A Practical Framework

Pedestrian environments expand public transportation usage(1), help regenerate and cool the natural environment, and protect the health of people of all ages and abilities.

However, pedestrian environments are often neglected to narrow grey sidewalks for mobility, paved with heat-trapping asphalts and sealed surfaces. When wide enough, they are nibbled on by parking lots and bike lanes, bus stops, all kinds of street furniture, light poles, and garbage bins(1).

Globally, many cities want to move away from spending on sidewalks and start investing in climate-adaptive pedestrian environments. From active-mobility planning for daily trips to liveability planning for everyone.

In most cases, the experts and the research are available but, the knowledge flow needs support and intuitive tools for broader participation and timely decision making.

UrbanCare is a 4-step practical framework for city makers to develop site-specific pedestrian plans. 
Through intuitive guidance along the workflow, planners are assisted to think visually on how to apply valid scientific research and integrate compelling green technologies.

Gap finder | Targets obstacles for liveability and shows where pedestrian environments are needed,
Diagnostics | Reports priority environmental issues affecting nature and human health,
Planner | Devises strategies that align sustainable urban planning efforts with urban health goals,
Designer | Accelerates actions and decision-making through evidence and stakeholder participation.

UrbanCare Goals

Environmental Goals

Health Goals

Economic Goals

Pedestrian planning for Urban Health!

UrbanCare helps communities, local governments, and designers create green healthy urban plans in 4 steps. 

Here you can follow how neighborhood cases develop and think about their use to inform district and city authorities.

Step 1_ UrbanCare Gap Finder

Neighborhood liveability is described

First, we learn about the local population, its composition, characteristics, needs, and spatial requirements. Then, neighborhood priority destinations are mapped such as, medical offices, schools, and parks which are located at a walking distance from public transportation stops (max 1 km).
In winding up, the priority destinations are connected
 to form ‘pedestrian loops’; as seen in upper slides. These are pedestrian priority routes which can be retrofitted to be car-free and highly integrated to nature.

Step 2_ UrbanCare Diagnostics

Pedestrian loops are evaluated and reported

Observations and surveys are done along the pedestrian loops to gather information and data on environmental health risks and outdoor threats to people.
The evaluation targets the environmental needs and requirements of vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, and people with disabilities to manage daily errands and their life outdoors. Reviews, specialists interviews, and field studies are realized and reported through user-friendly infographics.

Step 3_ UrbanCare Planner

Different sets of knowledge and green technologies create strategies

Tools for transdisciplinarity are offered to help a mix of experts understand the local urban health and planning challenges, identify key stakeholders, and align goals.

‘The planner’ is a web-based management service that helps to think visually and discuss the implementation of policy and integration of green technology subject areas into the project: pedestrian planning, heat mitigation, stormwater management, biodiversity planning. Stakeholders from different sectors can smoothly monitor resource allocation, deadlines, workflow progress, and targets achieved.

Step 4_ UrbanCare Designer

Play Video

Green healthy pedestrian environments put into action!

The project’s data is embedded into a 360° virtual pedestrian journey offering designers key environmental information within spatial context. 

UrbanCare Designer is a data model with immersive visualizations to enhance stakeholder participation and engagement. Through vivid pedestrian journeys, users understand the complexities of the project and gain  confidence to discuss and tackle issues. The informed opinion of all stakeholders accelerates the decision-making process.

We teach UrbanCare’s steps & tools,

Directly assist local teams apply them, 

Help manage a project from concept to creation.

UrbanCare cases under development across Europe

A healthy neighborhood in Berlin, Germany

A climate-friendly medical campus in Florence, Italy

A medical neighborhood in Nicosia, Cyprus

A health-promoting hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden

a practical framework to develop regenerative landscapes
for public health and energy management

Alvaro Valera Sosa (2021)

Project development

BHL Building Health Lab
Alvaro Valera Sosa: Conceptualization, Methodology, Investigation, Analyses

Webpage Credits

BHL Building Health Lab
Alvaro Valera Sosa: Original draft, Writing-reviewing, Editing, Design, Administration.
Netra Naik: Original draft contribution; Software, Data curation.
Julia Reißinger: Software, Data curation.

Links and sources of interest

1. https://www.completecommunitiesde.org/planning/complete-streets/walkable-communities

2. https://www.fuss-ev.de/planung-regeln-sicherheit

3. https://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/kiezbummel-in-berlin-prenzlauer-berg-das-boetzowviertel-hat-grund-zum-feiern/8700982.html

4. https://www.stadtentwicklung.berlin.de/nachhaltige-erneuerung/aktuelles/prenzlauer-berg/artikel/ausstellung-sanierungsgebiet-boetzowviertel-eroeffnet


6. https://www.morgenpost.de/bezirke/pankow/article232525871/Prenzlauer-Berg-Hufelandstrasse-wird-zur-Fahrradstrasse-Hufelandstrasse-wird-Fahrradstrasse.html

7. https://www.prokiez.de/

8. https://www.berlin.de/sen/uvk/en/traffic/transport-policy/berlin-mobility-act/

9. https://www.prokiez.de/mitmachen/

10. https://www.fuss-ev.de/

11. https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/07/01/germany-inaction-heat-plans-threatens-health

12. Li, X. L. (2019). Urban heat island impacts on building energy consumption: a review of approaches and findings. Elsevier, 1–43. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544219303895

13. https://www.bmu.de/en/topics/water-resources-waste/water-management/policy-goals-and-instruments/water-protection-policy-in-germany

14. https://www.hcu-hamburg.de/research/forschungsgruppen/reap/reap-projekte/bluegreenstreets/

15. Jekel and Sieker. (2010). Technical University of Berlin Dept. of Water Quality Control, Rainwater management for urban drainage, groundwater recharge and storage. https://www.hmw.tu-berlin.de/fileadmin/i41_hmw/12_DAAD_Rainwater-Jekel-Chile2010.pdf

16. Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment and Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Berlin. (2014). Business in Berlin Supports Biodiversity Recommendations for Action – A Guide. https://www.berlin.de/sen/uvk/_assets/natur-gruen/biologische-vielfalt/publikationen/leitfaden_biologischevielfalt_englisch.pdf

17. https://www.museumfuernaturkunde.berlin/en/science/research/society-and-nature/biodiversity-policy-lab

18. Parris. (2018). The seven lamps of planning for biodiversity in the city. Cities. Published. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2018.06.007