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Smart Cities – urban environments

​Nanomaterials, a variety of applications

Published on 30 January 2017
Three-quarters of Europe's population lives in cities or in the immediate vicinity of a city. The trend towards an increasingly urban population is raising some pressing issues. Amid mounting pressure on resources, a lack of available space and the push for sustainable, socially-inclusive cities, improving the quality of life in our cities is vital.


From reducing energy consumption and increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix to improving communications and physical infrastructures, both nanotechnologies  and nanomaterials are already playing a role in finding solutions, a trend that will gain traction in the future. Nanotechnologies and materials can also contribute to new urban transportation and mobility solutions, improve education and working conditions, and—more broadly—help support better quality of life in our cities.


In the construction industry, for example, catalytic additives are already being used in certain types of concrete and self-cleaning coatings; the additives are also being used to combat urban air pollution. And nanostructured materials are found in multifunctional glazing—a trend that is already here—, enabling products like windows that protect buildings from cold in the winter and heat in the summer. As the implementation of nanostructured materials improves, newly-constructed buildings will offer better heat and noise insulation. Advanced new multifunctional materials are making new residential and commercial building designs possible. These buildings feature smart communications networks and systems to manage resources like energy, heat, water, and waste.