Virtual testbed for strategic city and energy planning through integrated digital models

Cities around the world need to reduce climate emissions while meeting the growing need for urbanization. More renewable energy and energy efficiency are required, not least in urban environments that account for a large part of the world's energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Transforming the existing built environment and integrating it in an energy-efficient way with new areas is a major challenge. It is also a challenge that the planning of cities and their energy and infrastructure systems involves a number of actors – state-owned, municipal and private – and that this process is only partially integrated and digitalized, with different digital tools used by the various actors. 

The idea of ​​the project is therefore to develop a virtual test bed in the form of an energy system model for cities where existing and new buildings, decentralized and centralized energy supply, an electrified transport system and heating and electricity distribution infrastructures are simulated and analyzed as one integrated system. The tool will integrate digital model types and data from a number of different parts of the public sector. The tool must be an easy-to-use, directly applicable and at the same time strongly research-based digital tool that is useful for various actors in the planning process, but above all for actors who participate in an early strategic planning stage. 

The project will also investigate the application of the tool in close collaboration between Uppsala municipality and the research group at Uppsala University, both on Uppsala’s existing buildings in different scenarios as well as on urban development projects for new buildings in Södra Gunsta and the planned South-East city districts. 

Three map images of the same residential area but with different color markings on the houses.
Visualization of different kinds of energy-related parameters in a first prototype of the model developed in the project.


Formas, Smart Built Environment

Time period


Organizational project members

Uppsala University, Uppsala municipality

Project Leader

Joakim Widén

Project Members

Joakim Widén (UU)
Fatemeh Johari (UU)
Joakim Munkhammar (UU)
Magnus Åberg (UU)
Anders Hollinder (Uppsala kommun)
Åsa Dahlin (Uppsala kommun)

Last modified: 2022-02-18