In the coming decades important geographical, demographical and environmental changes will take place in the urban environment. The rate of urbanization is increasing rapidly, the age structure of the urban population is shifting towards more elderly people, and environmental pressures in especially urban areas are increasing. These changes challenge us to develop integrated sustainable solutions for economic, social and environment problems in urban areas.
HEI’s and cities work together
To optimize solutions, a tight cooperation between HEI’s (Higher Education Institutes) and local authorities is needed. The need for a transition towards more sustainable cities requires a reinforcement of academic programs that educate professionals being able to develop viable solutions for creating smart sustainable cities. The cooperation of universities and municipalities will result at the end in local changes. Regions will learn from each other’s approaches and universities learn to work together on societal challenges. ESSENCE will be the first time that these five HEI’s and three municipalities work together in an international project.