Concluded activities


PRACTICE – Planning Rethinked Ageing Cities Through Innovative Cellular Environments

Project presentation

PRACTICE (Planning Rethinked Ageing Cities Through Innovative Cellular Environments) is a "Significant Bilateral Project" approved within the Executive Programme on Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the Italian Republic and the Kingdom of Sweden.

The project, funded from the Italian side by the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR), is carried out by CITERA (Centro Interdipartimentale Territorio Edilizia, Restauro, Ambiente - Interdepartmental Centre for Territory, Housing, Heritage and Environment) of the Sapienza University of Rome and the Department of Urban Planning & Environment of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology of Stockholm.

The aim of the project PRACTICE is to reconsider urban areas for the elderly, applying and reconsidering the methodology elaborated with the previous project SoURCE (Sustainable Urban Cells), designing innovative urban cells in order to improve quality of life for ageing citizens. The project is aimed to bridge the distances from goods and services to end-users, applying an integrated approach to the main aspects of urban life.

Rethinking cities, considering also the needs of the elderly population – both concrete and moral/spiritual – it is not a very considered issue today. The most common approach is toward their isolation in dedicated structures, with the risk of the “ghetto” effect. The research will try to give an answer to the matter of their social integration, considering two scales of analysis: single building and urban planning, including sensitive issues like mobility and social inclusion.

Both scales of intervention will be contextualized in two different scenarios: small town, less than 5.000 inhabitants and city suburbs. Considering the small towns the methodology foresees punctual interventions due to the existing urban texture for bridging the distances between the main services for ageing population, such as from residential areas to healthcare services, recreational facilities, and places of worship. Considering the cities suburbs, the interventions will we be applied by consecutive steps performed on urban cells, sized around 5.000 inhabitants.

The two main case studies will take into account building typology and eventually innovative planning approaches, but more specifically in suburban areas, the proposal will be to reorganize housing policies and services, in order to recreate the social conditions of the village, considered as the most suitable environment for guarantee quality of life for both young and elderly citizens.

The beginning of the research, to be implemented during the first year of research, will be identifying areas of intervention in single/multiple building scale reaching progressively the urban dimension. All elements aimed to improve quality of life in the elderly population will be considered: from social, to cultural, religious, mobility, and healthcare needs. More in details methodology foresees:

1.Identification of elements contributing to the quality of life for elderly people: worldwide academic state of the art, interview, and surveys with elderly people and practitioners.

2.Identification of key spatial qualities and characteristics of urban environments that enhance quality of life for elderly people: worldwide academic state-of-the-art,, interview and surveys with elderly people and practitioners.

3. Development of a model aimed to integrate elderly quality of life elements, in urban design, planning and development, based on the inclusive and cross-disciplinary Swedish SymbioCity approach.

The second step, to be elaborated in the second year, will involve the definition of possible interventions to be carried out, both on suburban and small cities. In this phase, it will be necessary a strong synergy with social scientists, in order to identify a clear path towards a healthy urban environment for ageing people.

The third step of the research will focus on field tests of the methodology, identifying appropriate case studies in both countries. It will include the development of the taxonomy of various housing typologies for elderly people to be evaluated according to the findings from years 1 and 2.

•The Italian team, more focused on building integrated modelling, energy efficiency, ICT, energy and mobility networks, will work on the of building scale and definition of infrastructure energy and logistics grids.

•The Swedish team, centered on urban planning/design and social sciences, will mainly pay attention to design urban environments for enhancing the quality of life for the elderly. This will include both the content (built environment) and procedural (process) aspects of planning.



Fabrizio Cumo, Head of CITERA and Project Coordinator

Rossella Roversi, Research Coordinator

Davide Astiaso Garcia, Coordinator of the energy efficiency, ICT, energy and mobility networks activities

Daniela Picardi, Financial Manager

Giuseppe Piras, Researcher

Valentina Stefanini, Research fellow

Luca Gugliermetti, PhD Candidate

Elisa Pennacchia, PhD Candidate

Mariagrazia Tiberi, PhD Candidate


Workshops and conferences

 First Bilateral Workshop in Stockholm 30-31 March, 2015 Agenda

Davide Astiaso Garcia, project background and approaches

Rossella Roversi, project description and activities

Luca Gugliermetti, ICT, CFD and environmental analysis


Second Bilateral Workshop in Rome 3-4 September, 2015


Rossella Roversi, Practice Project: background, content and structure

Valentina Stefanini, Practice project progress

Luca Gugliermetti, Environmental analysis

Marco Accorinti, Welfare and wellbeing in a new "old-society"

Elisa Pennacchia, New strategy for building in ageing society

Francesco Maietta, Planning Smart Cities


Verso una "Ageing Society" - scenari e opportunità per imprese e professionisti -

Seminario formativo, Prato, 24 marzo 2016


Davide Astiaso Garcia, Il position paper italiano sull'ageing society approvato dall'OCSE

Rossella Roversi, L'ambiente costruito per una "ageing society"

Luca Gugliermetti, La tecnologia ICT e la domotica per la ageing society

Daiele Bruschi, Silver Economy

Valentina Stefanini, Best Practices e casi di studio italiani


Workshop in Gotheborg 6-7 October 2016


Fabrizio Cumo, Elisa Pennacchia - A new strategy for building in ageing society (Italian Team)

Stefan Lundberg, Mats Johan Lundström - The role and possibilities for urban planning & design to create conditions for good elderly life (Swedish Team)



SOURCE - Sustainable Urban Cells

Italian SoURCE research team:

Director of the research: Prof. Fabrizio Cumo

Chair of the research: Adriana Scarlet Sferra

Head 1of the research group: Davide Astiaso Garcia

Head 2 of the research group: Valentina Stefanini


Research group:

Angelo Albo, Davide Astiaso Garcia, Daniele Bruschi, Laura Calcagnini, Saverio Camaiti,

Fabrizio Cumo, Sara Longo, Elisa Pennacchia, Giuseppe Piras, Marzia Di Marco, Rossella

Roversi, Annalisa Scaini, Adriana Scarlet Sferra, Valentina Sforzini, Valentina Stefanini,

Mariagrazia Tiberi, Sabrina Vassallo.


Swedish SoURCE research team:

Director of the research: Göran Cars

Chair of the research: Tigran Haas

Head of the research group: Elisabetta Troglio

Research group: Göran Cars, Tigran Haas, Mats Johan Lundström, Serena Pagliula,

Elisabetta Troglio


Project presentation

SoURCE (Sustainable Urban Cells) is a “Significant Bilateral Project” approved within the Executive Programme on Scientific and Technological Cooperation between Italian Republic and the Kingdom of Sweden, under the research area Energy and Environment: Sustainable Cities.

The project, financed for the Italian side by the Ministry of Education, University and Research, is carried out by the CITERA (Centro Interdipartimentale Territorio Edilizia, Restauro, Ambiente - Interdepartmental Centre for Territory, Housing, Heritage and Environment) of the Sapienza University of Rome and the Department of Urban Planning & Environment of the Royal Institute of Technology of Stockholm.

Project Keywords

Smart cities, Sustainable building, Energy consumption reduction, Renewable energy production, Environmental Sustainability, Holistic approach, Ageing society, Horizon 2020.



International contextualization of the project

The year 2007 marked a turning point in the history of mankind’s social evolution. The percentage of residents in urban areas compared to the rest of the planet was reversed, with an average of more than 50% of global population (i.e. 3.3 billion people) living in or around urbanized areas, for different reasons; from this premises moves the project SoURCE (Sustainable Urban cells).

Focused on sustainable management and reshaping of urban areas, SoURCE project takes in consideration the new European initiatives such as the JPI (Join Programming Initiative) Urban Europe and is in the perspective of the framework Directive EU2020.

Project methodology and results

The aim of the project was to provide practical guidelines and policies in order to re-shape urban areas, rethinking the integrated design of building systems and pursuing the goals of energy savings and environmental sustainability, even for a better quality of life for the oldest population. The initial idea from the Italian side, completely approved, adopted and further developed by the Swedish. Consequentially, the primary goal of the research was to experience the "sustainable reshaping of the city" by identifying a singular or multiple model of "urban cell", i.e. a minimum core of the larger city's model itself and provide a tool for Public Administration to assess and reshape the territory towards  a low energy territory. The procedure set up during the first year, focus on the correlation between energy and territory, allowed to relate the energy balance of production from Renewable Energy Sources and consumptions, in a specific territorial area: the urban cell. During the second year the same procedure was applied to different specific contexts in order to check its feasibility; in that way we could explore, inside the urban cell perimeter, the connection of energy - a smart grid - with other specific services according to the aggregation of several urban cells: a smart city, that is a smart module to reassemble urban tissues and to draw up a new city model. The validity of the methodology adopted, is based on interdisciplinarity and transferability, which allow the first technical instrumentations to be available for public/private clients. In this way a client can plan initiatives for the environmental development of his own territory and ask for European financing programmes so to be able to carry them out. During the third and last year, new operative instruments (format, guide lines) will be supplied and specific modalities of communication and dissemination will be elaborated to educate users, with great attention to young people; so, just starting from a single citizen and from small local institutions, we are trying to build “bottom-up” a critical conscience which allowing political options to be shared consciously, will grant the success of several initiatives according with EU main goals. The case studies performed in Lund, Trevignano Romano and Sabaudia, proved to be a significant phase for the validation of the methodology. The theoretical model and the methodology has been applied, and then converted, into actual operational tools available to the Public Administrations (in partnership with private companies/institutions) to plan, acquire funding and implement the necessary projects enhancing the quality of life in urban areas. The innovation of the project has further being recognized from the Italian Government that have included SOURCE as one of the best available methodologies within the exercise entitled: “Moving forward to an ageing society” dedicated to the evaluation of the future impacts of the increasing of the Ageing population in Italy and the proposals for possible solutions. The mentioned national exercise produced a position paper based on the chapter of the OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2012 entitled “Science and technology perspectives on an ageing society”. The focus was to “…bring the science and technology (S&T) dimension of ageing, health and disability into sharper focus and stimulate interest in further thinking”. The position paper has being realized form the Italian Ministry for Education Universities and Research that called upon the Italian institutional and scientific community to join forces, in order to meet the cross-cutting challenge of an Ageing society.


Main project publications

F. Cumo (2011). SoURCE – Sustainable Urban Cells. Roma:Stab. Tip. Ugo Quintily Spa

F. Cumo, D. Astiaso Garcia, L. Calcagnini, F. Rosa, A. S. Sferra (2012). Urban policies and sustainable energy management. Sustainable Cities and Society (Elsevier), vol. 4, p. 29-34.

F. Cumo (2012). La sostenibilità ambientale del comune di Trevignano Romano - dalla urban cell alla smart grid. Roma:Stab. Tip. Ugo Quintily Spa

F. Cumo, Adriana Scarlet Sferra (2012). Un modulo energetico per la riqualificazione ambientale del territorio: la urban cell. An energy module for the environmental requalification of the territory:

the urban cell. In: Bellomo M. et al. (Editors). Abitare il nuovo/abitare di nuovo ai tempi della crisi, Napoli, Clean Edizioni

F. Cumo (2012). SoURCE: Towards Smart City.. Roma:Stab. Tip. Ugo Quintily Spa




SUMESLAND - Summer School


GISFER - Georeferenziazione di impianti energetici in ambiente GIS



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