in applying spatial metric techniques analysis of urban environments, to examine unique spatial components of intra-and inter-city urban structure, as well as, the dynamics of change. The landscape perspective assumes abrupt transitions between individual patches that result in distinct edges. These measures provide a link between the detailed spatial structures that result from urban change processes. The spatial metric indicators were developed for several cities and are then used for a comparative study of city typologies and urban fabric characteristics.