Looking back, 2022 was an exciting year for our research group. Dr. Rizal Sebastian was appointed as professor at The Hague University of Applied Sciences and senior advisor to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO. Under the new name Future Urban Systems (FUS), Rizal has rejuvenated the research chair that was originally established by emeritus professor Dr. Karel Mulder over 6 years ago. Using an analogy of an egg, the vision, focus and strategy of FUS have been defined; the synergies with the knowledge domain Built Environment and other research groups have been strengthened; and the team has been extended.

Research on Future Urban Systems (FUS) aims at an inclusive approach towards liveable, climate-neutral, and productive smart cities. FUS addresses the people, planet, and prosperity aspects in general, and the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 11) for ‘sustainable cities and communities’ in particular. FUS focuses on the challenges for the sustainable transitions to renewable energy, climate neutrality, and circular construction at urban neighbourhoods and districts.


Digitalisation is at the centre of FUS research strategy as it is the key enabler for making sustainable transitions. With digitalisation, FUS aims to realise smart cities with digital connectivity between the inhabitants, buildings, and urban infrastructures; adaptability to the changing user needs and climate; and self-optimisation capabilities of the urban systems. FUS implementation strategy relies on the living lab methodology where citizens, enterprises, governments, and academia altogether are actively involved in applied research, practice, and education.


For achieving its aim and research strategy, FUS benefits from direct collaborations with the other research chairs in the Centre of Expertise Mission Zero at The Hague University, as well as the network and cooperation with the NL-GO national platform for professors of applied science in the Built Environment. FUS is also partnering with the universities of technology in the Netherlands through the network of 4TU.Bouw Digitalisation.

Research team

At present, FUS has a complete research team consisting of Dr. Rizal Sebastian (professor of applied science), Lucas Mastenbroek MSc (management assistant and graduate in industrial ecology), Cees Verweij MSc (lecturer and researcher in smart buildings and cities), Dr. Maikel Maloncy (lecturer and researcher in process engineering and urban waste management), Fred Zoller BSc (lecturer and researcher in mechanical engineering and energy communities), Jacco Bruil MSc (lecturer and researcher in architecture, climate and nature), Helen van Broekhuijsen MSc (lecturer and researcher in building technology, renovation and restoration), Atasi Bhattacharjee MSc (researcher and lecturer in sustainable buildings, energy and waste management), and Noelle Choong (research assistant and student mechanical engineering). In addition, Dr. Karel Mulder (emeritus professor in Urban Metabolism), Dr. Laura Stevens (lecturer and researcher in biomimicry, landscape architecture, and product design), and Sabine Eijlander MSc (architect and project manager) remain associated with the research group.

Techathon 2022

National challenge Techathon 2022

A notable achievement in 2022 was winning the national challenge Techathon 2022 where the team of students from The Hague University and MBO Rijnland together with young professionals from CroonWolter&Droos developed and presented the idea of Digital Twins for the sustainable neighbourhood transformation of the Hoefkwartier in Amersfoort. After being invited to give a presentation to the Amersfoort City Council last year, we are looking forward to the meeting with the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations of Netherlands (Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties/MinBZK) in February 2023. We are exploring opportunities for the further study and implementation of the innovative ideas.

The practical impacts of digitalisation for research and education in sustainable built environment are underlined in the knowledge dissemination campaign The Month of Digitalisation’. Digitalisation will be highlighted further at the national event 'DigiGO Open Spaces’ to be hosted by The Hague University on 14 April 2023.

We are making impacts through applied research on sustainable and smart cities and new knowledge development for education and practice. FUS is currently involved in the Dutch and European research initiatives under the NWO/SIA, Horizon Europe, EU Interreg, and EU JPI Driving Urban Transitions innovation programmes. As part of the core team of the NL-GO platform, FUS also contributes to the Dutch top sector knowledge and innovation TKI Bouw & Techniek. Within the region where The Hague University is located, FUS is involved in the initiatives of the municipality and the provincial governments in relation with smart cities, energy transition, and environmental footprints minimisation of the built environment.

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Future Urban Systems

Save the date!

13 April 2023 in The Hague: Inauguration of the Professor and Research Group Future Urban Systems