Soil de-sealing for cities' adaptation to climate change

Planning of priority interventions in urban public space

Keywords: Climate change, Urban planning, Adaptive measures, De-sealing, Public space


It is well known that extreme heat waves or weather events combined with the increased soil consumption and sealing processes are significantly affecting urban systems especially the most exposed and vulnerable. These urban challenges call for specific mitigation and adaptation actions; soil de-sealing (i.e., the removal of the impermeable surfaces for the purpose of increasing green areas and restoring soil ecosystem functions) may be one of the possible solutions. However, this urban practice, to have meaningful outcomes, would need widespread and systematic application in urban areas that can be pursued only if supported by innovative programming and planning tools based on the construction of in-depth knowledge frameworks on the permeability and vulnerability of urban soils.

In this regard, the paper aims to outline a methodological approach, supported by GIS technology, to map in detail urban public soils and identify priority areas to be depaved. In particular, the method assesses the permeability of public land in relation to hydraulic and heat island hazard exposure of potentially vulnerable urban systems. The methodological approach is applied on a pilot case in the city of Parma to verify its potential and criticalities, with the final objective of creating a replicable procedure.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Marianna Ceci, Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Parma, Parma, Italy

Architect, since 2022 PhD student in Civil Engineering and Architecture at University of Parma. In her research she studies the soil de-sealing as one of climate change adaptation strategy of the urban regeneration practices, focusing in particular on the medium-size cities.

Barbara Caselli, Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Parma, Parma, Italy

Architect, Assistant Professor (non-tenure track) in Urban and regional planning at the University of Parma, PhD in Engineering and Architecture – curriculum Urban Planning – at the University of Parma (2017). Her research interests currently include urban regeneration, open space planning, urban accessibility, with respect to pedestrian mobility, and Geographic Information Systems for spatial planning and city management.

Michele Zazzi, Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Parma, Parma, Italy

Civil Engineer, Full Professor in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Parma, Ph.D in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Bologna. Programme Coordinator of the Second Cycle Degree in Architecture and City Sustainability and of the European Master in ‘Urban Regeneration’ at the University of Parma. His research mainly focuses on urban regeneration; adaptation to climate change and quality of public space in urban settlements; bike and pedestrian planning; environmental, landscape and river basin management and planning; digital archives of urban planning instruments and related documents.


Adobati, F., & Garda, E. (2018). Recuperare terra: Cinque contesti applicativi di politiche di de-sealing. Urbanistica Informazioni 278 s.i., 160–164.

Agenzia Europea dell’Ambiente. (2019). Suolo e territorio in Europa: Perché dobbiamo usare in modo sostenibile queste risorse vitali e limitate. Ufficio delle pubblicazioni dell’Unione europea.

Apreda, C. (2016). Climate change, urban vulnerability and adaptation strategies to pluvial flooding. UPLanD - Journal of Urban Planning, Landscape & Environmental Design, 1(1), Articolo 1.

Bayerisches Landesamt für Umwelt. (s.d.). Ökokonto. Recuperato 10 settembre 2022, da

Bencardino, M. (2015). Consumo di suolo e sprawl urbano. Drivers e politiche di constrasto. Bollettino della Società geografica italiana, VII, 217–237.

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung. (s.d.). Risiken beherrschen, Chancen nutzen—Die Region Dresden stellt sich dem Klimawandel. Strategiekonzept zum Integrierten Regionalen Klimaanpassungsprogramm für die Region Dresden.

Casella, V., Franzini, M., Girone, G., & Marchese, P. (2015). Quantificazione del Biotope Area Factor (BAF) con procedure automatiche di analisi della cartografia esistente. 10.

Città di Bolzano. (2021, dicembre 6). Richiedere la certificazione preventiva R.I.E. (Riduzione dell’Impatto Edilizio). Città di Bolzano.

Città di Segrate. (2017). Istruzioni operative per il calcolo del BAF.

Climate-ADAPT. (s.d.). Berlin Biotope Area Factor – Implementation of guidelines helping to control temperature and runoff. Recuperato 5 aprile 2022, da

Comune di Bologna. (s.d.). Riduzione impatto edilizio—RIE. Recuperato 3 settembre 2022, da

Comune di Parma. (s.d.). Rischio idrogeologico. Recuperato 16 marzo 2022, da

Comune di Parma. (2021). La realtà socio-demografica dei quartieri di Parma al 31.12.2020.

Copernicus Land Monitoring Service. (s.d.). Sealed surface per country and NUT3 region in 2018 [DashboardItem]. Recuperato 6 settembre 2022, da

Cortinovis, C., & Geneletti, D. (2020). A performance-based planning approach integrating supply and demand of urban ecosystem services. Landscape and Urban Planning, 201, 103842.

Cortinovis, C., Olsson, P., Boke-Olén, N., & Hedlund, K. (2022). Scaling up nature-based solutions for climate-change adaptation: Potential and benefits in three European cities. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 67, 127450.

De Lotto, R., Casella, V., Franzini, M., Gazzola, V., di Popolo, C. M., Sturla, S., & Venco, E. M. (2015). Estimating the Biotope Area Factor (BAF) by Means of Existing Digital Maps and GIS Technology. In O. Gervasi, B. Murgante, S. Misra, M. L. Gavrilova, A. M. A. C. Rocha, C. Torre, D. Taniar, & B. O. Apduhan (A c. Di), Computational Science and Its Applications—ICCSA 2015 (pp. 617–632). Springer International Publishing.

De Lotto, R., Sessi, M., & Venco, E. (2022). Semi-Automatic Method to Evaluate Ecological Value of Urban Settlements with the Biotope Area Factor Index: Sources and Logical Framework. Sustainability, 14, 1993.

De Noia, I., Favargiotti, S., & Marzadri, A. (2022). Renaturalising lands as an adaptation strategy. Towards an integrated water-based design approach. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment. 15 (2).

Depave. (s.d.). Depave | From Parking Lots to Paradise. Recuperato 6 settembre 2022, da

Dessì, V., Politecnico di Milano, : DAStU, & Emilia-Romagna (regione). (2016). Rigenerare la città con la natura: Strumenti per la progettazione degli spazi pubblici tra mitigazione e adattamento ai cambiamenti climatici. Maggioli.

Di Paolo, A., Nardino, M., & Georgiadis, T. (2020). Rigenerazione urbana: Un indice ambientale capace di aumentare l’adattamento ai cambiamenti climatici. 23, 13.

Directorate General for Environment (European Commission). (2012). Guidelines on best practice to limit, mitigate or compensate soil sealing. Publications Office.

European Commission. (2011). COM(2011) 571 final, Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe.

European Commission. (2012). Soil sealing.

European Environment Agency. (2021). Land take and land degradation in functional urban areas (Publication Fasc. 17).

Garda, E. (2020). Le azioni di depaving dei suoli urbani per una nuova multifunzionalità degli spazi sottoutilizzati. La città contemporanea: un gigante dai piedi d’argilla. Atti della conferenza internazionale | Torino, 15 novembre 2019, LA CITTÀ CONTEMPORANEA: UN GIGANTE DAI PIEDI D’ARGILLA, 225–231.

Garda, E. (2022). Reasons, Concepts, and Methods for Soil De-sealing in the Regulatory Framework of the Italian Regions. 1.

Gerundo, C. (2018). L’adattamento delle città ai cambiamenti climatici. FedOA Press (Federico II University Press).

Harris, T. M., & Elmes, G. A. (1993). The application of GIS in urban and regional planning: A review of the North American experience. Applied Geography, 13(1), 9–27.

Istat. (2022). I cambiamenti climatici: Misure statistiche | anno 2020.

Juhola, S. (2018). Planning for a green city: The Green Factor tool. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 34, 254–258.

Lakes, T., & Kim, H.-O. (2012). The urban environmental indicator “Biotope Area Ratio”—An enhanced approach to assess and manage the urban ecosystem services using high resolution remote-sensing. Ecological Indicators, 13(1), 93–103.

Laurini, R. (2001). Information Systems for Urban Planning. A Hypermedia Cooperative Approach (1 st). CRC Press.

Legambiente. (s.d.). L’utilizzo dei GIS per adattare i territori ai cambiamenti climatici. Città Clima. Recuperato 7 dicembre 2022, da

Lehmann, S. (2019). Reconnecting with nature: Developing urban spaces in the age of climate change (1:2). Emerald Open Research.

Maienza, A., Ungaro, F., Baronti, S., Colzi, I., Giagnoni, L., Gonnelli, C., Renella, G., Ugolini, F., & Calzolari, C. (2021). Biological Restoration of Urban Soils after De-Sealing Interventions. Agriculture, 11(3), Articolo 3.

Malmö stad. (2021, aprile 21). The Green City [Text].

Meyer, M. (2011). Reduction of surface sealing in urban areas.

Mohs, B., & Meiners, H.-G. (1994). Kriterien des Bodenschutzes bei der Ver- und Entsiegelung von Böden: Untersuchungsprogramm Bodenver-/-entsiegelung, Forschungsbericht 107 03 007 16. Umweltbundesamt.

Munafò, M. (2021). Consumo di suolo, dinamiche territoriali e servizi ecosistemici. (Report SNPA 22/21).

Munafò, M. (2022). Consumo di suolo, dinamiche territoriali e servizi ecosistemici. (Report SNPA Fasc. 32/22).

Musco, F., & Fregolent, L. (2014). Pianificazione urbanistica e clima urbano: Manuale per la riduzione dei fenomeni di isola di calore urbano. Il Poligrafo.

Naughton, J., & McDonald, W. (2019). Evaluating the Variability of Urban Land Surface Temperatures Using Drone Observations. Remote Sensing, 11(14), 1722.

Oliveira, E., Tobias, S., & Hersperger, A. M. (2018). Can Strategic Spatial Planning Contribute to Land Degradation Reduction in Urban Regions? State of the Art and Future Research. Sustainability, 10(4), Articolo 4.

Osservatorio del Paesaggio trentino. (2022). Rapporto di ricognizione sul tema della gestione del fenomeno del consumo di suolo.

Pellicelli, G., Rossetti, S., Caselli, B., & Zazzi, M. (2022). Urban regeneration to enhance sustainable mobility. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 57–70.

Peroni, F., Brugnaro, S., Sozzi, M., Crescini, E., Pappalardo, S., Codato, D., Gianoli, F., Lanzavecchia, A., & De Marchi, M. (2018, febbraio 27). BAF Index e mappatura del consumo di suolo a Padova: Quantificazione e simulazione di scenari alternativi. XXI Conferenza Nazionale ASITA, 21-23 novembre 2017, Salerno.

Pietrapertosa, F., Salvia, M., de Gregorio Hurtado, S., d’Alonzo, V., Church, J. M., Geneletti, D., Musco, F., & Reckien, D. (2018). Urban climate change mitigation and adaptation planning: Are Italian cities ready? Cities.

Rezvani, S. M., Falcão, M. J., Komljenovic, D., & de Almeida, N. M. (2023). A Systematic Literature Review on Urban Resilience Enabled with Asset and Disaster Risk Management Approaches and GIS-Based Decision Support Tools. Applied Sciences, 13(4), Articolo 4.

Righini, S. (2016). Consumo di suolo e strategie di adattamento climatico. Lombardia e Sassonia a confronto.

Rota, P. (2017). Una fragilità adattabile. Mappe climatiche e indirizzi urbanistici per la resilienza dei quartieri residenziali della città media emiliana. An adaptable fragility. Urban climatic maps and guidelines to the resiliency of the residential neighbourghoods of the middle Emilian city. [Tesi di dottorato, Università di Parma].

Rota, P., Gravante, A., & Zazzi, M. (2019). Urban Heat Island (UHI) risk maps as innovative tool for urban regeneration strategies. The case of Parma. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 296.

Rota, P., & Zazzi, M. (2018). The contrast to the Urban Heat Island phenomenon to increase the urban comfort as an incentive to slow mobility. A study on the city of Parma (pp. 233–240).

Science for Environment Policy. (2016). No net land take by 2050? Science for Environment Policy Future Brief 14.

Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections. (s.d.). Seattle Green Factor. Recuperato 3 settembre 2022, da

Senate Department for & the Environment, Urban Mobility, Consumer Protection and Climate Action. (2021, febbraio 25). Calculating the BAF.

Senatsverwaltung für & Umwelt, Mobilität, Verbraucher und Klimaschutz. (2022, agosto 17). Entsiegelungspotenziale in Berlin.

Simmons, A. J., Berrisford, P., Dee, D. P., Hersbach, H., Hirahara, S., & Thépaut, J.-N. (2017). A reassessment of temperature variations and trends from global reanalyses and monthly surface climatological datasets: Reassessment of Analysed Variations and Trends in Global Temperature. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 143(702), 101–119.

SOS4LIFE. (2017). Sintesi di norme, linee guida, buone pratiche, casi studio in materia di limitazione di consumo di suolo e resilienza urbana al cambiamento climatico (A.1.3; p. 113).

SOS4LIFE. (2018). Consumo di suolo, superfici impermeabilizzate, stato di attuazione aree edificabili e aree dismesse recuperabili a Forlì, Carpi e San Lazzaro di Savena (B.1.1).

Stobbelaar, D. J., van der Knaap, W., & Spijker, J. (2021). Greening the City: How to Get Rid of Garden Pavement! The ‘Steenbreek’ Program as a Dutch Example. Sustainability, 13(6), Articolo 6.

Urban GreenUP. (s.d.). Urban GreenUP. Recuperato 11 settembre 2022, da

Ventura, P., Zazzi, M., Caselli, B., Rossetti, S., & Ceci, M. (2021). Pianificazione sostenibile: Pianificazione sostenibile: Laboratorio di rigenerazione urbanistica per il recupero del suolo e l’adattamento al cambiamento climatico. AND Rivista di architetture, città e architetti, 40, Articolo 40.

World Health Organization. (2002). World health report. 2002: Reducing risks, promoting healthy life.

Yeh, A. G. (1999). Urban planning and GIS. 877–888.

Yigitcanlar, T., Kankanamge, N., Regona, M., Ruiz Maldonado, A., Rowan, B., Ryu, A., Desouza, K. C., Corchado, J. M., Mehmood, R., & Li, R. Y. M. (2020). Artificial Intelligence Technologies and Related Urban Planning and Development Concepts: How Are They Perceived and Utilized in Australia? Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity, 6(4), 187.

Zucaro, F., & Morosini, R. (2018). Sustainable land use and climate adaptation: A review of European local plans. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 11(1), 7–26.

How to Cite
CeciM., CaselliB., & ZazziM. (2023). Soil de-sealing for cities’ adaptation to climate change. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 16(1), 121-145.