Implementing urban innovations
Cities are currently confronted with profound changes worldwide: demographic change, the energy transition, climate change and increasing networking and use of data call for new solutions to make cities sustainable and liveable in future.
With its core project “City of the Future: City Insights”, the Fraunhofer initiative sees itself as a multidisciplinary research and implementation project with the aim of planning, developing and implementing new solutions and strategies for the cities of tomorrow. This is accomplished on the national and European level in close partnership between municipalities, industry and Fraunhofer institutes with a variety of research priorities. These include the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO and for Building Physics IBP, which are simultaneously responsible for project management, and other Fraunhofer research institutions that participate with their expertise depending on the topic.
In Germany, the Fraunhofer initiative is involved in the High-Tech Strategy 2020 of the federal government. The strategy stands for the aim of moving Germany forward on its way to becoming a leader by 2020 in the development and establishment of sustainable urban systems, deepen cooperation between cities, academia and industry and further improve the environment for innovation.
Future concepts for liveable urban spaces
The focus of the Fraunhofer “City of the Future” initiative is the development of an urban technology and implementation roadmap that catalogues future requirements for residents, their processes for life and work, business models and services as the basis of value creation, information and communication technologies, and transportation infrastructure. Futuristic concepts for the design of sustainable urban spaces will be derived from this.
“City of the Future” working model
The underlying research approach is based on a precise working model that considers city systems as a whole and comprehensively analyses a variety of urban core areas such as society, environment, energy, mobility, information, communication and safety. Among other things, local impact factors and important framework conditions of a city are identified, along with current and future need for action. Based on this, needs- and implementation-oriented concepts for sustainable urban development are created in a final step.
The focus, however, is not only on the technical implementation – the concerns of citizens, administrative functions and companies involved play a role. It is the targeted interaction of all stakeholders that enables fast and effective implementation of the technology concepts and solution strategies developed.
EU project “Triangulum”: Pioneering concepts for Smart Cities
Concepts of the “City of the Future” are currently being realized in the EU research project “Triangulum” – one of three key projects of the “Smart Cities and Communities” initiative of the European Commission. The project led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO and assisted by the Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum will be funded with 25 million euros until 2020 and aims to develop pioneering concepts for smart urban districts.
The three-point project: Demonstrate. Disseminate. Replicate.
“Triangulum” stands for “The three-point project: Demonstrate. Disseminate. Replicate.” In the coming years, it will initially test and evaluate Smart City approaches in the areas of energy supply, mobility and information technology in the three vanguard cities of Manchester (UK), Eindhoven (Netherlands) and Stavanger (Norway). Later the concepts will be transferred to the three follower cities of Leipzig (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic) and Sabadell (Spain). The chinese city of Tianjin is participating as an ‘Observer City’. A total of 23 European partners from the participating cities, from Research and from industry, such as IT companies, real estate developers, transport companies and electricity suppliers, are participating.
Six cities – six different initial situations
To take various urban requirements into consideration within the project, the six participating cities differ in terms of not only their geographical location but also their initial situation. In this way individual experiences from the various cities are integrated into the higher-level urban development concepts from the outset.
Already before the project started, the European Commission defined clear targets for the forward-looking concepts in the areas of energy supply, transportation and information technology, which will be tested in all participating cities with different emphases: for example, the total energy consumption of buildings with an area of more than 100 square meters is to be reduced by a third, and 75% of energy needs are to be met by renewables.In the area of mobility, provision is to be made for a higher utilisation rate of electric vehicles and the related charging infrastructure, in particular for e-cars, e-buses and e-bikes.
In addition, a data management platform is to be developed to collect information and data regarding energy consumption of buildings or use of public transport, for example, and create complementary services on this basis.
Another linchpin of the project is integration and promotion of citizen participation in the cities. How this might look is shown by the different plans of the three cities of Manchester, Eindhoven and Stavanger.
Lighthouse cities pursue ambitious goals
Manchester: Student centre becomes energy efficient
In Manchester, the student centre “Manchester Corridor” – the largest academic campus in the UK with around 72,000 students – is being transformed into a pioneering district for energy efficiency. In addition to renovating historical buildings, an autonomous self-sufficient energy grid of geothermal and district heating is being established to supply the entire district with electricity and heat.
In addition, all vehicles with internal combustion engines are to be banned from the district: according to the scientists' vision, only electric verhicles, bicycles and the city's Metrolink tram will be allowed in the corridor.
Eindhoven: Urban districts of “Strijp-S” and “Eckhart Vaartbroek” to be transformed into sustainable living spaces
In Eindhoven the former industrial premises of the company Philips in the district of Strijp-S are gradually being transformed into a creative innovation district that is to attract start-up companies, in particular with smart services in regard to mobility, energy and safety. The first projects in these areas have already been implemented: The “Mobility S” programme for instance allows to use an app to access different areas of the infrastructure and for example book car-sharing vehicles or inquire about available parking for bikes and cars.
The “Eckhart Vaartbroek” district poses a different set of challenges: The residential area has a high proportion of old buildings and social housing stock that is being redeveloped as part of the project. To precisely calculate the energy savings, the project will use an IT-based instrument capable of modeling costs and yield in a 3D visualisation of the district.
Stavanger: Pioneer in electromobility
Electromobility is already a familiar sight in Norway’s Stavanger – the city with the highest density of electric vehicles in Europe. With the “Triangulum” project, electromobility is to be further developed and improved. For example, modern, battery-powered electric buses with an annual mileage capacity of 70,000 kilometres each are used in public transport.
In addition, a high-performance fibre-optic network for lightning-fast data exchange is being created. On this basis new IT-based services are being made available, such as video solutions and smart metering – referring to intelligent metering and measurement systems for electricity or gas which provide information about energy consumption and transmit the data directly to the grid operator.
“Smart City Framework” as a project goal
Guidelines for municipal planning for the future
Based on these findings from the “City of the Future” and the "Triangulum" project, the participating partners want to create a model of Smart City modules – a “Smart City Framework” – with a comprehensive guide made up of recommendations, approaches and methods. In this way the “follower cities” and other municipalities can integrate existing concepts into their own infrastructure when developing urban districts that are to be made smarter, thus avoiding problems from the very beginning.
In addition, the Smart City model with intelligent system solutions provides essential guidelines for municipal planning for the future. Here the supporting pillars include sustainable urban design, environment-friendly and energy-efficient construction, modern mobility management and user-oriented service offers. Cross-institutional and cross-sectoral cooperation and networking of all stakeholders make a crucial contribution to the success of this process.
1. Mr. Wagner, what goal is the EU project “Triangulum” based on?
In principle it is about testing and implementing smart solutions in the areas of energy, buildings, mobility, ICT and governance of our cities of the future, as well as making them transferable. These solutions are developed by Triangulum partners from municipal governments, academia and industry, with energy, communication or construction companies. Ultimately these cities also need to be liveable for those who live there. For this reason there is special emphasis on collaboration with the citizens. The EU is promoting this important development in the Smart Cities and Communities Program (SCC) under Horizon 2020.
2. The three vanguard cities are associated with different requirements. What do they have in common in the implementation of sustainable solution concepts?
All three cities are currently undergoing an exciting period of change. Given the increasing digitalisation and increasingly complex demands on their urban systems, they have recognised the need to act and want to actively shape future urban development. The focus is clearly on the question of how user-friendliness and quality of life can be increased in the cities as well as what role companies and municipal governments can assume. Another important aspect is regular and interdisciplinary exchange among project partners, which allows the many points of departure and strengths to ultimately become solutions.
3. Demonstrate, disseminate, replicate – these are the cornerstones of “Triangulum”. What does the transfer of the developed solution strategies to other cities look like in practice?
In the course of the project, we create what is known as a Smart City “Replication Framework” – with transferable solution modules (such as in the area of governance/strategy) being worked out, effectively as guidelines with recommendations and proven methods that make it easier for follower cities to implement the solution strategies. As different as the concepts developed in the project may be, they all have one thing in common: On the technology side, all Smart City solutions require comprehensive information and communication technology support and intelligent networking solutions for planning and operation. In this way we create the basis for system implementation and management approaches that can be applied to other cities.
4. How can other cities benefit from the insights and solutions of the “Triangulum” Project?
In principle the solution strategies of cities and the SCC projects are to encourage cities to think outside the box and develop holistic concepts and strategies for current issues and the challenges of tomorrow. This expressly includes the development of financing paths and business cases for companies and the demands from citizens. In the case of Triangulum, these are implemented projects with model character in Manchester, Stavanger, and Eindhoven and a framework that provides answers and solution modules for the relevant areas (such as data platforms, governance, technology) and strategies for the Smart Cities of tomorrow.