City Lab Chemnitz

© fotografiebartel

What is a city lab?


A concrete form of collaboration between cities and Fraunhofer researchers is the concept of "City Lab". This is an indepth analysis of cities which is based on strategies, instruments and approaches of the Fraunhofer Morgenstadt system approach and has been implemented in several cities in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. While other studies in terms of urban development refer to macro-economical data e.g. population growth, economic growth and real estate, the city lab approach is based on a unique approach.

Brainstorming during the city labs, city hall in Chemnitz

Objective of the city lab approach


The focus of the city lab concept lies on the combination of quantitative and qualitative data of the city analysis. Additionally there is a "participatory obeservation" of Fraunhofer researchers who create their own picture of the city through interviews and workshops with the most relevant actors and stakeholders. This creates a systemic understanding of the city on which next steps and implementation measures for an innovative, ecological and socially sustainable city development can be based.

The city lab as common project of the city of Chemnitz and the Fraunhofer society developed the following objectives:


•    development of a city profile concerning sustainability, innovation and life quality;

•    realization of weaknesses, strengths and actions of needs of the city system;

•    identification of potentials for developing urban planning guidelines;

•    differentiation of tailor-made measures and recommendations to improve the innovation capacity of the city;

•    conceptualization of first exemplary implementation projects towards the way to an innovative city

•    research and evaluation of potential financing possibilites for the implementation of pilot projects in the identified areas


City lab process

Town hall in Chemnitz.

Results of the city lab Chemnitz


Within the City Lab Chemnitz, quantitative and qualitative data material has been evaluated in order to develop an holisitic comprehension for the city of Chemnitz, its strengths and weaknesses and its innovation and future potentials. The personal exchange with experts who are primarily citizens of Chemnitz were especially fruitful. Their openness and engagement allowed for the gathering of essential information on which the results of the report were based.

We are convinced that Chemnitz has the opportunity to shape its own prosperous future, perhaps more so that other simmilar German cities if its size. For us it is important to anchor the topic urban development on the strategic level and unterpin it with congruent working structures.

If this is successful and Chemnitz manages to develop a strategic and authentic vision and is able to bring supporting projects to life, the urban conditions are good to transform its strengths into measurable success. Success could be measured through the city's abilty to attract young people (from outside the region of Chemnitz). Achieving this goes far beyond an image campaign. The objective should reflect the economical structures and quality of life in the city to the spatial and cultural dimension. Consequently, we understand the City Lab Chemnitz as only one impluse to facilitate desired transformation, but an important component along the path toward a sustainable city.


Select a City Lab below and find out more about the city.


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