Like any living system, urban communities consume material and energy inputs, process them into usable forms, and eliminate the wastes from the internal processes. These processes comprise the "metabolism" of industry, commerce, municipal operations and households. Understanding the pattern of these energy and material flows through a community's economy provides a systemic reading of the present situation for goal and objective setting and development of indicators for sustainability.

At present, planning policies often reflect the logic of the market. They would better reflect a vision of urban development, in which environmental and social considerations are fully embedded in spatial planning policies at all steps of the policy cycle from problem identification and policy design through to the implementation and ex-post evaluation stages. Therefore, the widespread inclusion of sustainability objectives in urban planning at all scales (from regional to site level) is necessary, providing the opportunity for the incorporation of bio-physical sciences knowledge into the planning process on a routine basis.

To this end, the BRIDGE project aims at bridging the gap between bio-physical sciences and urban planners and at introducing innovative planning strategies for urban planning and design in Europe.

The main objectives of the proposed project BRIDGE are:

·   BRIDGE the gap between bio-physical sciences and urban planners.

·   Provide the means to:

-quantitatively estimate energy, water, carbon and pollutants fluxes at local scale.

-quantitatively estimate the environmental impacts of the above components.

-translate the above environmental impacts to socio-economic benefits.

·   Support the development of sustainable planning strategies.

·   Provide the means to optimise resources in urban planning.

·   Involve local and regional stakeholders in the project from the beginning.

·   Support the implementation of EU policy on urban environment.

·   Illustrate the economic advantages of accounting for environmental issues on a routine basis in urban planning decisions.