2010 (since) | energy conscious urban planning          [back]

My research activity started during the Ph.D. when I investigated Urban Environmental Quality (UEQ) aspects in urban design; in particular, I explored how urban form can affect sustainability and energy consumption. Therefore, I worked on the implementation of a series of tools (visiting research period at MIT) directed to urban designers and for the assessment of solar accessibility (solar envelopes), natural ventilation, thermal exchange (heating demand and discomfort in open spaces), and visual perception (visibility analysis) aiming at deriving building guidelines and generative rules in general.

During my post-doct (MIT and POLIMI) I focused on the development of planning tools for the assessment of renewable energy production and energy demand of the urban fabric by considering the real physical layout of the city, in particular through the use of 3-D urban models derived from remote sensing imagery (in collaboration with LASIG, EPFL). These tools are small pieces of a wider picture that should enable the automated extraction of an urban energy balance and scenarios.

More recently, a widened look to the city intended as an ecologic and energy system, moved the attention to the recognition of urban patterns as energy basins with different features. For instance, different urban forms show alternative opportunities and suggest different solutions in order to reach energy self-sufficiency.

All the works mentioned above were possible through a fruitful collaboration with an international network of young researchers from recognized institutions (among others MIT, EPFL, HEPIA HES-SO, UNIFI) and testified by the publications. My contribution as urban designer in this teamwork was to define and frame the role of planning and bringing its disciplinary issues within the energy and sustainability debate, and to implement a number of tools for urban planners that integrate energy aspects with other key elements of design.

I am constantly working on improving the tools I developed in the past years and I would like to finalize this work by delivering a user-friendly toolkit for supporting sustainable urban design (analysis and evaluation) together with the publication of a book. In particular, a comprehensive spatial planning support system (SPSS) which includes energy, environmental and morphological aspects of the built environment and provides the assessment of alternative energy scenarios depending on land use and available local resources is the next goal of my investigation.

credits: Eugenio Morello


Carneiro C., Gori V., Desthieux G., Balocco C., Golay F., Morello E., 2014, "Urban morphology and energy consumption: simplified tools for the estimation of energy needs and solar income at the urban and district level", in Pinto N.N., Tenedório J.A., Antunes A.P., Cladera J.R. (eds.), Technologies in Urban and Spatial Planning: Virtual Cities and Territories , IGI, Lisbon, pp. 173-195.

Morello E., 2013, "Dalla dismissione alla riqualificazione energetica degli spazi della produzione", in Lanzani A., Alģ A., Gambino D., Longo A., Moro A., Novak C., Zanfi F. (editors), Quando l'autostrada non basta. Infrastrutture, paesaggio e urbanistica nel territorio pedemontano lombardo, Quodlibet Studio, Cittą e Paesaggio, Macerata, pp. 236-247.

Morello E., Ratti C., 2012, "From evaluation to design of the urban form through the assessment of environmental indicators", in Haas T. (editor), Sustainable Urbanism and Beyond, Rizzoli International, New York, pp. 117-119.

Morello E., Pareglio S., Ronchi S., Rispoli S., 2012, "The Spatial Dimension of Energies: Urban Patterns and Energy Strategies", in Balamir M., Ersoy M., Sutcliffe E. B. (eds.), AESOP 2012 E-Book of Abstracts, 26th Annual Congress of the Association of European Schools of Planning, Ankara, Turkey.

related teaching activity:

2013 | energy and urban planning studio
Politecnico di Milano, School of Architecture and Society, MSc in Urban Planning (Fall 2013).
Main instructors Eugenio Morello, Stefano Pareglio.

How should we act to achieve more sustainable urban environments? The objective of the studio is twofold: first, to provide a basic knowledge on the topic of sustainability at the urban scale (policies and design) and second, to explore possible future scenarios through a design project