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.
Competence Centres and Initiatives
Network City and Landscape (NSL)
The Network City and Landscape (NSL) teams up with partner universities to analyse contemporary urban phenomena. This involves not only problems related to specific locations but also interdisciplinary activities in order to analyse problems from an overall perspective. It is subdivided into five institutes, each of which belongs to either the Faculty of Architecture or the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering.
Future Cities Lab (FCL)
The Future Cities Lab (FCL) is a transdisciplinary research centre for urban sustainability. This was the first initiative by the Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability (SEC) and was set up in 2010 jointly by ETH Zurich and the National Research Foundation (NRF) in Singapore. Now over 100 scientists from the participating universities – the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University Singapore, ETH Lausanne and ETH Zurich – are carrying out research into three main areas at the FCL: sustainable building technologies, the city as an urban system and the relationship between city and countryside.
Competence Center Environment and Sustainability CCES
ETH Zurich is the leading house of the Competence Center Environment and Sustainability in the ETH domain. The Center promotes sustainability related projects and co-operational activities within the ETH domain, not only between the two Technical Universities ETH Zurich and ETH Lausanne but also between the four research institutions within the ETH domain: the Aquatic Research Institute (Eawag), the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa). The CCES specifically promotes interdisciplinary collaboration activities and places great value on the early recognition of potential environmental problems.