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Yin Huifen23

CUHK’s Innovative Big-Data Method for Smart and Healthy City Planning Wins International Award

An innovative big-data method developed by researchers at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) to enhance data acquisition and analysis for smart, healthy and climate resilient city planning has gained international recognition.

The team led by Dr. XU Yong, Prof. REN Chao, and Prof. LEUNG Yee of the Institute of Future Cities at CUHK, together with Dr. MA Fan and Prof. MENG Deyu of Xi’an Jiaotong University, stood out from over 800 worldwide submissions, and is one of the top 4 awarded teams in the International GRSS Data Fusion Contest (Contest) organized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). The team will present its work and receive a trophy at the International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium to be held in July in the United States. 

The newly developed data fusion and image processing method speeds up data collection in the urban morphological mapping process, and reduces the manpower needed in climate-sensitive urban planning.  The innovative and accurate method enables the quick assembly of city data needed by policy makers, city planners and urban climatic scientists to build smarter, healthier and greener cities. 

The method is part of the World Urban Database and Access Portal Tools (WUDAPT) initiative, an international effort seeking to improve the acquisition, storage and dissemination of large scale urban morphological data ( Led by Professor Ren, CUHK is the Asian representative of the initiative, overseeing the mapping of cities on the continent.

‘In face of world urbanization and high-density city living, climate change, global warming, urban heat island and air pollution are some of the biggest challenges to city dwellers’ health and living quality. New technologies and open big data are essential in urban planning and development, considering the ageing trend. They will help build a healthier and more resilient future city by tackling issues of land use, green space and environmental resources,’ said Professor Ren.

The WUDAPT team of CUHK has been conducting a variety of research projects since 2015, and has received three research subsidies and two international awards so far. Its Three-Dimensional Technology for City Morphology Analysis has already been patented.

The team is currently providing data support and urban climatic analysis for the local Hong Kong 2030+ and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Dawan development. The team will also participate in the Digital Belt and Road (DBAR) initiative recently announced by President Xi Jinping. It aims to digitalize the urban forms of 20 countries and 80 cities along the initiative in an efficient and comprehensive manner. Internationally, the team’s data are being used by European Union’s Group on Earth Observation (GEO) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It is exploring with Google to build an international urban database, and has accepted the invitation to participate in the Healthy Cities Analysis Project for Latin American Countries, supported by the World Bank and United Nations.

About the IEES Data Fusion Contest

The Contest was co-organized by IEEE and Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS). The 2017 Contest was themed to obtain land use classification in different urban environments—also known as urban climate map. Teams were required to present original classification methods, and the international jury panel for the Contest evaluated the submissions by their achieved accuracy and practical applicability. Four best performing teams were awarded.

For further information about the Contest, please refer to:



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