The Dragon II program http://dragon2.esa.int/ started in April with the Kick-off meeting in Bejing http://dragon2.esa.int/symposium2008/
UNIPV has a leading role as one of the two European partners, together with KTH on the use of remotely sensed data for urban impact assement in China
here is the fist part of the excutive abstract of the project. More at the above link.
he unprecedented combination of economic and population growth since the early 1980s has led to dramatic changes in China's landscape. China is in transition from a largely rural society to a predominantly urban one. Two decades ago, fewer than 20% of China's people lived in urban areas; today it is 40%; and by 2020 it is expected to be 60%. Urbanization and the impact of human settlements are two of the main causes of global environmental degradation. Development associated with urban sprawl not only decreases the amount of agricultural land, forests, grassland, wetlands, and open space but also disrupt ecosystems and fragment habitats. Urban sprawl is one of the major factors causing air pollution, since the car-dependent lifestyle imposed by sprawl leads to increases in fossil fuel consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases. Therefore, monitoring urbanization and their impact on the environment is of critical importance for urban planning & sustainable development in China. Most of the efforts in China for urbanization monitoring are based on optical remote sensing. Due to frequent cloud cover, smog, haze and sand storms, however, optical data may not be available during critical monitoring cycle. With its all-weather capability, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) is an attractive data source for monitoring urbanization. The overall objective of this research is to investigate spaceborne SAR data and fusion of SAR and optical data for monitoring urbanization in China, and assess the impact of urbanization on the environment for sustainable urban development.