The vision of the Center Metropolitan Cities is the development and implementation of an economically and ecologically meaningful concept to create networked metropolitan areas of tomorrow via digitalization and new methods of mobility. The concept is advanced via innovations in the areas of mobility, buildings, logistics, digital infrastructures and energy on societal, as well as technological level. The goal is the creation of a European model metropolitan area with an entirely unique character. These are the principles the Center Metropolitan Cities stands for.
The Center Metropolitan Cities bundles the required competences on RWTH Aachen Campus and beyond. Taking into consideration the concerns of the cities and communities, the state sector, politics, industry and academia is equally important in the work the center does. In terms of content, the Center Metropolitan Cities focuses on the development of methods and processes for the development of highly independent, complex systems, the development of scenarios and the design and testing of new implementation concepts.
The goals of the Center Metropolitan Cities, derived from the vision, centers around the development and implementation of an economically and ecologically meaningful future concept to create networked metropolitan areas via digitization and new methods of mobility. This task must be understood as a joint venture project of a wide variety of stakeholder groups and other involved parties. The center offers software and logistics industries, automotive manufacturers, manufacturing companies, urban planners and administrators, utility companies, telecommunication providers and network operators, commercial companies and citizens a platform, where initial prototypes, market-ready offerings and even new company creations can be achieved agilely and a part of joint ventures.
The Center Metropolitan Cities provides an open platform for cooperation on RWTH Aachen Campus. Already now, the challenges of metropolitan regions are explored in the Center Metropolitan Cities in close cooperation with other centers on RWTH Aachen Campus. These include the Center Smart Commercial Building, the centers in the Smart Logistics Cluster and the Center Multimodal Mobility, which is currently in development. The Center Metropolitan Cities actively supports the creation of additional centers focusing on the topics of Charging Infrastructures and Urban Logistics.
The Center Metropolitan Cities addresses a total of eight interrelated areas of activity, which all speak to the relevant claims of the vision of the Center and form the regulatory framework. The center sees itself as a think tank and implementation engine for pioneers and actors, who wish to work together on the design and implementation of the roadmaps of each of the various areas of activity.
Never-ending traffic jams significantly hinder mobility in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area. Individual stakeholder groups can already now contribute to an effective solution with concrete actions. Employers can support their personnel in their change-over to emission-free vehicles and offer free charging stations. The regular public transport schedule can be supplemented with electric minibuses to bundle more of the single person traffic and to bolster the public transport offering. Established companies, startups and the public sector will have opportunities to reposition themselves.
The increasing need for on-demand solutions forces the metropolitan Rhine-Ruhr region to re-think logistics concepts. Work processes and formats are undergoing significant change. New solutions must be developed for the so-called last mile. In terms of technology, delivery vehicles are available today, which could relieve delivery issues by driving on to the next house autonomously, while the delivery is carried to the doorstep. The Center Metropolitan Cities therefore focuses on the further development of emission-free transport vehicles, as well as intelligent, autonomous systems that will deliver a whole new level of productivity.
The Center Metropolitan Cities aims to redefine the role of buildings and living spaces in mobility and logistics concepts for the future by implementing digital networking with additional systems in existing and new buildings. Existing Park & Ride facilities or multi-story parking garages could, for example, be expanded and connected with an on-demand offering of electric minibuses for commuters and visitors. The parking of personal vehicles and a changeover to minibuses will therefore be much more convenient than driving into the inner city in one’s own vehicle.
The cities, municipalities and their superordinate networks contribute with their actions and guidelines to successful economic development in accordance with market and competition principles. Cities and communities are already today offering space for infrastructure and supply, e.g. for expanding the network of charging stations. They create the framework for future traffic and mobility solutions, while relevant, pragmatic decisions ensure that test tracks and corridors for autonomous transport and mobility solutions are already in development today.
The vision outlined above is shared by many companies, research institutes and the public sector in their efforts to develop Europe’s fifth-largest metropolitan region: Rhine-Ruhr. The Metropolitan Cities Initiative initiated by the center and the congress of the same name in support of these efforts were founded in 2018. Based on the potential of over 12 million inhabitants, around 400,000 university students, the largest number of startups in Germany, well-established enterprises and high-tech startups in the region, a unique objective was formulated for the Metropolitan Cities Initiative: removing all barriers for innovation and mobility. In other words: the region behaves and develops “as one”. Ecosystems for urban innovation are driven forward and innovations are tested and implemented directly in the region. The application of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region to host the 2032 Olympics is set to be proof of the success of these measures. Should the bid be accepted, the Olympics 2032 could become the most sustainable Games in modern history and an important milestone for the development of the region.
The activities of the Center Metropolitan Cities begin, where the need for innovation can be felt locally in everyday situations. The Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region is extremely densely populated. Traffic congestion statistics firmly place the region among the top contenders and there is no need to look at the threshold values of CO2, NOX or SOX emissions to see that something needs to be done. Many topics can be tackled directly, which is why Metropolitan Cities focuses specifically on these topics to derive actionable areas. Most importantly, a large part of trips into the cities should be emission-free as soon as possible to prevent driving bans. It should become possible to move more people in less vehicles in areas close to the cities to reduce congestion and searches for parking spaces.
However, some hurdles on the road to a sustainably networked metropolitan region are to be expected. Our current mobility offerings, roads and routes are overloaded and will only be able to handle the growing flow of people and goods to some extent. Requirements for clean cities demand clean propulsion concepts based on e.g. hydrogen or electricity, the success of which, however, depends on the expansion of relevant infrastructures. The availability of faster, seamless connectivity is not a matter of course as yet and holds back quick development in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region as well. Cities and communities have grown over centuries. Districts and buildings that are fully networked via new forms of mobility and offer flexible spaces for living and working are as yet in the concept phase. The activities of cities and communities are already aimed at key focal issues, but more coordination would make these activities a lot more effective. It is therefore essential to integrate the many options available into a single convergent development strategy.
The annual Neuland congress is organized in collaboration with the partner Rhein Ruhr City GmbH. The first congress was held in July of 2018 with 450 participants under the patronage of the Minister President of North-Rhine Westphalia, Armin Laschet. Future trends were discussed and concrete solution approaches were developed in a total of more than 45 high-caliber presentations in the areas of politics, industry and academia, as well as in nine workshops. The many attending CEOs of DAX enterprises and the Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, Peter Altmaier, contributed equally to the support of the initiative. Startups were given the opportunity to introduce themselves and find investors. In July 2019, the number of attendees in Aachen had increased to over 550. 2020 will see the next edition of this event series taking place on June 2 and 3 in Aachen again. For latest information about the congress please visit http://www.metropolitan-cities.de.
The Metropolitan Cities Congress is the annual networking event of the Center Metropolitan Cities. In addition, conferences on the above mentioned areas of activity of the Center Metropolitan Cities are held in regular intervals.
An enrollment in the Center Metropolitan Cities ensures the continuous cooperation between industry, academia, the public sector and politics. Various membership types address the individual requirements of businesses, depending on the desired intensity of cooperation.
As members of the Center Metropolitan Cities, companies benefit from the following advantages:
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