Value-driven sustainable cities and regions

In the 21st century cities and regions are faced with all kinds of challenges – some new and some not so new. These challenges can only be addressed by taking a broad view and looking at them from a technological and a social perspective. This is how we will achieve efficient urban systems: the equitable and climate-neutral cities of the future.

So what are these 21st-century challenges that the city of the future is already facing today? One of them is climate change, its consequences, and the adaptations we need to make as a result. Others include biodiversity loss, increasing inequality, road and grid congestion, the changing energy market, and tightness on the housing market and labour markets.

Efficient urban systems address these problems in an integrated way, as the solution to one problem can be an obstacle to tackling another challenge. It is therefore important that we look at these kinds of problems not only from a technological perspective, but also from a social one. Only in this way will we create the equitable and climate-neutral cities of the future.

Urban system: the city of the future

An efficient urban system, or the equitable, climate-neutral city of the future, is a hub for social and economic activity. A hub for knowledge development, innovation, and new technology. In short, an excellent environment for developing new, sustainable, and smart ways of living.

At TNO Vector we analyse issues from different perspectives. That’s because there is almost always some degree of overlap between different challenges, even if that may not seem to be the case at first glance.

Spatial design and planning, governance, and social and economic factors all play a role. Successfully transforming cities into successful urban systems also requires all stakeholders to work together.

Urban systems: experimenting and learning

When we work on urban systems, we carefully collect information from all stakeholders. These include city authorities and parties within cities, as well as provinces, knowledge institutions, and market players. We gain an understanding of how they see their role. That means we can get collaborating organisations to work together and experiment in such a way that they learn from each other.

We do all this with an acute focus on the various societal transitions that are taking place. We approach challenges from a spatial, social, economic, and governance perspective, and take well-being as our starting point – a view of the economy that looks beyond growth or GDP alone. Working from this perspective, we remove uncertainties and risks on the path towards climate-neutral cities.

Concrete result

We help decision-makers and policymakers accelerate the transition to successful urban systems. In this way we create climate-neutral cities and regions together, while preserving well-being. This is made possible by:

  • Increasing knowledge on relevant topics
  • Creating an understanding of and insight into stakeholders’ interests and needs
  • Developing clear assessment frameworks and scenarios Setting out a clear strategy