Post‐fossil cities


In order to successfully implement Agenda 2030 and the climate protection targets of the Paris Agreement, a massive conversion of urban space infrastructure is needed. This project makes it possible for relevant players to experience the necessary processes in a computer supported simulation game.

Project description (ongoing research project)

In order to identify potential development paths towards post-fossil cities in the context of “Swiss City 2050” (a fictional city in the Swiss Central Plateau in 2050 with zero fossil carbon), we aim to develop, test and apply a simulation game. Developing a generic simulation game that combines computer simulation and role play elements will be based on the “design science research” methodology in  an iterative process over a period of two years, involving experts from the areas of urban planning, engineering science and materials science. In the second phase, that will last for 18 months, we will run the simulation game in two series with various ecological and social framework conditions.


In the 21st century, urban space will be the central organisational form of society. The construction, renewal and operation of the necessary infrastructure go hand in hand with significant burdens for the natural environment. Achieving the objectives of Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement will call for the active involvement of the relevant players. Simulation games provide an opportunity for this in that potential development paths can be tested and experienced in a playful manner and verified in terms of their feasibility.


The aim of this project is to develop a simulation game based on databases and models, and to build on these in order to identify and evaluate potential development paths towards a post-fossil city. In particular, their impacts on social metabolism should be rendered visible and conflicts between the involved players in the game should be revealed.


Upon completion of the project, a simulation game will be available which will enable social players to experience the impacts of their decisions in the context of the transition to a post-fossil city and to proactively reflect on their role in such a transition. Within Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, the project will contribute towards goals nos. 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production) and 13 (climate action).

Original title

Constraint Aware Pathways to the Post-Fossil Swiss City (CAPATHITY)

Project leaders

Project leaders

  • Dr. Patrick Wäger, Empa
  • Prof. Dr. Lorenz Hilty, Institut für Informatik, Universität Zürich
  • Prof. Dr. Daniel Müller, Department of Energy and Process Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Project partner

  • Dr. Markus Ulrich, UCS Ulrich Creative Simulations GmbH, Zürich
  • Prof. Dr. Susanne Kytzia, Institut für Bau und Umwelt, Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil (from 01.01.2019)



Further information on this content



Dr. Patrick Wäger Empa Lerchenfeldstrasse 5 9014 St. Gallen +41 58 765 78 45

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