C5 Utrecht

Smart Sustainable Cities 2017

The challenge of creating Smart Sustainable Cities is looking for you!

An engaging 3 week-long challenge, of 3 ECTS. Together with students from universities of Finland, Germany, the UK and Spain. In this intensive program you will work together to develop viable solutions for the real world. The municipality of Utrecht does need your ideas!  The program involves lectures, visits and interactions with sustainable show cases and allow you to develop your knowledge about sustainability. You will challenge yourself and others in an e-learning environment. You develop project management and communication skills in a European context. And of course, you learn to know the city of Utrecht. With your team you will participate in the international student competition on Transition Zero. The housing is paid by the program. A selection procedure is part of the application procedure. Submit before 15 February.


3 April until 21 April 2017. The apartments are reserved from the 2th of April until the 22th of April.


Full participation in the study program, is valued as 3 ECTS

Schedule Intensive Program of Utrecht:


Day 1: Receiving students and an historical tour through the city.
Day 2: Introduction on Smart Sustainable Cities, introduction on the projects by the municipality, forming the project groups and excursion to the station area of the city of Utrecht
Day 3: Methodology
Day 4: Social Design
Day 5: Presentations students and excursion 2


Day 1: Physical Transition
Day 2: Entrepeneurship
Day 3: Projectmeeting tutor
Day 4: Excursion Amsterdam
Day 5: Students working on their project assignment


Day 1: Eastern
Day 2: Projectmeeting tutor and excursion Sustainable homes
Day 3: Projectmeeting tutor
Day 4: Workshop with expert Smart Sustainable cities
Day 5: Students present their result in concept and prepare the submission for the international student competition


During the whole course, a blended learning environment will offer you a lot of information and tools, about Smart Sustainable Cities. You will work on a wicked problem, given to you by the municipality of Utrecht. A professional team of lecturers will coach you and guide you in the program. As an Erasmus student you have all the facilities to study and work in the university that hosts your program.

Utrecht, The Netherlands: The City of Utrecht is the fourth city in size of the Netherlands (approximately 330.000 inhabitants) and forms part of the larger metropolitan Randstad area in the Netherlands. As Utrecht is a city with approximately 70.000 students, strategic partnerships with educational organizations have formed over the years. Utrecht aims to be a carbon neutral city in 2040. For this different studies in sustainable planning and energy renovation have been executed. But more needs to be done.

The challenges from the municipality:

Utrecht – 1: The city of Utrecht main focus is on household waste collection and increasing the recycling rate for different household fractions (bio-waste, glass, paper, plastics and large sized waste). A next step would be to move to a circular economy in which refurbishment/ remanufacturing, re-use and maintenance of the materials should be a main focus. A strategy for the circular economy has been developed. What possibilities has the area to offer for a circular economy and how can we bring the parties together? Investigate chances for a circular economy from one of the local ‘waste separating stations’ within the near surroundings, which happens to be an area designated (i.a.) for creative industries.

Utrecht – 2: The ambition of Utrecht is be climate neutral in 2030. Most households are heated by gas boilers. Several districts of the city are connected to district heating. Investments in energy distribution network (gas and district heating) are done for 30-50 years and are rolled out as we speak. The municipality has only limited influence in the investments in the energy distribution network. Create an energy strategy for a neighborhood to investigate the possibilities on anticipating the energy transition which is needed (neighborhood can be selected later, depending on the current needs in 2016) including which parties should be brought together

Utrecht – 3: At the moment only 1% of the CO2 emission reduction is through renewable energy production (mostly solar panels and heat cold acquifers), but the amount of solar energy is growing in the city. If the renewable energy production in neighbourhoods is relatively high, problems may occur in the local energy network (congestion and inbalance of the voltage). A more flexible energy system could avoid large investments in the local energy network. Demand side management and increased energy storage in the neighbourhood could provide solutions for a more flexible energy system. Find out which solutions for increasing the flexibility of the local energy network in a specific neighborhood are possible?

Utrecht – 4: The ambition of Utrecht is to climate neutral in 2030. As Utrecht doesn’t have large industries, the focus is on improving the energy efficiency in the built environment. Upscaling and speeding up deep energy renovation in housing is the biggest challenge. To stimulate market uptake Utrecht collaborates in a regional ambition to retrofit 50.0000 existing buildings for net-zero energy housing by the year 2020. Today 200 subsidized housing units have been retrofitted to significantly improve energy performance. Design a plan to transform an existing neighbourhood (can be selected later, depending on the current needs in 2016) into a zero energy net residential area within 15 years from now.

The student competition:

Click here for the website of the challenge.

How to submit:

Choose for Utrecht and send a mail to show your interest to the contact person of your own university.


For Turku students: Jenni Suominen

For UPV students: Javier Orozco Messanen

For HAW students: Tobias Held

For MMU students: Susan Baines

In the mail you have to mention: your study, your age, your studentnumber and the city of your choise.

Do this before the 15th of February.