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Urban Insight Glossary

Looking for a definition or a specific term? In this glossary you will find an alphabetical list of terms in a special subject, field, or area of usage, with accompanying definitions. Sweco Urban Insight offers a wide range of topics and definitions of business terms within the fields of sustainability, mobility and transport, energy transition, climate action, urban community and health. Sweco’s Experts, architects, and engineers have put together explanations and tips for further reading on topics.


Air Pollution

Airborne components that have negative effects on human health

Autonomous Vehicles

A vehicle that is capable of sensing its environment and moving safely with little or no human input


Bike Sharing

A service in which bicycles are made available for shared use to individuals on a short term basis

Bike Sharing System

A service system in which bicycles are made available for shared use to individuals on a short term basis


A term used to describe the variety of species in a given region or ecosystem

Biomass Energy

Plant or animal material used as fuel to produce electricity or heat

Blue-Green Infrastructure

A network providing the “ingredients” for solving urban and climatic challenges by building with nature


Car Dependency

The dependency on car to commute to jobs, services, stores etc

City Development

The urban development of a city district

Cycle Superhighways

Dedicated bicycle infrastructure along main routes with fewer car lanes, and quiet parallel routes with mixed traffic



The removal of trees to make room for other land use functions; this can include renewed forests or clearing the land for agriculture or grazing, using the timber for fuel, construction or manufacturing


Land degradation in drylands in which biological productivity is lost due to natural processes or induced by human activities whereby fertile areas become increasingly arid


The process of converting information into a digital (tex computer-readable) format



Commercial transactions conducted electronically on the internet

E-Commerce Growth

The rise of commercial transactions conducted through the internet rather than in stores

E-Commerce Logistics

E-commerce logistics refers to processes involved in storing and shipping inventory for an online store or marketplace, including inventory management and the picking, packing, and shipping of online orders


A case study that illustrates the development of e-mobility infrastructure in different parts of Europe. The journey is fictional, but the data and descriptions have been compiled from several actual European journeys and studies


The electrification of road transports, but e-mobility covers many different types of electric motor vehicles

Effective Storm Water Management

Effective stormwater management reduces the amount of runoff and runoff pollution by slowing runoff and allow- ing it to soak in

Efficient Infrastructure

More efficient infrastructure has a greater performance than existing infrastructural systems (f.e. in the light of sustainability assessment)

Electric Vehicles

A vehicle that uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion


The process of converting a machine, process, system or sector to use electricity where it did not do so before


The electrification of road transports, but e-mobility covers many different types of electric motor vehicles

Energy Storage Technologies

Technologies that enable mass-storage of energy


The surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates

Environmental Migrants

People who are forced to leave their home region due to sudden or long-term changes to their local environment

Eu Green Deal

The European Green Deal is a set of policy initiatives by the European Commission with the overarching aim of making Europe climate neutral in 2050


Electrical vehicle


Electrical vehicles


Geothermal Energy

There are two basic types of geothermal energy: one is deep geothermal, coming from the Earth’s core, and the other is shallow geothermal, the solar energy stored in the ground. Deep geothermal energy utilisation usually involves drilling very deep boreholes near natural cracks, while shallow geothermal energy (typically around 0–300 metres below the surface) is available everywhere

Green Belts

A policy and land use zone designation used in land use planning to retain areas of largely undeveloped, wild, or agricultural land surrounding or neighboring urban areas

Green Cities

Cities which operates a green development plan, building circular, renewable energy sources, walkable streets, sufficient public green spaces

Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure is based on the principle that ‘protecting and enhancing nature and natural processes […] are consciously integrated into spatial planning and territorial development

Green Roofs

A green roof is a layer of vegetation planted over a waterproofing system that is installed on top of a flat or slightly–sloped roof. Green roofs and walls are good examples of mimicking ecosystems in the urban landscape


Healthy Buildings And Cities

A healthy city is one that is continually creating and improving those physical and social environments and expanding those community resources which enable people to mutually support each other in performing all the functions of life and developing to their maximum potential. This includes: future energy storage, reduce & reuse, urban densification, climate resilience and biodiversity

Healthy Mobility

Creating more safe, healthy, social moblity. Starting from our community, street, neighbourhood and region

Healthy Water Systems

The urgency to reduce the exploitation of our scarce resources, the challenges are in water resource management, healthy water systems, restoring water landscapes, urban water circularity and water quality for our health and our ecosystem’s health

High-Quality Bicycle Road Network

A well-functioning bike sharing system, e.g. “Baanas” in Helsinki

Holistic City Planning

Planning the city by viewing it as a whole, not just as a collection of parts put together

Hydroelectric Power

Power derived from the energy of falling or fast-running water

Hydrogen Vehicles

Compressed hydrogen gas is used as fuel to generate the electric power via a fuel cell for the vehicle


Impact Of E-Commerce

The ranging impact e-commerce has on both society, business and urban areas

Improve Storm Water Management

The improvement in which the way excess storm water is stored and utilized

Inclusive Design

Inclusive design emphasizes the contribution that understanding user diversity makes to informing these decisions, and thus to including as many people as possible

Integrated Storm Water System

Integrated water design solutions, involving a set of measures suited to specific local conditions. The concept of integrated storm water management is used to describe a comprehensive, ecosystem-based approach to stormwater management


Liveable City

A liveable city is a great place to live. It is more resilient as well, with competitive social, economic and environmental advantages. Using our definition, a liveable city is also a healthy city, promoting health, wellbeing and equity


Managing Storm Water

The management of storm water, how to handle it, how to use it etc

Mindful City

Reative, alive, safe, urban nature…The more healthy people are, the more fun and creative lives they will live and thereby contribute to making the city a vibrant attractive place both to visit and to live in. While some cities can overstimulate our senses and make it challenging to focus and pay attention, others provide peaceful and contemplative places to retreat to, whether it’s the silence and sanctuary of libraries, museums and churches or green spaces and waterways


New Bauhaus

The New European Bauhaus is an initiative that explores future ways of designing our built environment at the crossing of art, culture, social inclusion, science and technology. It will be a driving force to bring the European Green Deal to life in an attractive, and innovative and human-centered way

Noise Insulation

An efficient solution to reduce indoor noise exposure from all noise sources, both day and night

Noise Pollution

Unplesant noise with ranging impacts on the health of human or animal life



Placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. The collaborative and evolutionary process by which urban environments can be shaped to maximise shared value. Placemaking capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well-being


Renewable Energy

Energy that is collected from renewable resources, tex wind, wave and solar energy

Renewable Energy Sources

Sources from which renewable energy can be harvested, tex wind, wave and solar energy

Renewable Energy Systems

The system in which a network of sustainable energy sources are harvested


The ability of communities to rebound, positively adapt to, or thrive amidst changing conditions or challenges – including disasters and climate change – and maintain quality of life, healthy growth, durable systems, and conservation of resources for present and future generations

Resilient Infrastructure

Building resilience (the ability to adapt) into infrastructure systems


Dupply Chain Efficiency

The streamlining of a supply chain

Safe Infrastructure

Infrastructure that is safe for it’s users and people in it’s vicinity


Sustainable development goals

Sdgs 2030

Sustainable development goals, 2030

Shared Mobility

Can be defined as transportation services and resources that are shared among users, either concurrently or one after another

Solar Energy

Energy harvested from the sun, can be solar heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, solar architecture, molten salt power plants and artificial photosynthesis

Storm Water System

A tool for managing the runoff from rainfall. An integrated storm water system is completed of “natural” measures like green roofs, planters, green belts, swales, wetlands, grassed dry retention ponds or raingardens combined usually with other, more “artificial” measures, for example underground infiltration or/and detention and retention tanks etc


Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems

Supply Chain Design

The design of the system in which the product is supplied from manufacturer to consumer

Supply Chain Strategies

Strategies to streamline supply chains

Sustainable City

Sustainable city is a city designed with consideration for social, economic, environmental impact, and resilient habitat for existing populations, without compromising the ability of future generations to experience the same

Sustainable Development Goals

A collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. They address the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice

Sustainable Drainage System

Are drainage systems that are considered to be environmentally beneficial, causing minimal or no long-term detrimental damage. Sustainable drainage systems may consist of “natural” measures, such as green roofs, planters or green belts – combined with “artificial” measures, such as underground infiltration, retention tanks and many other solutions

Sustainable Drainage Systems

Are drainage systems that are considered to be environmentally beneficial, causing minimal or no long-term detrimental damage. Sustainable drainage systems may consist of “natural” measures, such as green roofs, planters or green belts – combined with “artificial” measures, such as underground infiltration, retention tanks and many other solutions

Sustainable Energy

Renewable energy, often referred to as clean energy, comes from natural sources or processes that are constantly replenished. Energy harvested from sources such as wind power, solar power and hydropower

Sustainable Means Of Transport

Transportation mode options which are powered by muscle-power or renewable energy

Sustainable Mobility

Decarbonized mobility. Moving in a sustainable way refers to the choice of preferring active travel (e.g., walking or biking), e-mobility or public transportation to reduce CO 2 emissions

Sustainable Mobility Infrastructure

Infrastructure that enables sustainable mobility, e.g. electrical car charging stations, dock for shared bike systems, …

Sustainable Resources

Renewable resources which can be used again and again

Sustainable Solutions

A sustainable solution is a solution that has been developed to be a. long –lasting, environmentally responsible solution for the provider (the business), the society

Sustainable Storm Water Management

A water management system consisting of “natural” measures like swales, wetlands, buffer basins and retention ponds or raingardens combined usually with other, more “artificial” measures, for example underground infiltration or/and detention and retention tanks etc

Sustainable Technologies

Technologies that either use renewable energy or produce such

Sustainable Transport Modes

Examples of sustainable transport modes include walking, cycling, transit, carpooling, car sharing, and green vehicles

Sustainable Travel

Travel which is powered by renewable energy or no external energy at all

Sustainable Travel Options

The range of options you can choose between that are powered by renewable energy or no external energy at all

Sustainable Urban Development

Sustainable urban development is the way forward for cities to mitigate climate change

Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems(SuDS)

Approaches to manage surface water that take account of water quantity (flooding), water quality (pollution) biodiversity (wildlife and plants) and amenity

Sustainable Urban Living

In geography it means; Improving the quality of life in a city, including ecological, cultural, political, institutional, social and economic components without leaving a burden on the future generations

Sustainable Urban Planning

Urban planning striving for a climate-neutral cities and resilient communities

Sustainable Waste Management

Using material resources efficiently to cut down on the amount of waste produced, and where waste is generated, dealing with it in a way that actively contributes to the economic, social, and environmental goals of sustainable development


Originally “Swedish Consultants”, is a European engineering consultancy company, active in the fields of consulting engineering, environmental technology and architecture

Symbiocity Approach

A holistic and inclusive approach to sustainable urban development that transforms urban challenges into opportunities



Incorporating or introducing modern technology into something, typically by using or installing electronic or digital equipment


Organized following a specific theme

Three Pillars Of Sustainability

Three key words in sustainable development: Economic viability, environmental protection and social equity

Tidal Power

A renewable energy powered by the natural rise and fall of ocean tides and currents. Some of these technologies include turbines and paddles

Town Planning

The planning and design of all the new buildings, roads, and parks in a place in order to make them attractive and convenient for the people who live there

Traffic Calming

Solutions for slowing down and calming the flow and speed of mainly vehicular traffic

Traffic Flow Efficiency

Performance of traffic flows, resulting in more fluid flows

Transform Communities

Significant changes in a distressed community that would be clearly measurable in terms of income, employment, educational attainment, human health, environmental quality etc

Transport Efficiency

Reduced cost of road improvements by reducing congestion on roads, resulting in less time in traffic

Transport Infrastructure

Different infrastructures for different types of mobility, e.g. walking, cycling, driving

Transport Planning

The act of planning the transport of a given area, e.g. to make it as efficient as possible

Transport System

The system in which transports holistically moves people around the city

Transportation Engineering

The application of technology and scientific principles to the planning, functional design, operation and management of facilities for any modes of transportation

Transportation Model

Special case of LPP(Linear Programming Problem) in which the main objective is to transport a product from various sources to various destinations at total minimum cost

Trash To Energy

The process of generating energy in the form of electricity and/or heat from the primary treatment of waste, or the processing of waste into a fuel source

Travel Time

The time it takes for one person to travel to a set destination

Travel Time Budget

The amount of time one person spends travelling per day


Urban Area

Urbanized area. As opposed to rural, non-inhabited area

Urban Challenges

The future challenges that urbanization are dealing with; can be related to high population density, inadequate infrastructure, lack of affordable housing, flooding, pollution, slum creation, crime, congestion and poverty

Urban City

A city, the centre of an urbanized area

Urban Context

Is presented in relation to urban challenges, scopes of urban sustainability and the governance of the urban

Urban Design

The design of public space, urban planning or city-making process can be seen as

Urban Development

 The development and design of land use and the built environment, including air, water, and the infrastructure passing into and out of urban areas

Urban Environment

The living environment of an urban citizen, an urbanized environment

Urban Fabric

The physical urban environment (elements, materials, form, scales, density and networks)

Urban Freight

All movements of goods in to, out from, through or within the urban area made by light or heavy vehicles

Urban Fulfilment Centres

Where they take the excess space of an extra and turn it into a dark picking store so that all the vans turn up

Urban Heat Island Effect

During the day hard surfaces such as concrete warm up and slowly release heat during the night, keeping the temperature higher than in surrounding rural areas. This phenomenon restrain urban areas to cool down at night

Urban Innovations

The combination of new practices, solutions, and services that enables adapting and anticipating processes of change that cities undergo

Urban Landscape

The totality of urban tissue with all its components forms an urban landscape

Urban Location

A location in an urban area

Urban Management

Tackling the demands of cities and towns which are expanding and rebuilding with policies for land use, structures, and service networks

Urban Mobility

The way in which the inhabitants of a city can move around, and the methods and conditions associated with such trips (modes of transport selected, length of trip, time spent in transport, etc)

Urban Nodes

A hub in which urban networks (f.e. mobility networks) come together and give options to switch modes and combine different possibilities

Urban Place

Urban area

Urban Planning

A design and decision-making process that is focused on the development of land use and the built environment

Urban Planning Process

A design and decision-making process that is focused on the development of land use and the built environment

Urban Population

The population inhabiting urban areas

Urban Population Growth

The change in population

Urban Renewal

Urban area

Urban Space

Urban area

Urban Spaces

Urban areas

Urban Sprawl

The process in which a region develops following a spread urbanization pattern

Urban Structures

The structuring elements of the city that steer the form of the city

Urban Traffic Planning

Traffic management in cities

Urban Transformation

Urban redevelopment. Transformation of an urban area

Urban Transportation

Supporting transport demands generated by the diversity of urban activities in a diversity of urban contexts


The act of developing and building a city district or expansion

Using Trash For Energy

Optimal use of waste to produce energy needed by humans


Is a term in economics that refers to the total satisfaction received from consuming a good or service


Vehicle Sharing

Car-sharing or bike-sharing systems in which you don’t own the vehicle but you pay for using it


Walking Infrastructure

Provide adequate infrastructure with a focus on walking and pedestrians

Waste Into Energy

The process of generating energy in the form of electricity and/or heat from the primary treatment of waste, or the processing of waste into a fuel source

Waste Management

The activities and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal

Waste Management Solutions

Solutions for sustainable waste disposal 

Waste Management System

A system for sustainable waste disposal

Waste To Energy

The process of generating energy in the form of electricity and/or heat from the primary treatment of waste, or the processing of waste into a fuel source

Wastewater Management

A process to remove contaminants from wastewater or sewage and convert it into an effluent that can be returned to the water cycle

Water Drainage System

A system by which water is drained on or in the soil to enhance production

Water Management

The control of water system  to minimize damage to life and property and to maximize efficient beneficial use

Water Pollution

The contamination of water bodies, usually as a result of human activities

Water Sustainability

Effective and holistic management of water resources

Water-Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD)

Land planning and engineering design approach which integrates the urban water cycle

Wave Power

The capture of energy of wind waves to do useful work

What Is Biochemistry

The study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms

What Is Ecology

The branch of biology that studies the biota (living things), the environment, and their interactions

What Is Green Energy

Any types of energy that is generated from renewable resources, such as sunlight, wind or water, geothermic, ….

What Is Sustainable Development

The way forward for cities to mitigate climate change and become climate-neutral

What Is Urban Development

Residential expansion system that builds the city. Residential areas are the main focus of urban development

Wind Energy

The process by which the wind is used to generate mechanical power or electricity

Wind Power Advantages And Disadvantages

Pros of wind energy: Renewable & clean source of energy, Low operating costs, Efficient use of land space. Cons of wind energy: Intermittent, Noise and visual pollution, Some adverse environmental impact