Smart districts

Smart districts as European lighthouse projects

During the third research phase, Morgenstadt has defined smart city districts as a central topic for future urban development. At the European level, Morgenstadt partners are represented in four of the seven lighthouse projects "Smart Cities & Smart Districts" and plans for a public Morgenstadt Micro Showcase are currently in the pipeline.

The joint research project is aimed at cities that want to tap into the massive potential of new organizational, technological and spatial concepts emerging in urban districts transforming processes from conception and planning to realization and operation.

For developers, investors, housing administrators and providers of urban solutions or technologies (e.g. smart home, smart lighting, mobility on demand, smart energy grids, home consumer electronics, digital communication, etc.), this offers the opportunity to develop innovations for smart and sustainable neighborhoods actively as part of an applied research approach.

Different fields of action in »Smart Districts«

Practical scenarios for the district of tomorrow


The aim of the joint research project »Smart Districts« is to identify current and future developments at an early stage and to develop concrete approaches for successful design and implementation of new business model, operator and supply concepts for existing and emerging city districts.

On the basis of working methods, the Fraunhofer IAO, together with research partners, develops practical scenarios, concepts and methods that meet the requirements for the sustainable design of buildings and the district overall. The focus of the research is on improving future viability, resource efficiency, housing comfort, sustainability, adaptability and innovation within city districts. Based on this, concrete paths for the further development of existing strategies and business models concerning the lifecycle of districts in the city of tomorrow will be presented.


The following objectives are central to the work in the »Smart Districts« project:


•     Leadership in innovation

•     Future security

•     Sustainability

•     Practical relevance

•     Public perception

•     Networking

•     Interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral work

European lighthouse projects

© amoklv

Within the Triangulum project, the Strijp-S neighborhood in Eindhoven is being transformed into a smart district.

Benefits for partner cities


Actors participating in the joint research project »Smart Districts« enjoy a range of benefits through their partnership, with the following advantages highlighted:


•     Access to advanced knowledge of developments in this highly dynamic area

•     Added value through early identification of strategic business areas

•     PR and branding for research institutes

•     Knowledge sharing and coordinated communication with policy-makers

•     Scientific monitoring of development projects and company strategies

•     Continuous expansion of the knowledge network


Our partners benefit from the scientific expertise of the Fraunhofer IAO as well as from its conceptual and practical project experience in the conception and support of numerous district development projects.


Project structure


Project management as well as the design and execution of the selected research topics is conducted by the Fraunhofer IAO. Together with the partners, the research topics and objectives dre definedand based on a suitable research design is to be developed. At the project management meetings, which take place three times a year, progress of the project will be presented and discussed, evaluated and further developed together with the project partners. Along with the management, workshops and coordination meetings will take place to promote specific topics and to integrate the expertise of the research partners in percisely.

Five work packages (see chart) have been planned so far, but the number can vary on the specific need of companies and municipalities.


Reference projects


•    TRIANGULUM: EU lighthouse project involving the cities of Eindhoven, Stavanger and Manchester for the parallel transformation of three urban areas to "smart districts"

•    SMARTER TOGETHER: EU lighthouse project involving the cities of Munich, Lyon and Vienna for the parallel transformation of three city urban areas to "smart districts"

•    Smart Urban Services: piloting and testing of urban sensor networks in the inner cities of Reutlingen and Chemnitz to establish new urban service and control platforms

•    Zukunftsschau München 2040+: Development of strategic future scenarios for the updating of integrated urban development in the city of Munich

•    Funkkaserne-Süd München: Development of alternative sustainability scenarios and financing concepts for improved portfolio management for residential construction companies

•    Rheinquartier Oberlahnstein: Development of an actor-based guiding concept as well as the resulting infrastructural and urban development requirements for the design and planning of a city center

•    Urban Retail Hybrid 3.0: Development of an innovative and location-dependent concept for hybrid commercial real estate in the urban area with a focus on positive effects for the urban environment, e.g. energy, mobility, resources, economic activity

•    Innovationsquartier IQ: Development of a prototypical innovation concept for social innovation along alternative measures for sustainable and efficient neighborhood operations

•    Smart District BB: Moderation process to identify requirements and responsibilities of landowners, investors, municipalities and municipal enterprises for establishing a "smart district"

•    Innovationscircle Morgenstadt-Heilbronn: Moderation of an innovation process for the identification of demand-driven innovations for piloting for the Federal Garden Show (+ Modellquartier) 2019

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