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Urban form and energy nexus : a multi-scalar investigation for a sustainable urbanism



Contact Séverine Hermand

Sustainable urbanism, energy, architecture, infrastructure and urban form


Project Summary

Considering the Brussels-Capital Region (BCR) as a case study, this research aims to find out whether and how the urban form analysis can help to improve energy performance or not in the design of cities.

With the development of the sustainable urban concerns, urban thinking has evolved, including, for instance, an awareness of the interdependence between planning and mobility and planning and building beyond the traditional conception of transport and buildings alone.

The urban form analysis is conducted through a morphological process (qualitative) while the energy assessment is made through out statistical and simulations (quantitative) respectively at 2D and 3D scale. 

This research uses the concept of urban form to explain the city as a spatial phenomenon and the benefit of the scarcity of design methods linking urban form and energy performances. On the other hand, urban form is proposed as an analytical lens to reveal the contribution of the design characteristics of the city environment, which were designed and continue to be modified over time. In this regard, this research is an attempt to bridge the urban form analysis and the empirical assessment of energy and reveals the interplay between energy consumption and urban form development. In that sense, the approach adopted in this research is a methodological contribution to knowledge. Furthermore, the study could also be used as powerful tool to support prioritizing actions concerning urban regulation guidelines and practices for a more integrated sustainable urbanism.


This research is funded by:

  • An assistant contract (6 year employment contract: part-time doctoral research with part-time teaching)
Selected publications
 [1] Hermand, S., Khan, A. Z., & Bouillard, P. (2014, December). Exploring integrated design process for sustainable urbanism: The case of Tour&Taxis, Brussels. Sustainable habitat for developing societies – Choosing the way forward, PLEA International 30th PLEA (Passive & Low Energy Architecture) Conference, Ahmedaad, India, abstract for the paper – Submitted/preprint.
[2] Hermand, S., Bouillard, P., Khan, A. Z., (2013, September). Sustainable development by the in-between spaces in terms of energy performance analysis in Brussels.
Key references
[1] Salat, S. (2011). Cities and Forms - On Sustainable Urbanism, Paris: CSTB, Hermann.
[2] Moe, K. (2008). Integrated Design in Contemporary Architecture, New York: Princeton Architectural Press.
[3] Haas, T., (2012). Sustainable Urbanism and Beyond: Rethinking Cities for the Future, New York: Rizzoli.
[4] Farr, D. Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
[5] Lynch, K. (1960). The image of the City, Cambridge (Mass.): MIT Press.