Future Cities - the title of the 2010 eCAADe Conference describes one of the major challenges of the 21st century. The conference theme is a logical evolution from previous years in that it expands the focus of interest from the building to larger scales and higher complexity. The conference contributions describe methods and instruments that were developed in the last three decades and apply them to city and territorial planning. The eCAADe proceedings demonstrate that CAAD research and education of the past prepared the ground for the future and for the increased responsibility of the CAAD community.

The population of cities has developed worldwide from a minority to the majority. Cities are the largest, most complex and most dynamic man-made systems. As vibrant centres of cultural life and of mega events, they are engines that drive local and global economies. However, their growth was in the fewest cases determined by sustainability goals. As a result, contemporary metropolitan territories are often environmentally, socially and economically unsustainable entities placing increasing pressure on the surrounding rural areas. No longer do traditional methods support the planning and managing of large cities - these methods have reached their limits. Parallel to the revolution in the design of buildings, we need a radical re-thinking of the planning, design, development and management process of cities and urban-rural systems. Compared to buildings, urban and rural systems involve a much higher number of stakeholders and decision makers.

We need to study and simulate the effects and side effects of urban-rural planning or re-development much earlier in the process than normally done today. The goal seems clear: the transformation of existing and the planning of new sustainable urban-rural systems. As ordering principles we can build on experiences with building architecture. Complexity, dynamics, scale, and the urban metabolism evolve as promising research and education areas.