Urban ecosystems and how artificial intelligence is your great ally

Apr 2, 2024 | #Sustainable | 0 comments

Did you know that the extraction of natural resources and their processing is responsible for the loss of more than 90% of biodiversity? To mitigate these effects, we must understand the interactions between the elements that make up cities and work on their sustainable transformation.

In this context, artificial intelligence (AI) and geospatial technology emerge as key tools for the transition of cities towards a circular and regenerative economy.

What is an urban ecosystem?

First of all, we must make a theoretical approach to the concept “urban ecosystem”. We can define it as a complex system, the result of the interactions that occur between nature, infrastructure and the people who inhabit a city.

If something stands out about the space in which we live, it is its heterogeneity. Cities bring together many elements that coexist and interact dynamically: from parks and gardens, to buildings and streets, through transportation networks, energy systems and, of course, the fauna and flora of green areas.

The regeneration and sustainability of all these elements is the “cornerstone” for the transition of cities towards the circular economy. Based on this point, it is very important to understand this concept within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the ESG criteria, for this at agforest we use the so-called geoai to achieve these purposes.

Urban ecosystems: balance in constant transformation

Urban ecosystems can be divided into two large groups of elements: biological and technical. Biological products are all those products of nature, such as water, fauna (birds, insects, etc.) and, of course, vegetation. As for the technicians, as their name indicates, they are the result of human creation. Buildings, roads, signage and any other element intervened by man.

Human activity has a great impact on the urban ecosystem. Air pollution, the use of water resources, energy consumption and alteration of the local climate are some of the most significant factors. Cities not only consume natural resources, but also alter the ecosystem and generate a large amount of waste that must be managed efficiently.

We must also highlight that cities alter native vegetation, giving rise to significant changes and alterations in the fauna that resides in the urban ecosystem. In this context, it is essential to find solutions to minimize the impact of human activity on the ecosystem, promoting the transition towards a circular and regenerative economy.

Although cities have great human intervention, with technical elements prevailing, these urban ecosystems require a balance that is in transformation. For all this, we must seek strategies to improve the habitability of cities, guaranteeing the survival of the living beings in the ecosystem, including that of citizens, making cities more habitable.

Application of AI and satellite images in the study of the urban ecosystem

The complexity and dynamism of the urban ecosystem, as a consequence of the diversity of biological and technical elements that compose it, makes its study and management a necessity. In this sense, the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to satellite images can be indispensable for the regeneration of nature and the key balance for the sustainable transformation of cities. Three main applications of this technology stand out:

  • Monitoring: observation to detect substantial changes in the ecosystem. Through AI and satellite images we can extract valuable information about the quality of air, water, soil or vegetation.
  • Analysis: cities have their own dynamics. People and vehicles constantly move and interact with all elements of the urban ecosystem. Geospatial information, in coalition with AI, allows valuable conclusions to be drawn about the evolution of cities over time.
  • Planning and management: AI applied to satellite images facilitates informed decision-making for the management of urban ecosystems. The creation of carbon sinks or the identification of heat islands are just some of the applications of this technology to improve the management of the habitability of cities.

In 2020, the weight of industrial objects exceeded that of nature for the first time. Urban ecosystems play a crucial role in the transition towards the circular and regenerative economy. Without a doubt, AI and geospatial technology are great allies to mitigate the effect of human activity on the environment. It is time to harness the potential of technology to build a better and more sustainable future for our cities.

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