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LUISA can be configured to project a baseline scenario of land use changes up to 2050, assuming likely socio-economic trends, business as usual urbanisation processes, and the effect of established European policies with direct and/or indirect land-use impacts. Variations to that reference scenario may be used to estimate impacts of specific policies, or of alternative macro-assumptions. This highly flexible and customisable structure of LUISA makes it a suitable tool for providing insights to policy-makers in Europe regarding landscape, urban areas, environment and, more broadly, aspects pertaining to sustainability and territorial cohesion.

LUISA includes a set of procedures that capture top-down or macro drivers of land-use change (taken from a set of upstream models) and transform them into actual regional quantities of the modelled land-use types. Regional land demands for agricultural commodities are taken from the CAPRI (Common Agricultural Policy Regionalised Impact) model (Britz and Witzke, 2008), which simulates market dynamics using nonlinear regional programming techniques to forecast the consequences of the Common Agricultural Policy. Demographic projections from Eurostat and tourism projections from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) are used to derive future demand for urban areas in each region; land demand for industrial and commercial areas are driven primarily by the economic growth as projected by the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Commission (DG ECFIN); and the demand for forest is determined by extrapolating observed trends of afforestation and deforestation rates reported under the scheme of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The demand for the different land-use types is ultimately expressed in terms of acreage and defined yearly and regionally (NUTS2).

In the Reference scenario 2014, the economic and demographic assumptions are consistent with the 2012 Ageing Report (EC, 2012). The demographic projections, hereinafter referred as EUROPOP2010, were produced by Eurostat, whereas the long-term economic outlook was undertaken by DG ECFIN and the Economic Policy Committee. The actual economic figures used in LUISA were taken from the GEM-E3 model, which modelled the sector composition of future economy (GVA per sector) consistently with the DG ECFIN’s projections (EC, 2014). Both projections are mutually consistent in terms of scenario assumptions.

To compute the travel times that inform accessibility, a road network from the Trans-Tools transport model is used.