A study to classify, describe and evaluate technologies for the city of tomorrow

The aim of the present study is to classify, define, and assess those technologies that contribute to a particular degree to a sustainable urban structure - the city of tomorrow.

The Austrian research program "City of the Future" promotes the future development of new environment-friendly technologies and services. The aim is to develop not only isolated elements such as buildings or technical equipment, but energy efficient solutions for entire neighbourhoods.

In urban areas a variety of technical systems merge into each other. Among them - just to name a few – are electricity and gas networks, sewage systems and district heating networks or public transport systems. Relevant questions for research and development in this field include: What technologies do have a major potential to make cities "smarter" in the future? On which topics should research and development focus in the next ten years? What role is played by existing and future concepts and methods of urban planning?

Through contributions by an interdisciplinary team of experts the study will provide an overview of the extraordinary variety of technologies in urban areas. It will describe and classify them according to their potential in terms of achieving energy policy objectives. These descriptions contribute to an urban technologies classification system. The second part of the project will deliver a maturity evaluation of highly relevant technologies.


In a first step we will define the term "urban technologies" and develop a classification system based on this definition. The system will assess the relevance of a wide range of technologies in terms of their potential contribution to the development of sustainable and more resilient cities with a high quality of life. At the same time we will identify their "technological readiness levels", that is, an assessment of the maturity and current state of research of technologies, technical (sub-)systems and technology-related services.

The project uses a methodological approach similar to the Delphi research: We intend to combine expert interviews and workshops with an analysis of documents and a written expert survey.

The final report will include the following parts:

  • an urban technologies classification system,
  • a review of relevant technologies and technology clusters ("prioritisation"),
  • a documented classification of relevant technologies and services (based on the Technology Readiness Assessment Guides of the US Department of Energy), including a description of the methodology and sources used, and
  • recommendations for future priorities of public research funding.


07/2014 - 12/2015

Project team