GI_Forum 2021 Special Session: Sustainable cities powered by urban data science

„Urban Data Science and sustainable cities – How to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals of the UN by data and spatial analytics?”

International landmark agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the New Urban Agenda (NUA) or even climate protection programs have focused attention on the improvement of the quality of urban life in the past few year. These agreements are addressing several natural and social challenges in cities including phenomena such as resilience to natural disasters, climate change, air pollution, access to clean water, public health or equity in the access of public spaces. By tackling these issues, the overall goal is to provide better and safer circumstances for the growing urban population worldwide. However – especially from the politicians or urban planners’ point of view, by whom the majority of the local actions should be initiated – the NUA and SDG targets represent only the starting point of the long and challenging endeavour to actually solving the mentioned problems. Spatial analysis and integrated data analytics techniques can have a huge potential in facilitating making progress towards these goals. But how can these goals be made spatially “measurable”? Which data sets and analysis methods are potentially available and adequate for this purpose?  Or is there a need to develop new ones?

The last decade has seen an increasing integration of GIS in everyday life and an almost ubiquitous production of big data across various contexts. These coupled technological and societal developments have resulted in the emergence of new fields, such as urban data science, and urban informatics. These new intellectual domains enrich the study of urban systems and the practice of urban and regional planning or policy by making use of new datasets, integrated data analytics and other novel methodological approaches. Such a revolutionary take on the investigation of cities brings along several advantages and can benefit also fields like urban planning, politics or even companies from different domains.

In this conference session, we look forward to works (both inside and outside academia, including use case demonstrations) that illustrate the opportunities of GIS-based urban analysis techniques, also using novel data sources such as social media or sensor data to address these challenges of urban liveability improvement, which includes big data analysis and machine learning approaches among others.


Contributions can be submitted as full paper or short paper until February 1, 2021 or as poster until May 1, 2021. Every contribution needs to be submitted via the conference submission website and will be subject to double-blind peer review. Authors of accepted full and short papers are invited to present and discuss their papers in the special symposium. For guidelines on submission, please visit

Accepted full and short papers will be published in the Open Access GI_Forum Journal. Publication will be online (see The publication is included in Thomson Reuters Conference Proceedings Citation Index and is also listed in SCOPUS.

Download the Call for Papers as pdf-file or visit the German website


For questions, please contact Anna Kovács-Győri, or Thomas Prinz, IDA Lab Salzburg, University of Salzburg.

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