Innovative and knowledge-based neighborhood development for energy- and resource-efficient living ("Innowater")

Background and motivation

As urbanization continues, the demands and requirements on future living space are growing continuously. Climate change is driving the need for efficient solutions to reduce anthropogenic environmental impacts and make cities permanently livable. Several studies show that urban greening plays a major role in reducing the “urban heat island effect”, while significantly increasing the thermal comfort. Maintaining urban green spaces requires sustainable irrigation solutions based on intelligent storage and control concepts that enable efficient use of rainwater and graywater.

Objectives and expected results

This project aims to develop and to validate a concept for innovative, knowledge-based water and soil management as a cornerstone for sustainable neighborhood development. Rainwater and purified graywater from residential quarters will be deployed as water sources for urban green spaces. First, the technical and organizational challenges for implementing sustainable water and soil management for residential neighborhoods will be identified. Thereupon, a system for water storage and control of rainwater and purified graywater, based on artificial intelligence and Internet-of-Things technologies, will be developed and validated (Figure 1). Furthermore, local residents as well as experience from practice and research will advantageously support this project, realized through an interdisciplinary project consortium incorporating experts from housing, horticulture, water management, irrigation technology, engineering informatics, and healthcare. Besides providing an innovative, knowledge-based water and soil management concept for urban green spaces, it is expected to transfer the research results obtained in this project to similar projects in the field of sustainable neighborhood development.

Project partners

  • Bauhaus University Weimar, Germany (Coordinator)
  • Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences, Hamm, Germany
  • JENA-GEOS GmbH, Jena, Germany
  • HVG GmbH, Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Associated partners

  • Vivawest GmbH, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
  • Emschergenossenschaft/Lippeverband, Essen, Germany


Professor Dr. Kay Smarsly
Hamburg University of Technology
Institute of Digital and Autonomous Construction
Blohmstraße 15
21079 Hamburg
Email: kay.smarsly(at)tuhh(dot)de