Smart Use: a new project for urbanists

Smart Use is a web application for sharing geographical and open data models about urban development in a usable and accessible way. Developed with support of the Zurich Metropolitan Area Association as platform for the exchange of information between cantons and municipalities, its initial target audience are architects and planning offices, and the various stakeholders involved in evidence-based decision making, civic dialogue and questions of governance. These ideas were explored last year on this forum:

And discussed recently at the 2019 unconference in Bern:

Our aim in the Smart Use project was to create a tool and network through data partnerships for planners (cantons, municipalities, cities), “planning-oriented” (architecture offices, planning offices) and civil society. By bringing together these viewpoints and support them with data science, sustainable approaches can be designed for the economic and living space. Urban platforms are a critical link between top-down planning and bottom-up participation, with evidence based, visual, accessible information. Through data analysis and visualisation, Smart Use creates the systematic and low-threshold inclusion of everyday experience (crowdsourcing) and user behaviour (transaction data).

Explore our data science labs and storymapped case studies at (currently the website is in German only), read our technical backgrounder (in English) and check out the source code:

With the team behind Smart Use and support from Engagement Migros, the project is now being developed to the next level - with a focus on widening reach and participative interfaces - at

Last month we announced an update to the project, our first product targeting the needs of municipal administrations and their residents who are interested in collecting evidence for urban planning, is launching at - an open source cooperation with the talented Python/Django/Wagtail coders at Taywa GmbH.

Additionally, I have put together a proposal to start a community effort around our longer term vision and core components. There is a presentation (over 50 slides, and heavy use of 3D graphics, i.e. not for the faint of heart!) at

A lot of the ideas here are core to my proposal at the last board meeting to start an Urban Open Data working group, along with any other people in our community interested in such topics. Comments welcome!