dcsimg Liveable Cities Lab - Ramboll Group

Liveable Cities Lab

The Liveable Cities Lab is Ramboll's innovation and research laboratory, directed by Herbert Dreiseitl, dedicated to support cities in envisioning their future development. Our work addresses global challenges such as demographic changes, urbanization and climate change through a multi- and transdisciplinary approach.

We explore the potentials and conditions that ensure Liveability, including policymaking and good governance: 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?

As an international think-tank we provide solutions to contemporary urban, environmental and social challenges through our unique three-level approach to Liveability: the physical level, where we can provide technical excellence; the social level where we can increase social knowledge, provide space for interaction, and influence good governance; and the cultural level, where we can provide inspiration and contribute to cultural competence.




Ramboll Environ

20 Custom House Street
Suite 800
Boston, MA 02110
T +1 617 946 6100 - Fax +1 617 946 3229
W www.ramboll-environ.com/contact/united-states

Ramboll Liveable Cities Lab

Hofstatt 2-4
88662 Überlingen

E liveable-cities@ramboll.com
W www.ramboll.com/LCL

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

Blue-green infrastructure in our cities

Enhancing Blue-green infrastructure and social performance in high density urban environments

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, and have an impact on the reduction of heat stress, increasing 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 research on the impacts of Blue-green on social performance with a focus on dense 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 Video from the kick-off meeting, held at Zeppelin University in July 2014 gives an overview on the intention of the research and the team from National University of Singapore, Harvard Graduate School of Design, MIT and Zeppelin University. The research was funded by the Ramboll Foundation.


Strengthening Blue-Green Infrastructure in our Cities (FINAL REPORT)

If you would like a digital copy of the report, please email us.

Team Reports Zeppelin University

Enhanced Socio-Economic Analysis of BGI as Urban Innovation
European Center For Sustainability Research
Prof. Dr. Dr. Manfred Moldaschl, Matthias Wörlen

Urban Governance for Livable Cities: Institutional Capacity Building for ‘Blue-Green Infrastructure’ Planning and Development
Prof. Dr. Eckhard Schröter, Dr. Jörg Röber

Team Reports MIT

Boston “Emerald Necklace” Case Study 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Prof. James L. Wescoat Jr., Alex Marks, Karen Noiva, and Smita Rawoot

Mumbai Case Study
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Smita Rawoot, Prof. James L. Wescoat Jr., Karen Noiva, and Alex Marks

Team Reports National University of Singapore, School of Design and Environment

Biophilic Design: Singapores Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and BishanAng Mo Kio Park
Prof. Nirmal Kishnani, Giovanni Cossu

Biodiversity Enhancement & Blue-Green Infrastructure in Cities
Prof. Tan Puay Yok, Cynthia Ng

Team Report Harvard Graduate School of Design

A History of Blue-Green Infrastructure in New York City: Creating the Adaptive City 
Joyce Klein Rosenthal, Evangeline McGlynn

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.


Shaping Landscapes and Human Welfare. Comparative Field Study of the Non-Material Effects of Blue-Green Integration in Singapore
Prof. Herbert Dreiseitl, Oliver D. Tovatt, Bettina Wanschura; Singapore 2015

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park
Prof. Herbert Dreiseitl, Jonathan A. Leonardsen, Bettina Wanschura; Singapore 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

Increasing Seattle's Climate Resilience

Global climate change is loading the dice, making extreme weather events like forest fires and Hurricanes even more intense. Seattle has experienced some of its rainiest and least snowy winters, its hottest and driest summers, and its highest tides on record.

Herbert Dreiseitl recently participated in the Urban Innovations Speakers Series which is part of Town Square - Seattle's Channel series dedicated to connecting people and ideas. panel discussion For more information, click here.

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).


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



2016 ASLA Professional Awards

We proudly announce the win of two Professional Awards from The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) for our visionary landscape and climate adaptation projects in Singapore and Copenhagen.

One 'Honor Award' was given for the redesign of Bishan Ang-Mo Kio Park in Singapore, and one 'Award of Excellence' was given for the concretization of the Copenhagen Cloudburst Mitigation Plan, which is a true collaboration project.

2016 ASLA Professional Awards
Ramboll Young Planners collaborate on urban liveability and capital aspects

Following the establishment of Ramboll’s Young Planners network in Überlingen at the end of May, a group of ten aspiring planners convened for a second summit in Copenhagen last weekend. Hosted by Ramboll’s Liveable Cities Lab (LCL) and Group Director for Planning & Urban Design, Neel Strøbæk, the summit served to reinforce the participants’ understanding and practical application of urban liveability principles and facilitate cross-company collaboration.

The summit brought together representatives from Ramboll in Sweden, Finland, UK, Denmark, Singapore, Water, and Environment & Health covering a range of disciplines from infrastructure design, architecture, landscape planning, land use and water management.


LCL is part of the NATURVATION - A Horizon2020 project

In the face of climate change and increasing environmental, economic and social pressures, sustainable development has become a strategic issue for cities in Europe and around the world. No longer a ‘nice to have’ addition to development-as-usual, urban sustainability has become central to the response to climate change and in enabling growth, security and social well-being.

Nature-based solutions (NBS) are seen to hold significant promise in enabling the urban transition to sustainability. They have potential to provide multiple benefits across the range of sustainability challenges facing cities – from managing flooding to securing improved health outcomes for different groups of society. They offer flexibility in the face of a changing climate. Yet despite their significant potential, the use of NBS remains marginal, fragmented, and highly uneven within and between cities.




The Liveable Cities Lab is engaged in projects around the world. Now we are based in Boston, MA and bringing liveability and resilience to cities across the US.
Climate adaptation study in New York City
Climate adaptation study in New York City
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has selected Ramboll to conduct a best practice study on cloudburst resiliency planning in order...


Please click on the names below to read more about each of the contacts:
Herbert Dreiseitl
Director, Liveable Cities Lab
T+49 151 44006301
Bettina Wanschura, Managing Consultant of Liveable Cities Lab
Managing Consultant
M+49 151 44006304
Senior Managing Consultant
T+1 978 449 0356
Trine Stausgaard Munk
Trine Stausgaard Munk
M.Sc. Geography and Geoinformatics
T+45 5161 2827
John Stewart Frey
John Stewart Frey
Landscape Designer
T+45 51612117
Juan Santa Maria
Urban Designer
T+1 (617) 946-6196