The world is changing fast and entire industries are reinventing themselves in response to complex transitions in social, economic, and environmental arenas. Increasing urbanization is a key trend and the design of city systems will play an essential role in shaping a sustainable future. Institutions at all levels must be proactive in order to compete successfully and to establish themselves as active, relevant players in the city of the future. Today’s cities are using systems and infrastructure based on outdated technologies, making them unsustainable, inflexible, inefficient, and difficult to change. In order for both people and natural systems to thrive, the city of the future will have to be fundamentally different. Car-congested cities that over- consume energy and resources, emit greenhouse gases, and produce contamination and waste will no longer be the status quo. Today we are at the brink of a new urban era. To navigate the big challenges of the next decades, city systems must be innovative, flexible, liveable, and sustainable. Future cities will produce net-zero emissions and waste, enable a maximum quality of life for all its inhabitants, optimize resiliency, and enable prosperity and progress through sustainable innovations. Currently, there is an opportunity for district-level, municipal, and regional demonstration projects that integrate clean technologies with business models and innovative urban development approaches to define the new City of the Future paradigm.
Our mission: implement joint systems innovations
Facilitated by the German Fraunhofer-Society, the Innovation Network “Morgenstadt: City Insights” (m:ci) is comprised of high-level first movers already working in the field of urban sustainability in Europe and around the world. Using leading-edge innovation management methodologies, m:ci aims to develop and implement socio-technical innovations for the city of the future. »Morgenstadt: City Insights« focuses on the interplay of technologies, business models, and governance approaches for sustainable urban development. The fundamental goal of the network is to accelerate development that helps reduce energy and resource consumption while also enhancing the liveability and prosperity of a city.
The m:ci Network demonstrates and quantifies new markets and development potentials in urban systems for existing products, technologies, and systems solutions.
The City Insights Network identifies coming technology-effects and disruptive developments relevant to future cities and designs revolutionary new products, systems, and business models.
The primary activities of the m:ci Network are focused in two areas:
- Design & implementation of innovative cross-sectoral projects:
Task-force Groups focused on specific topic areas are designed to result in concrete project concepts with multi-partner, interdisciplinary consortia. Project development will be informed by demand-driven opportunities throughout the world. The City Insights management team will identify potential funding sources and both formal and formal opportunity windows for implementation on an on-going basis.
- Participation in strategic long-term collaboration with select cities globally (City Labs)
In 2014 three cities will be chosen for a “deep dive” engagement with the m:ci Network. The “deep dive” will focus on accelerating the development and implementation of new breakthrough innovations within a comprehensive sustainable systems transition strategy. In collaboration with each city counterpart team, the process will include deep analysis, strategic road mapping, and project concept development and prioritization. Additional cities will be added on an on-going basis in the years to come.
Our approach: research phase 2014–2015 (m:ci2)
Based on the results and insights gained in phase I, phase II of the Fraunhofer Innovation network »Morgenstadt: City Insights« (m:ci2) starts in January 2014 While Phase I was designed to analyse and understand today’s leading cities, we now focus on creating the city of the future. Accordingly aim and content of phase II are to initiate projects through the implementation of pilot projects and demonstrators. Therefore the m:ci Innovation Network is addressing the following two levels of action:
- Identification and initiation of innovative city development strategies and roadmaps through project-based strategic cooperation with at least three cities as “City Labs”
- Development of urban innovation projects within the m:ci Innovation Network through topical working groups (in City Labs and other cities).
To this end the existing network is being converted into an ongoing alliance of industry, cities, planers and research institutions that aims at actively shaping the market of the future. Lead questions for m:ci2 are:
- How can industry and business support a sustainable urban development with new solutions and business models?
- How can cities establish new fields of action for a sustainable development together with new partners?
We strive to especially address shortcomings of industry and businesses working together with cities that were identified throughout phase I. Our aim is to initiate long-term transitions of selected cities towards sustainable development and to thereby create national and international reference projects on the level of entire cities. We aim for becoming the first global alliance for planning and implementing sustainable urban solutions in a variety of different cities. Strategic aims of “Morgenstadt / City of the Future” are:
- Development and deployment of innovative solutions for sustainable liveable and resilient cities of the future.
- Shaping and activation of sustainable cities as future markets through systems innovations.
- Conception, initiation and execution of R&D-projects and real-world implementation projects with research, industry and cities.
- Actively addressing the public funds available for sustainable and smart city development in Germany, Europe and worldwide with a strong consortium of industry, cities and research.
- Creating international visibility as a strong alliance of industry, research and cities.
- Initiation of long-term transformations with selected cities worldwide towards the vision of the “Morgenstadt / City of the Future”.
- Morgenstadt City Insigths Phase II - Leaflet (238 downloads)
- Project description Morgenstadt City Insights Phase II (291 downloads)
- Project Website
February 2014 – February 2016