Multiscale modelling of Urban Systems (Avenues GSU) - EA 7284

The academic research team Avenues was certified in January 2012 (Team host code EA 7284). Avenue’s research scientists and lecturers are deeply involved in the training offered to UTC undergraduate engineers in the UTC elective specialty GSU (Urban system engineering) and ensure complementarity between training and research related to urban modelling systems.


The general emphasis of the research carried out by the Avenues team relates to multi-scale and multi- physics modelling of built up spaces, adopting varying systemic and pluridisciplinary computer aided decision approaches to propose planning decisions and projects to achieve sustainable cities.

This scientific model-based stance at the various scales met in urban areas, calls for skills in engineering sciences (civil and urban engineering, energy, equipment and infrastructures, networks) and also skills in land and space planning, architecture and urban sciences, to take into account environmental constraints, sustainable construction and possible impacts of climate change. The studies also aim at analysing and reducing the level of vulnerability of goods and personsin urban areas.

Research teams and Thematics

Two complementary themes have been chosen:

Environmental vulnerability and urban planning

This particular theme focuses on interactions between urbanized, built-up areasand natural surroundings and environment. The aim is to provide local planners and authorities with the tools they need to assist planning and decision-making ina regulatory context (environment protection, local planning regulated framework (PLU)... Special studies relate to methodologies and management tools for crises occurrences caused by natural or technological mishaps that impact negative lyon urban areas.

Energy optimization and design for built up areas

Wherever we have dense, sustainable cities, this second theme focuses on development of methodologies and tools to be used in parallel with urban and architectural project planning in terms of energy consumption/savings and various environmental aspects, from the initial drawing-board ideas to assessment of final performance levels and ambiences. Special skills here lie in quantifying solar energy availability and uses in urban areas, modelling of acoustic surrounding sand luminosity, optimization of electric power from renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic panel arrays and wind turbines for isolated situations, technical management for property, etc.


The research scientists and PhD students are contributing to development of the OSIRIS software package (for management of crises and natural and technological risks). Several startups were created following the award of prizes in international competitions among engineering schools, such as for example tbmaestro, where UTC graduates model physical assets - buildings and urban infrastructures - proposing optimal management for public or private authorities, for local and/or State authorities.


2 experimental platforms have also been developed and used in relation to renewable power sources in urban areas:

  • PLER: local stand alone, safe multi-source production of electricity
  • GISOL: quantification of available solar power and its uses


The relationships set up with UTC's research scientists and external partners allow for implementation of various programmes (at regional, national and European levels) and lead to research contracts with both institutional partners and also industrialists in territorial land planning and construction sectors (EDF electricutility; RATP-Paris metro, etc.; the Toulouse conurbation authority).

Collaboration with the CEREMA has also led to a joint research unit called PHEBUS (acronym for urban physics, cartography and energy management for coastal port and river transport cities).

International collaboration also exist with ETS (Montreal, ETS Department of Construction Engineering), EPF Lausanne, UPC Barcelona, University of Concepcion (Chile), Universitas Indonesia (Jakarta), the Federal University in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), the University of Shanghai (China), in the framework of work at the ComplexCity laboratory that associates several research laboratories at the three French Universities of Technology (UTC (Compiègne), UTBM (Belfort-Montbeliard) and UTT (Troyes)).

The scientific research group "Urban modelling", created at the initiative of the MEDDTL (French Ministry in charge of Ecology, Sustainable Development ...) has been assigned the objective of conjugating, at a national level, the needs of the research world, engineering circles, site management and contractors in the area of urban modelling, ranging from governance and design work on urban projectup to and including implementation and operation.

The Picardie Region project

The GEO-ECOHOME (acronym for Household Energy Management, Optimisation and Conversion) aims at developing (and experimenting) certain innovative technologies for the purpose of improving energy efficiency for clean energy systems. In the building trade, via this particular project our laboratory proposes a multi-source system specifically designed for housing. This research could be extended to apply to higher levels of power consumption.

PIA ADEME Project "Efficient Building and Built-up areas"

Noctiled is a programme designed to improve the optical (adapting to night and dusk vision) and energy conditions, using LED (light emitting diode) technologies.

The Sorbonne Universities cluster projects

Modef Senlis is an acronym for the architectural analysis and structural modelling of the spire of Senlis' gothic cathedral Notre Dame, in collaboration with the UTC Roberval laboratory and the André Chastel Centre at the University of Paris (Sorbonne, Paris 4).

The Partless project addresses questions of negative impact of fine particle pollution on health, for populations (and equipment) in dense urban areas, and also explores possible tools that would lead to a lower emission of these fine particlesor their effects in the various chain links of particle production and propagation. These urban-scaled studies and associate research will be based on the case study of the Ile-de-France conurbation (Paris and surrounding towns), and will be used to make comparisons with the Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan area in Brazil, in conjunction with counterpart Brazilian research scientists.

PLER: Towards the Smart City - Urban and Building-Integrated Smart Micro-Grids

Decentralized generation grows significantly and grid-connected system is proposed in most applications. However, the intermittent and unpredictable nature of renewable energy sources, such as wind turbine and photovoltaic, remains an issue for their integration into the public grid resulting in: fluctuations of voltage and/or frequency, harmonic pollution, difficult load management...

Urban areas have great potential for intensive development of these renewable energy sources.To increase their integration level and obtain a robust power grid, the smart grid could solve problems of peak consumption, optimal energy and demand response. The smart grid is being designed primarily to exchange information on grid needs and availability, and to help balancing powers via avoiding undesirable injection and performing peak shaving.

Concerning ancillary services (grid technical regulations), for better decentralization of production, micro-grids play an important role. A micro-grid includes a multi-source system consisting of renewable energy sources, storage systems and adjustable loads. A controller is used to interact with the smart grid; it provides voltage control, power balancing, load sharing or load shedding, and takes into account the constraints of the public grid provided by smart grid communication. At urban scale, the building-integrated micro-grid proposed by the PLER project provides a solution for the self-supply of buildings and controlled grid interaction. The objective of this research is to design and develop an intelligent energy management system that optimizes power transfer in micro-grid, adapts to conditions imposed by the public grid through the smart grid bus communication, and takes into account the various constraints in order to minimize the energy consumption from the public grid and to make full use of local production. The main application is represented by commercial and office buildings.

The interface between the smart grid and the proposed micro-grid offers strategies which ensure, at the same time, local power balancing, local powerflow optimization and response to grid issues such as peak shaving and avoiding undesired injections The main scientific issue is the difficulty of global optimization due to the risk of mismatch between predictions and real time operating conditions,on the one hand, and the need to take into account the constraints imposed by the public network, on the other hand. The results of experimental tests demonstrate the technical feasibility and validate the micro-grid design.


Directrice du laboratoire
Manuela Sechilariu
Phone : 03 44 23 50 27 | Contact by email

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