Mexico has been facing enormous challenges due to climate change: from extreme weather events to severe droughts, in combination with a rapid urbanization process. The country´s ability to adapt is being tested and will require innovative strategies. Growing metropolitan areas across its territory are in dire need of new tools, such as urban labs, in order to learn how to face this unprecedented change.

In mid-June the “Morgenstadt: Global Smart Cities Initiative” was successfully launched in Mexico. The City Lab Saltillo, established in one of the oldest settlements of northern Mexico, had its official kick-off event with the active participation of multiple communities, such as academia, business, entrepreneurs, students, government and the German embassy. Saltillo´s Municipal Planning Institute is the anchoring institution partnering with Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico´s National Autonomous University (UNAM) and Saltillo Institute of Technology. The project is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of Germany´s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety, coordinated by the University of Stuttgart together with the Fraunhofer Institute. This proposal seeks to respond to global trends such as climate change and the great digital transformation, among others, which require local responses where cities play a crucial role.

The “Morgenstadt” methodology of the Fraunhofer Society integrates technological innovations, urban development and social and environmental premises to consolidate sustainable and inclusive cities. This global project integrates three cities around the world under the “City Labs” format. The participating cities are: in Asia, the city of Cochin in India, and in Latin America the city of Saltillo in Mexico, and the city of Piura in Peru. With a group of global experts, the sustainability profile of the participating cities will be analyzed to determine their priority areas, opportunities and critical areas that require innovative responses, where traditional urban development cycles are no longer adequate. The city is analyzed as a complex adaptive system where government, business, academia and citizens can co-design a route to a more sustainable future. Beginning in December 2018 and ending in November 2021, this project will strengthen local capacities for sustainability, through workshops and webinars with experts in the different areas covered, involving academic partners for the creation and management of the knowledge produced, with the objective of contributing to the formulation of intelligent national policies.