Challenges addressed

Facing climate change, soils play a central role as they provide a wide range of ecosystem services that are essential to the implementation of both mitigation and adaptation strategies. To respond to this scientific and societal challenge, the potential of soils situated within agglomeration areas (referred here as urban soils, they include not only highly anthropized soils, but also pseudo-natural soils and soils under agricultural uses), is still poorly known.

Beyond the necessity to protect the natural and arable land and especially when targeting mitigation and adaptation to climate change, there is consequently a need for transitioning to integrative and practice-oriented approaches to the urban context. It is therefore urgent to grow an innovative and transdisciplinary body of knowledge and knowhow in order to plan, design, and maintain cities in a sustainable way. This is an opportunity to actively enhance the social-environmental performances of urban soils and provide solutions for global and local climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Targeting solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation in the frame of urban requalification projects, this action-oriented project focuses on the integrated management of organic matter and carbon sequestration in urban soils through urban gardening, i.e. various practices of urban agriculture and other urban landscape maintenance practices. Based on a case study in the Lausanne-Morges agglomeration and followed by a complementary field campaign in the Zurich agglomeration, the methodology will enable new a understanding of the varying potential in urban soils for organic carbon sequestration (OCS) and forecasting of the soil OCS enhancement potential in urban requalification.


The project has two main objectives: 

  •  Improve our understanding of the variations of the potential in urban soils for organic carbon sequestration
  • Propose a methodology to forecasting the soil organic carbon sequestration enhancement potential in urban requalification.

What are the expected outputs of this project?

  • A handbook of urban soil gardening describing typical and exemplary soil situations in regard to the geography and history of the Lausanne-Morges Agglomeration Project, 
  • Guidelines for best gardening practices targeting enhanced organic carbon sequestration
  • Two workshops with local stakeholders to address gardening practices and their expanded implementation in urban requalification projects
  • A final report for the Direction Générale du Territoire et du Logement (DGTL) of the Canton de Vaud, which will strengthen the 5th version of the Lausanne-Morges Agglomeration Project


  • Spring and Summer 2022

    Definition of the methodology, consolidation of the research consortium and funding scheme

  • Fall 2022

    Field campaign in Lausanne

  • Winter 2022-2023

    Field campaign in Zurich and laboratory analyses

  • Spring 2023

    Characterization and analysis of current / potential SOC variations, integration to urban requalification strategies

  • Summer 2023

    Final reports and publication of results


This project is funded by CLIMACT, the Direction Générale du Territoire et du Logement (DGTL), État de Vaud, and the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN).

Principal investigators

Prof. Dr.
Prof. Dr. Antoine Vialle

TU Berlin

Prof. Eric Verrecchia


Prof. Paola Viganò



Dr. Kevin Vega

Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETHZ

Dr. Stephanie Grand

Senior lecturer

Dr Yannick Poyat

Planisol SA



Sustainable Development Goals

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