Smart Cities – Cities as a living space of the future

We would like to take a little look into the future - more precisely, into the "Habitats of the future”! This is the theme that will accompany the zdi activities from next year. In 2024 we will place a particular focus on “Smart Cities – Cities as a living space of the future“. You can find out which exciting approaches already exist here and which professional fields will be particularly important for life in smart cities in our “Under the magnifying glass” post read.

An image of people in a city with the words Smart Cities. The graphic symbolizes the zdi annual motto: "Smart Cities - Cities as a living space of the future"

Smart Cities – living spaces of the future at zdi.NRW

On this page we would like to keep you up to date about our activities on the zdi annual theme 2024 “Smart Cities – Cities as Living Spaces of the Future”:

Current topics

You can find the latest posts on our social media channels here.

From our Blog

Waste management of the future: zdi Science League teams show creative solutions

Waste management of the future: zdi Science League teams show creative solutions

The third matchday of the zdi Science League season 3/2023 has ended and the teams have presented their creative ideas for tackling one of the most pressing challenges of our modern societies: waste management in the neighborhood.

KReateFUTURE 2024

KReateFUTURE 2024

At the 3rd Youth Science Camp KReateFUTURE, 50 Krefeld students were able to develop ideas and come into contact with companies and universities.

In the interview: Jiny Matty-Borlinghaus from the zdi center Oberhausen

In the interview: Jiny Matty-Borlinghaus from the zdi center Oberhausen

In an interview, Jiny tells Matty-Borlinghaus from the zdi Center Oberhausen why female role models are important, what we have to do to break down gender stereotypes and why the zdi Science League is a project that does exactly this well...

Under the microscope: living spaces of the future

Under the microscope: living spaces of the future

Future living spaces in the city and in the countryside will be the focus of the zdi community in the next few years. What technical infrastructure is necessary and what specialists do we need?

1st matchday of the zdi Science League completed

1st matchday of the zdi Science League completed

The first match day of the new zdi Science League season has concluded and the teams presented initial ideas on how intelligent home control could be implemented in the smart city district of the future.

How geosciences get young people excited about sustainability

How geosciences get young people excited about sustainability

With courses in student laboratories and on-site projects, zdi.NRW inspires young people with sustainability issues and thus ensures more commitment.

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Under the microscope: living spaces of the future

A modern high-rise building. The balconies are lush with green plants, so that the house almost looks like a green cuboid reaching into the sky.

With the annual theme, zdi will focus on the way we will live in the future in the coming years. Because: The United Nations assumes that two thirds of the world's population will live in cities by 2050. This development presents us with major social, ecological and economic challenges. What technical infrastructure is necessary and what specialists do we need?


Smart Cities – smart facts: Smart Cities in everyday life

In zdi.NRW projects, great ideas not only arise, they are also implemented! We'll show you here where and how exciting approaches to smart cities can already be found in NRW:

Fact 1: The smart garbage can

A group of people shake hands with a robot.

The Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences is developing a mobile garbage robot for Krefeld. It is intended to ensure a clean courtyard in the Krefeld city center or at the Krefeld schools, also explain the basics of waste separation and help to increase environmental awareness and understanding of technology.

The idea for this came from two students from Horkesgath High School who took part in the Youth Science Camp KReateFUTURE. Information about the project

Fact 2: Sustainable building materials

The image shows The Cradle building in Düsseldorf: a geometric facade characterized by striking white X-shaped supports.

Smart cities require a smart construction industry and this in turn requires sustainable building materials. We were already able to find out what this could look like in two zdi interviews:

Julia Krayer on mushrooms as a material
Dr. Nina Woicke about bio-based plastics


A building that can itself serve as a raw material depot and whose building materials can be returned to the cycle (Cradle-to-Cradle principle, C2C for short) can be admired in Düsseldorf: There is The Cradle, an office building that... has already won several awards for its C2C approach. The majority (97,7%) of the building materials used in hybrid wood construction can be reused without any problems. Information about the project


events and campaigns

A lot is coming up in 2024, and everything is under the motto “Smart Cities – Cities as Living Spaces of the Future”. Here you will find information about our events and campaigns that take place throughout North Rhine-Westphalia.

A banner reads "Science League" in front of a sign with a glowing light bulb above it. Below it says "part of zdi.NRW"

Science League

In the new season of the Science League, teams from all over North Rhine-Westphalia compete in an annual task in the MINT sector. The annual task is divided into different game days on which points are collected. The submissions will be evaluated by a jury and of course the winners will receive attractive prizes! The current season deals with the theme: “The Quarter of the Future”

The graphic shows the logo for the zdi robot competition 2024. It shows the motto "Smart Cities - Cities as a living space of the future" and a robot and a dinosaur that are building an intelligent city together.

robot competition

“Smart Cities” is the motto of this year’s robot competition. The competition has been an integral part of zdi.NRW since 2006. Participants gain low-threshold and playful access to computer science as well as interesting careers and courses in this area. The tasks that change every year are always related to the major social challenges of our time - in 2024 this will also be about smart cities.

Drawings of girls performing different jobs, for example as an astronomer, craftswoman or chemist

Heroines October

On our Heroine October topic page we have bundled all the information about the campaign, from 2019 to today, for you.


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zdi robot competition in the Open Robot category

zdi robot competition in the Open Robot category

The last zdi robot competition this year took place at the Burggymnasium in Essen. This article presents the winning teams and their ideas in the Open Robot category.

zdi Science League teams honored

zdi Science League teams honored

The Heriburg-Gymnasium Coesfeld was represented with an impressive five teams in the pilot season of the zdi Science League. They were subsequently awarded for their participation.

zdi-MINTlab: Discover sustainable circular economy in the new school laboratory

zdi-MINTlab: Discover sustainable circular economy in the new school laboratory

Science Minister Ina Brandes officially opened the student laboratory zdi-MINTlab in the SMART RECYCLING FACTORY Pohlsche Heide. The offers of the laboratory deal with the topics of recycling management and environmental technology.

Sustainable energy management during the zdi summer holidays: A look back

Sustainable energy management during the zdi summer holidays: A look back

The zdi networks and student laboratories again had a wide range of hands-on activities and holiday courses to offer this summer. The focus was not only on sustainability topics, but also on the topic of the Science Year 2023 "Our...

In an interview: Julia Krayer from Fraunhofer UMSICHT about mushrooms as sustainable materials

In an interview: Julia Krayer from Fraunhofer UMSICHT about mushrooms as sustainable materials

Julia Krayer from Fraunhofer UMSICHT has been researching how materials made from fungi and plant fibers can be used in the “FungiFacturing” project since 2019. In an interview, she tells us about the special challenges and…


zdi community platform

A woman points to a map on a smartphone. The image is symbolic of the zdi community platform.

It's not just the teams for the robot competitions and the Science League that organize themselves on the zdi community platform. You can also find exciting courses here – both digitally and in person! There are digital courses on the topic, for example Artificial intelligence, which will certainly play an important role in the habitats of the future. Also the Courses from the zdi networks can be found on the community platform.


Join us

Would you like to get involved with events, courses and activities under the motto “Living Spaces of the Future”? Your company is active in the area of ​​urban development and is looking for young talent? Your university is conducting research in this area and would like to offer extracurricular learning opportunities? We are happy to support you! You can find your contact person here:

A group of young women standing around a machine. ©2014 zdi.NRW
©2014 zdi.NRW