With the Future Cities Laboratory, ETH Zurich has been striking new paths in international cooperation since 2010. Researchers from Zurich and Singapore are working together to design large sustainable urban systems.

Singapore represents a starting point for ETH Zurich‘s global research activities.

In this century, for the first time, more than half of the world’s population will live in cities. Making these cities environmentally friendly and worth living in is one of the greatest challenges of the present day. This is why ETH Zurich launched the Future Cities Laboratory in Zurich and Singapore in 2010. This involves close cooperation with scientists from the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. The project is financed by the National Research Foundation of the city state Singapore. The scientific programme director in Singapore itself is Franz Oswald, professor emeritus for architecture and urban design. In Zurich, the programme is directed by Kees Christiaanse, professor at the Institute for Urban Design at ETH Zurich.

The Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) is the first interdisciplinary research programme of the Singapore ETH Centre (SEC) for Global Environmental Sustainability, the purpose of which is to strengthen the position of both countries in the highly relevant field of global sustainability.

Interdisciplinary research

The FCL’s research focuses on three key areas: sustainable building technologies, the city as an urban system and the relationship between city and country. What is new about this project’s approach, is that these key areas are interconnected in a meaningful way and their interdependencies are being researched. The architects, planners and scientists see and design the city as a dynamic system, within which people interact and resources like energy, water, space, capital, material and information are constantly in a state of flux.

Added value for Switzerland

Projects which are both scientific and practically oriented not only yield tangible findings, they also give ETH students international experience, with the objective of contributing to the global competitiveness of Swiss companies in the planning and construction of sustainable cities.