Science Year 2015 – City of the Future

What might tomorrow's cities look like?

The urbanization of the world continues to evolve – not only in emerging nations, but in the industrialized world like Europe as well. Already more than half of all the earth‘s inhabitants live in cities; by 2030, it will be 60 percent. As densely populated sites of human cohabitation, cities are ecological and social tinder boxes. Experts believe that the need for urban space will double by 2050.

Megacities also generate megaproblems: With an insatiable appetite, they consume energy, raw materials and space – in addition to producing pollutants, wastewater streams and mountains of rubbish. The transportation system is overloaded, resulting in overcrowding, lack of parking and traffic jams. Fraunhofer researchers are working on the idea of sustainable, livable and future-oriented cities where one can go to work, live, shop, eat or take a walk – all within a short distance.

»Morgenstadt« is a vision of a sustainable, livable and innovative city of the future and its suburban surroundings. Through its »Morgenstadt« initiative, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is supporting the German federal government in implementing an innovative project entitled »The CO2-neutral, energy efficient and climate-adapted city«, which is one of 10 projects selected to form part of the government’s High-Tech Strategy 2020.

Science Year 2015 focuses on the City of the Future

Wissenschaftsjahr 2015 - Zukunftsstadt

Wissenschaftsjahr 2015 - Zukunftsstadt

Cities are the most popular place to live for most people today. The number of urban dwellers is increasing daily. Life in the city is attractive, not least thanks to the results of science and research. Scientific findings will become even more important for people in cities to lead autonomous lives in future.

Project examples


European Commission nominates Fraunhofer Smart Cities project as lighthouse project

The European Commission has nominated the Triangulum project »Triangulum« (The Three Point Project: Demonstrate. Disseminate. Replicate), led by Fraunhofer IAO and with the support of the Steinbeis-Europa Zentrum (SEZ), to be the lead project for the Smart Cities and Communities initiative. This project will transform designated urban districts into smart quarters in three forerunner cities and then transfer the concepts to three further cities. 23 European partners from urban municipalities, research, and industry are involved.

E3-Research Factory Resource-efficient Production of the Fraunhofer IWU:

»E3« stands for the three central areas of study where Chemnitz scientists are looking to turn visions into real technological innovations in the coming years: Aside from Energy and resource efficiency in production through development of new machines and technologies, the concept includes the idea of an Emission-neutral factory as well as rethinking the way of Embedding people into the manufacturing process.

BESECURE – Best practice Enhancers for Security in Urban Regions

To strengthen European urban security, experiences and practices should be shared among urban policymakers. This, however, is not an easy task because of the differences in policies and practices between urban areas, and therefore rarely done. The BESECURE project intends to improve our understanding of the urban security landscape (factors and actions that have a bearing on urban security), and to make best practices communicable from one urban area to another.
  • more info

Saving lives with SENEKA

Five Fraunhofer institutes from different disciplines have teamed up for the Beyond Tomorrow project SENEKA – a sensor network with mobile robots for disaster management. The aim is to create a reliable and flexible system for saving human lives in an emergency, using sensors, communication technology elements and robots.

Smart Cities – Using resources efficiently

The job of the Smart City is to help its inhabitants use scarce resources as efficiently and sustainably as possible. It should also enable its citizens to lead a good, safe life while giving them the freedom for creativity and innovation. The researchers at Fraunhofer FOKUS are working on projects which aim to continually improve the everyday lives of residents in the cities of the future – despite rising population numbers, more traffic, growing environmental strain and many other challenges.

EAR-IT – Experimenting Acoustics in Real environment using Innovative Test-beds

Within the scope of the European research project »EAR-IT«, potential solutions and methods are being investigated that will allow use of acoustic data in intelligent buildings and networked cities for applications in the fields of security, traffic management and energy efficiency.

Further information

Urban Futures Conference

Innovations, strategies and processes for the city of the future on the 25th and 26th November 2015


Wissenschaft im Dialog - An initiative of Germany’s scientific community

Wissenschaft im Dialog (Science in Dialogue, WiD) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research have been holding Year of Science events since 2000. They are designed to promote social dialogue on research and foster enthusiasm about science. WiD promotes discussion and exchange about research in Germany.

more info