UrbanBEATS began as the focus of a PhD thesis undertaken by myself (Peter) back in 2010 to 2014. Upon completion, we knew we still had plenty of knowledge gaps to answer going forward. One aspect, in particular, is understanding the location choice around Blue Green Systems. It is one thing to evaluate available space in urban areas for siting key decentralised infrastructure for different stormwater management systems to deliver a range of benefits including runoff volume reduction, water quality control and stormwater harvesting. However, understanding which locations were better than others and the driving factors behind these was still a large unknown. Furthermore, having a clear and guided framework to develop this understanding was missing. Enter Dr Martijn Kuller, my first PhD student, who took on this challenging task and developed what is now known as the ‘Spatial Suitability Analysis Tool’ (SSANTO).

SSANTO helps you find the best locations for the implementation of seven types of Blue Green Systems by exploring answers to two simple fundamental questions: where does the urban context best accommodate these Blue Green Systems and where are the various benefits and co-benefits of Blue Green Systems most needed? We have added an extensive overview of the SSANTO Planning-Support System to the UrbanBEATS website, the result of Martijn’s PhD, which he completed in 2018. Martijn has since been further developing and testing SSANTO on a number of case studies and our ongoing plans are to now integrate many of the tool’s core features into the UrbanBEATS modelling framework. SSANTO uses spatial multi-criteria decision analysis to map suitability for different Blue Green Systems across urban regions. Framed around the diversity of ecosystem services, SSANTO relies on different types of data sets to understand the various spatial opportunities for Blue Green Systems and provides users a clear map of not only possible locations for different Blue Green Systems, but also their relative suitability.

Read more about SSANTO over at its page and stay tuned for more updates regarding an ongoing project funded under the EU Marie Curie Fellowship, MOVE-NBS, which will not only involve the integration of SSANTO in UrbanBEATS, but also its further development and validation.

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