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Liveable Cities Lab

The Liveable Cities Lab (LCL) is a laboratory dedicated to support cities by envisioning the future development. We do this by addressing global challenges such as demographic changes, urbanisation and climate change through a multi- and trans-disciplinary approach. 

Half of the world’s inhabitants – close to 3.6 billion people – live in urban areas. The number is increasing steadily. How do we make these cities sustainable and at the same time improve the quality of life?

The Liveable Cities Lab explores the potentials and conditions that ensure liveability including policymaking and good governance as how to bring best value to the society, create a culture of inspiration and implement better-integrated urban infrastructures and design tools for managing global challenges and environment-related risks.


What does Liveability mean?

Liveability describes the frame conditions of a decent life for all inhabitants of cities, regions and communities including their physical and mental wellbeing. Liveability is based on the principle of sustainability and smart and thus is sensitive to nature and the protection of its resource. The special focus to improve Liveability is to take all dimensions that are relevant to Liveability into account: the physical, the social and the cultural. We start from our global perspective but are most sensitive about the specifics and characteristics of the local situation. A local approach is crucial for Liveability.

How can we create Liveability?

Depending on the existing frame-conditions in a specific city, designers and engineers need to adapt and provide different solutions, keeping in mind that solutions always have to pay attention to the development on all of the three liveability levels, in order to gain a deep improvement. Integrated thinking is the future for liveable cities.

What Liveable Cities Lab provides

The Liveable Cities Lab recognises the challenge to implement (or even advice) and intervene to all the areas of action and their elements to the same degree due to scale, stakeholder influence, or the age and culture of the city. To retain its experimental component the LCL addresses many different projects to understand and respond to current urban challenges, with the target to frame the conditions where change can come in.


Art of integration

The concept of integrative thinking shows LCL's approach to the realisation of liveable cities and goes beyond sustainability. The three main objectives are the physical, like buildings or open space; the social, like how to live together; and the cultural sphere, which touches on the relationships to the surrounding and our roots. However, to achieve liveability we need good governance structures and holistic urban planning. Finally economy is a driving force towards or against liveability.

From silo-thinking to integrated planning

LCL research on Blue-Green Infrastructure

Blue-green infrastructure is a network providing the ingredients for solving urban and climate challenges by building with nature. The main components of this approach include storm water management, climate change adaptation, less heat stress, more biodiversity, food production, better air quality, sustainable energy production, clean water and healthy soils, as well as more anthropocentric functions such as increased quality of life through recreation and blue-green areas in cities and regions.

The Liveable Cities Lab put together a team of researchers to make a proposal to the Ramboll Foundation on “Blue-green and social performance in high-density urban environments”. This research primarily deals with the development and the identification of measures to improve the urban blue-green infrastructure and the related positive side effects on the urban quality of life. The aim is to identify best practices and lessons learned and provide guidelines, which can be used by city decision makers in general and urban water stakeholders in particular. By doing so this research will contribute to increase the status of urban liveability globally.

The kick-off meeting was held at Zeppelin University in July 2014 and a midterm meeting in Singapore in February 2015. The research teams from National University of Singapore, Harvard Graduate School of Design, MIT and Zeppelin University will meet again for a summer conference to discuss and finalize the results, which will be published in spring 2016.

Cost-benefit analysis on blue-green infrastructure in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Singapore

Research for sustainability in the field of architecture and urban design mostly covers the aspects of ecology and social issues. Sometimes even cultural sustainability comes into play. But when it comes to a profound argumentation for blue-green infrastructures decision makers mostly look for profound arguments about the economic benefits. As today cost-efficiency is on the planners´ daily agenda, the know-how on economical aspects of urban planning projects has to increase dramatically in order to promote sustainable urban development.

The research was granted by the Research Fund of the Ministry of National Development and will be finalized in fall 2015.

LCL research on the Definition of Liveability

LCL commissioned Leibniz University of Hannover to gain an academic perspective on the definition of Liveability. Based on these results LCL continues to refine this definition continuously.


Read more

Udaipus city
Udaipur Design Studio

The City of Udaipur, India, is looking for better solutions to improve the quality of its performance to be a more smart and liveable city. Prof. Herbert Dreiseitl's studio at National University of Singapore in cooperation with Ramboll explored the status of Udaipur´s liveability and how it can be improved by using tools of an integrated approach to landscape architecture with a strong focus on Blue-Green Infrastructure Design, Mobility and open spaces. Working in places like in India forces us to have a high sensibility for the specific culture of the spot.

Video NUS-Studio results >>

Logo Nationale Stadt Entwicklungs Politik
The Liveable City

Read more about Herbert Dreiseitl's talk on Liveable Cities at the 9th Federal Congress on National Urban Development Policy in Leipzig (Germany).

Liveable and sustainable cities (in German)


The King's Garden, in central Copenhagen
Cities for people

Cities are the leading source of global economic growth, resource consumption and carbon gas emissions. Urban superpower in the 21st century is all about human capital. But how do cities attract the right people? Liveability is part of the answer.

Cities for people
Research team at Zeppelin University, Germany
Research project to boost urban liveability

A team of the world’s leading researchers within urban development has joined forces in a new project aimed at improving life in cities.

Ramboll’s Liveable Cities Lab spearheads the initiative


Liveable Cities brochure
Liveable Cities brochure

Cities have become the engines of economic prosperity and development. Over the next two decades, it is estimated that the global middle class will expand by another three billion people. Ramboll helps cities become more liveable and improve their competitive edge through a full suite of competencies necessary to provide a holistic, cutting-edge city offering.

Developing liveable cities
The ambitious Chicago Lakeside project is taking sustainability-focused urban development in the US to new levels. Visualisation: Skidmore, Owings & Merril LLP/MIR
Related services

Planning & Urban Design


Past events

Event name
More information
12 November 2015
Smart Cities in India
Copenhagen, Denmark
With India aiming to invest DKK 48bn in smart cities over the next 5 years, come and learn more about the associated Danish-India business agenda. Download the event programme for further details. For sign-up and further details, please contact Neel Strøbæk.
25 November 2015
Liveable Bristol, Green Capital Reception
Bristol, UK
Keynote addresses from Bristol Mayor George Ferguson and Ramboll Liveable Cities Lab's Managing Consultant Bettina Wanschura, the reception will offer inspiration on how cities can be drivers of change, and explore new approaches that can deliver improved sustainability and liveability in Bristol.
30 November 2015
Eawag Switzerland
Zurich, Switzerland
Seminar with Herbert Dreiseitl
16 December 2015
Water and Climate - From Threats to Opportunities of Liveable Cities Development
HafenCity University Hamburg

Talk by Herbert Dreiseitl

Time: 18:30-20:00
Location: HafenCity University, auditorium 200, 1st floor


Please click on the names below to read more about each of the contacts:
Herbert Dreiseitl
Director, Liveable Cities Lab
T+49 7551 308330
Bettina Wanschura, Managing Consultant of Liveable Cities Lab
Managing Consultant
T+49 7551 30833-304
Krister Jens
T+49 7551 30833-303



Ramboll Liveable Cities Lab

Nußdorfer Straße 9
88662 Überlingen
T +49 7551 30833-0
E liveable-cities@ramboll.com
W www.ramboll.com/LCL