What is TOTUS?

TOTUS stands for “Towards Sustainable Urban Forms” (yes, it is a liberal choice of letters) and it corresponds to our response to the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology Infrastructure, Communities and Energy (ICE) 2008/09 investment round.

This research aims to enable urban planners in New Zealand to quantitatively incorporate air quality, traffic emissions and energy use as evaluation parameters to develop and implement growth strategies. This will be achieved by developing a tool to relate traditional urban design variables such as population density and road length, to air quality impacts and energy use. The tool will characterise different urban forms in terms of their expected impact on transport development and energy use, integrating and quantifying the choices people make regarding transport mode and heating source. (more)

Who is TOTUS?

The TOTUS project is lead by NIWA in collaboration with the university of Canterbury and Auckland. The key contact people are:

Gustavo Olivares (NIWA – Project Manager – Energy )
Susan Krumdieck (University of Canterbury – Transport)
Ian Longley (NIWA – Exposure)

Please use the contact form to send any request to the team.


When looking for a good name for a research project certain qualities are desirable from its acronym:

  • Short and memorable
  • It must mean something
  • Ideally, its meaning should be closely related with the project's objectives

Well, by means of a liberal selection of letters for the acronym we settled on:
TOwards susTainable Urban formS” for the name of the project and TOTUS for its acronym.
In Latin, TOTUS can be translated as "all encompasing" which is where we aim with this project

However, after looking in the internet for TOTUS we realised that there was another site using TOTUS as Teleprompter Of The United States (as opposed to President Of The United States – POTUS).

In this web site TOTUS will always and without exception refer to this research project … however, you're more than welcome to visit “the other totus” as long as you acknowledge that we have nothing to do with them.

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