FCL Global is structured around a complementary set of problem-based research modules, each with expertise in science, design, engineering and governance. Modules are clustered thematically, and also linked by virtue of complementary expertise, approach, or scale of research.


Cycles & Districts

This cluster focuses on the improvement of material processes (digital fabrication, energy generation, building material reuse) involved in sustainable construction and habitation of high-density settlements at building and city-district scales.

Circular Future Cities

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A transition to a circular economy, in which used materials may become valuable resources for a new production cycle, is urgently needed. This project aims to develop integrated frameworks and tools based on advanced digital technology for informing the design, construction and management of circular buildings and deploying more effective resource solutions. It addresses the questions of which contributions future circular cities can make to lower adverse environmental impacts and how to derive tailored, site-specific system solutions for sustainable housing.

Dense and Green Cities

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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.

Powering the City

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The objective of this module is to efficiently reduce energy consumption and to increase solar energy production in cities while minimizing total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The research includes the development of holistic, multi-scale and interdisciplinary approaches for assessing large scale deployment of (building integrated) photovoltaic in realistic urban contexts under different climatic, socio-economic and architectural conditions. Zurich and Singapore are used as complementary case studies and we are interacting with public stakeholders and agencies to directly apply research into practice by receiving feedback and providing training on toolboxes developed.

Urban BioCycles Mycelium Digitalisation

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This module aims to develop new sustainable technologies by combining composite materials that comprise cultivated, grown and harvested natural resources with digital fabrication methods. Mycelium material grown from fungi is one of the materials of choice for this enterprise, as well as subtractive processes and 3D-printing (3DP). Along with materials and fabrication, a careful assessment of the sustainability and likelihood for application in the construction sector is studied.

Infrastructure & Ecologies

This cluster focuses on the connective tissue of settlement systems (roads, rail, ports and airports, waterways) and their transformative effects on land use patterns, working at city-district, the sea-city interface, regional and transnational scales.

Adaptive Mobility, Land Use and Infrastructure

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This project aims to integrate mobility, land use and infrastructure into a resilient, adaptive system that responds to changing needs, through a three-pronged approach. Social network surveys will monitor and examine the activity chains that generate demand for mobility. Second, novel modelling techniques will be developed to handle the unique challenges posed by the fast-changing and dynamic nature of cities through adaptive systems, that can respond to disruptions almost in real-time. Finally, exploratory modelling, decision-making under uncertainty methods (e.g. real-options) and optimization methods will be employed to formulate adaptive plans that can response respond to long-term changes. Our research endeavours span the global scope, with a particular emphasis on contributing to the development of Singapore and Zurich. Our ultimate objective is to develop adaptive plans that can effectively navigate uncertainties and lead to long-term desirable outcomes aligned with carbon neutrality and/or the 45-Minute City targets by 2050.

Comparative Ecology of Cities

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The inevitability of increasing urbanization and the attendant problems it creates place an urgent demand on our ability to shape current and future urban development using a science-based approach to urban planning. The project is centred on the proposition that urban pattern-process-function relationships provide valuable knowledge to advance the science of urban planning, but this has thus far remained relatively unexplored and under - utilized in practice.

The Sea-​City Interface

This module focuses on mitigating climate impacts at the sea-city fringes in rapidly urbanising cities in tropical Asia. Firstly, it studies measures to mitigate climate change and its effects through urban design and planning (concept plan), environmental science, and biomimicry technology to capture, absorb, store and remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Secondly, it develops practical and scalable nature-based approaches to mitigate the effects of climate change and rising seas through urban design and biophilic approaches for water-sensitive design. Thirdly, it studies the interplay between climate change, an ageing population, and emerging economic developments, promoting current and future liveability.

Food & Territories

This cluster focuses on emergent edge-city and hinterland regions, to integrate food production, water management, ecosystem services, hybrid land uses and biodiversity in sustainable extended urbanisation.

Agropolitan Territories of Monsoon Asia

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The Agropolitan Territories module addresses the unsustainable relationship between urbanisation and food production in monsoon Asia. Globally, urban land expansion is consuming fertile agricultural land at unprecedented rates. Simultaneously, the industrialised agricultural practices developed to meet the food needs of urbanised populations are placing pressure on a range of ecological systems. The module is developing an 'agropolitan' outlook to this challenge, foregrounding the inter-dependence of future cities and future agriculture. It is doing so by developing transdisciplinary and multi-scaled approaches to data collection and analysis, dynamic planning support tools, and designs and prototypes for sustainable agropolitan territories.

Potential Agriterritories: Agrarian Questions under Planetary Urbanisation and Agroecological Transitions

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Through analysis of several case studies in Europe and Asia, the project aims at a better understanding of processes of extended urbanisation in agricultural territories, exploring their characteristics, outlining potentials for agroecological transitions, and formulating concrete design strategies and governance models. The interdisciplinary module contains work packages covering the sustainable agroecological design and governance arrangements, novel soil ecologies, nature's contributions to people, and the impact of renewable energy extraction in agricultural territories.

Resilient blue-green infrastructures

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The overall goal of the module is to design and plan functioning blue and green infrastructures, which not only improve urban water efficiency and reduce flooding, but also support local food production, mitigate heat island effects, increase water pollution control, recreation, biodiversity, and ultimately provide jobs for and a higher life quality of citizens. By securing and/or introducing these nature-based (green) stormwater managements (blue) in the urban fabric, we expect the hinterlands to become more resilient to climate change and population growth.

Integration & Strategies

This cluster focuses on the development of innovative cyber-physical design processes (cognitive, collaborative, participatory, digitally-enhanced) by which the forms, patterns and functions of settlement systems may be arranged in sustainable ways.

Architectural Cognition in Practice

This research embeds architectural cognition into the architecture and urban design process, through an iterative process of interactions between scientists and architecture practitioners, to actively shape key design decisions at different design stages. Behavioural studies are combined with design research to understand how architects/designers utilise information about end-users while employing researcher secondments and refining design-support tools (from educational materials to simulations) to improve the design process and outcomes. Comparative analysis of case studies in Singapore, Zurich, and Sarajevo provide variation in parameters such as building and urban design typologies, urban density, and social, cultural and climatic conditions, to contribute to context-specific as well as generalisable research outputs.

Resource-Efficient Urban Intensification

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This project derives resource-efficient urban intensification strategies that are based on a deeper understanding of the human activity in the built space. The project couples urban science (complexity science, urban economics and machine learning) with urban planning and design, which so far have been rather separated streams. This allows for the development of well-informed and place-specific planning and design interventions to sustain and enhance socio-spatial interactions in densifying urban environments. These measures will allow the functioning of densifying cities in a resource-saving way but also make urban environments more vital for its residents.

Semantic Urban Elements: Linking Urban Analytics, Design, and Usage for Cyber-Physical Cities

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Cities are dynamic systems with multi-scaled dependencies. Yet, current practices of urban analytics, design, and usage are static and misaligned with the emerging life and virtualisation of the city, being in permanent flux. The emergence of big open urban data, knowledge graphs, Artificial Intelligence (AI), crowdsourcing methods, and the possibility of perpetually adjustable parameters demand a new mode of analysing, designing, and governing the city. The project asks how geo-data science, Semantic Web Technologies (SWT) applied to urban design and Computational Social Science approaches can be harnessed to achieve sustainable, resilient, and liveable cities.

Tools & Platforms

This cluster groups various software development efforts at FCL Global to create and maintain a suite of desktop applications, web services, software addons, plugins and processing pipelines. We aim to unify and merge the functionality of new and existing software into a universal frontend and standardized processing middleware to provide a complete, open-source platform.

Engagement Platform

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The Engagement Platform is a cyber-physical space which supports and disseminates the vision, narrative and values of Future Cities Laboratory Global.

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.

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