Cities of the future
Cities are cultural centres and the driving force behind the local and global economy. However, in their present form they are not sustainable, from an ecological, social or economic point of view.
Rapid population growth, increasing mobility, social conflict, over-development of the countryside and climatic changes are global challenges which urban regions have to face up to. This is why one important focus for research at ETH Zurich is the development of sustainable cities, be that through finding new construction methods and building technologies or taking an innovative approach to urban, transport and spatial planning.
Architects and scientists in most diverse disciplines are researching the “metabolism” of cities and the interaction between the city and the countryside. The goal is to understand, model and redesign the city as a system. There are huge challenges in parts of the world such as Asia and Africa, where ETH Zurich is working with local partners on the ground. For example, at the Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability (SEC), the university runs the Future Cities Laboratory, where about 120 scientists are studying the transformation of existing cities and the development of new ones, and finding alternatives to the ever-growing trend towards urbanisation. ETH Zurich has also set up an Institute for Architecture and Urban Development in Ethiopia, in partnership with the university in Addis Ababa.