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Wilhelm Bauer

Scientific Director,
Fraunhofer Institute IAO

Stuttgart, Germany

The one big challenge of future urban systems is the smart use of resources. The holistic use of cradle-to-cradle systems for production and consumption will be imperative.

Morgenstadt – A Vision for a Smarter World

In the year 2050, our planet will have changed in a radical way: nine billion people will be sharing the same space that today is held by 7 billion, with 70% of them living in cities. Urbanization, globalization, demographic change and climate change put increasing demands on the city, providing the ground for innovation and systemic solutions – but there are also several assets of urbanization: not only does it boost energy efficiency, it also represents the great opportunity for the world to enhance efficiency of material resources and human workforce. In order to take advantage of these opportunities, cities have to become smarter and more in line with people’s needs. The following section highlights some of the most important changes that future cities will undergo:


How can the masses of people in tomorrow’s cities be moved most effectively and at the same time assuring quality of life and zero impact on the environment? Highly efficient mass transit systems or emission free mobility-on-demand solutions represent some of the groundbreaking solutions to be analyzed and developed further. After implementation of electric propulsion systems, autonomous driving technology will become the next big innovation loop for smart and sustainable urban mobility systems. This gradually eliminates the need for individual car possession.


The future city will not depend on fossil energy. Renewable energies, energy efficient technologies and communicating energy grids will become the drive-train of tomorrow’s cities. But where will the energy be produced? Already today energy-plus-houses produce more green energy than they need. Integrated community energy solutions that link houses, wind and solar parks, biomass sites and electric vehicles can be a starting point for an integrated urban energy system of the future.


Already today we have technologies that enable communication between devices, buildings, vehicles and people. Geographic information processing, wireless internet and smart-phone technology possess almost infinite potential for the development of smart solutions for urban systems. Some cities already try to make use of this potential and thereby provide the framework for innovative business – logistic- and transportation processes. The internet of things will leverage the transition toward an intelligent, sensible and communicating city that allows its inhabitants to make optimal use of the city infrastructure and it provides the framework for the next revolution of service-business 3.0.


There are several groundbreaking technologies that allow buildings to communicate with their environment, to produce more energy than they consume and to work with light, biomass and air from the local environment. In a future city these technologies will be integrated into systems that allow groups of buildings to create closed cycles of energy- and material flows – and to shape the micro climate of a city.


The big challenge of future urban systems is the smart use of resources. Full integration of advanced recycling techniques into urban material flows and the holistic use of cradle-to-cradle systems for production and consumption will be imperative for the sustainable mega-city of tomorrow. This also implies innovations in product design with a highest possible share of biodegradable materials or recyclable product concepts.


A new urban paradigm needs efficient governance concepts that enable participation and acknowledge the complexity of systems innovation. Frontrunners of today are already working with systems that integrate citizens into decision structures and create smart collaborations between city administrations, innovative companies and research institutes. The successful city of tomorrow manages to include its citizens into decision making processes without inflating administrative processes. Regulative frameworks will thereby increasingly resemble economic incentive structures that reward sustainable and environmentally friendly behavior. This might consist in types of emission trading schemes on city level or above, which effectively allocate material and energy flows and provide for optimal capacity utilization of city infrastructure.

Wilhelm Bauer Bio:

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wilhelm Bauer

Scientific Director

Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO, Stuttgart (Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO)

Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Technologiemanagement IAT der Universität Stuttgart (University of Stuttgart - Institute for Human Factors and Technology Management IAT)

Wilhelm Bauer gratuated at University of Stuttgart in Industrial Engineering. He received the Dr.-Ing. degree from University of Stuttgart. As a Scientific Director he is heading the business area Corporate Development and Work Design at IAO and IAT. Research activities include Work Sciences, Knowledge Work, Virtual Work Spaces, Office Innovations and Change Management. He is lecturer for Work Design at Universities of Hannover and Stuttgart.