"City of the Future" contest

Quiet cars which cause no emissions. Healthy produce which grows on rooftops. New concepts for buildings that generate climate-friendly energy from wastewater. There are so many ideas about how to improve urban living in the city of the future. The "City of the Future" contest sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research aims to promote a dialogue with citizens to discuss and develop joint visions of the future and to put them to the test in the first cities. 51 selected urban and rural communities are developing a comprehensive and sustainable "Vision 2030+" in cooperation with citizens, the science community, local policy-makers, industry and administration. In a three-phase process the visions will ultimately be put to the practical test in "real-world laboratories" starting in 2018.

city street
© LAVA, Fraunhofer IAO

Citizens and science join forces for the city of tomorrow

Whether it is secure jobs, affordable housing, adaptation to climate change, sustainable mobility or energy supply, one thing is certain: If local governments want to successfully deal with the grand challenges of the future, they must involve their citizens and science. And this is why the "City of the Future" contest will bring together teams made up of citizens, scientists, and representatives of local politics and administration who discuss their ideas. The message that the contest wants to send is that the cities of the future are a collaborative project which concerns all of us. 

Moving towards the future, step by step

The "City of the Future" contest spans three phases, starting with development of a vision, followed by planning its implementation, and finally, putting the vision into practice. In April 2015 an independent expert jury selected 51 cities, counties and municipalities from a pool of 168 entries received from all over Germany to participate in the first project phase. These participant teams now have the task of developing concrete recommendations for action and how to implement them for the future of their local communities. A total of €1.75 million is available for this purpose. 

The teams can qualify for the next two rounds of the contest based on these first results. Up to 20 selected cities, counties and local governments will go into the second concrete planning phase in 2016. In 2018 up to eight communities will have the opportunity to make the vision they developed a reality.   

The partners of this contest, which is part of Science Year 2015, are the German Association of Cities and Towns, the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, and the German Counties Association. The contest is a module of the "City of the Future" flagship initiative under the framework programme "Research for Sustainable Development" (FONA³).