Dense and Green Cities

Emerging Models of Sustainable Integrated Development explores sustainable integrated districts (SIDs) as models for high-density high- liveability future cities by studying urban innovations and systems solutions that are deployed and integrated at the district scale. Important aspects of the system performance of SIDs are captured by an interdisciplinary team of researchers that works closely with important stakeholders from government agencies and industry.

Emerging Models of Integrated Urban Development

Contemporary urban planning and design practice is increasingly exploring the development of sustainable integrated districts (SIDs) as a model for high-​density high-​liveability in future cities. SIDs aim to fully realise the potential of urban innovations and systems solutions by deploying and integrating them at the district scale. Density and sustainability in SIDs are seen as mutually dependent and synergistic.

In addition, SIDs often serve as a test bed for examining a place-based approach to governance arrangements. The place-based approach focuses on strengthening local human capacity – through collaboration and mutual learning – among the diverse stakeholders that are involved in planning and implementing the SIDs.

This research module investigates and evaluates currently ongoing and planned examples of such developments through case studies in Europe and Asia. These include Altstetten-Albisrieden, Zurich, Switzerland; and one-​north, Singapore as primary case studies as well as Jurong Lake District and Punggol Town/Digital District, Singapore; Zuidas, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; King's Cross Central, London, UK and Waterfront Toronto, Canada, as possible additional case studies.

This research captures important aspects of the urban planning and design, architectural, social, environmental, economic and governance systems performance of the selected cases systematically through work packages led by an interdisciplinary team of architects, engineers and scientists and close collaboration with competent stakeholders from government agencies and industry.

The research allows for the evaluation, comparison, and mutual learning regarding how SIDs are planned and realised in different settlement systems (with a focus on Concentrated Settlement Systems) and different climate zones. The emphasis of the research will be on Zurich and Singapore, two cities that both rank highly on liveability indexes and that are characterised by a world-class, vibrant urban research and design culture yet resulting from different governance approaches.

Building on the results of the previous two FCL phases, the research expands the knowledge of SIDs as an effective model for future urban development and transformation. In addition to identifying the factors for the successful implementation of SIDs, this module also examines planning instruments and governance arrangements that enable such developments in different socio-spatial contexts.

External Content

FCL Global Conference 2023 Exhibition

Exhibition content of Dense and Green Cities displayed as an interactive table exhibit in ETH Zurich.

Read more Published 28. February 2024 (Updated 1 month ago)

External Content

The USS R&D Congress Science of Cities Symposium 2023

The document is a brief report on the event summarising the event details, attendees and content of the different sessions.

Read more Published 28. February 2024

Outputs & Media

Altstetten / Albisrieden, Zürich
Altstetten-Albisrieden is a district west of Zürich. It covers 12.1 km2 and extends from the Limmat River to the Uetiliberg Foothills. The district relies on its natural geographic conditions and furnishes rich green spaces following the concept of a “Garden City” that has been promoted since the 1930s. Its diversity in building typology, residency and community provides a good testbed for future urban transformation, focusing on densification, optimizing spatial connectivity and greenery provision.
Jurong Lake District, Singapore
Jurong Lake District is being planned as the biggest business district in Singapore outside of the central area. It consists of Jurong Gateway—an existing commercial hub situated around Jurong East metro station—Jurong Lake Gardens, and a newly planned mixed-use precinct that will comprise office spaces, residences, and retail. The research focusses on the existing part of Jurong Lake district: Jurong Gateway. Occupying a total area of 70 hectares, Jurong Gateway district offers a mix of office, retail, and other complementary uses. Many buildings in the district are connected by elevated pedestrian bridges and street connections called the J-Walk network.
King's Cross Central, London
King’s Cross Central is a high-density development located in north London, along either side of Euston Road. The area is mainly shaped by the East Coast Main Line railway, High Speed 1 railway line and York Way. Being one of the largest urban redevelopments in London, King’s Cross was transformed and rejuvenated from a well-connected idyll brownfield into a thriving mixed-use cultural and business centre. The whole area is served by the two main rail termini, St Pancras and King’s Cross. Public routes and open spaces cover one-third of the site. Twenty historic buildings and structures were restored and refurbished, and more than 2,000 residential units are provided in the area.
Matanza Riachuelo, Buenos Aires
The case study at Matanza Riachuelo focuses on Commune 8 of Buenos Aires City, consisting of three neighbourhoods: Villa Soldati, Villa Lugano and Villa Riachuelo. Commune 8 is located in the southwest of the city with an area of 21.9 square kilometres. It is the largest district with the least population density in the city. The Commune 8 area belongs to the landscape of Paso de Burgos, which was influenced by floods. Since the 1960s, some large-scale housing complexes were built, and the Premetro connecting with the city centre started to operate to populate the area. So far, the commune homes more than 204,000 people. Most of the surface is covered by the Autodromo racetrack, public parks and green spaces, such as Park Roca, the Park of the City and the Indo-American Park and a set of sports clubs and associations.
One-North, Singapore
one-north Singapore is a research and business park in southern Singapore planned as a hub for innovation and urban technology test-bedding. The 200-hectare development houses corporations, start-ups, and emerging industries in sectors including the biomedical sciences, info-communications technology, media, science and engineering. It is planned as a vibrant ‘work, live, play, and learn’ environment preserving much of its topography and with a linear park connecting its many clusters.
Read more
The Zuidas, Amsterdam
The Zuidas, also known as the ‘South Axis’ of Amsterdam, is the biggest and one of the most ambitious urban development projects in the Netherlands. The project lies on both sides of the highway, Ringweg Zuid, heading to Schiphol’s international airport. The project aims to be a new economic international oriented business and city centre within the Dutch context. During the last few decades, the area experienced various infrastructure investments in road and rail and resulting in improvements in external and internal accessibility and a rapid economic boom, which raises the public expectations of the Zuidas project as a new dynamic and lively urban centre. The latest master plan of the project proposes to realise approximately 1.1 million square metres of office spaces, 1.1 million square metres of residential buildings and 0.5 million square metres of facilities within 30 years.
City of Zurich Advisor
Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) Advisor
Dreiseitl Consulting Advisor
Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) Advisor
National Parks Board Advisor
Snohetta Architects Expression Of Interest
Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Advisor
WOHA Advisor

Research Team

Future Cities Laboratory Global

Welcome to FCL Global, an interdisciplinary research programme that seeks to address the worldwide circumstances of rapid urbanisation. Our ultimate goal is to promote more equitable and livable urban futures, by bringing together Science, Design, Engineering and Governance.

Contact Us

Stay informed

Visit the outreach section to stay on top of on recent news, developments, publications and upcoming events at Future Cities Laboratory Global.


Newsletter Signup