Riitta Konkola and Klaus Semlinger

The role of higher education institutions is ever-changing. Our mission is not solely to teach and research – we are expected to interact with and advance the society. All higher education institutions must create an impact within the environment they are located in. HTW Berlin and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences both operate in the capitals of our countries, Berlin and Helsinki being also the largest cities of Germany and Finland. Our responsibility is to join the creation of better big cities and to increase inclusiveness within education, research and city development.

Universities of applied sciences enable transmission of knowledge in interaction with others. Open innovation and transparent partnerships are the key for finding solutions on the complex societal challenges. We must, however, be prepared to constantly challenge ourselves in broad-mindedness to be open for new ideas, influences and methods of collaboration. The great asset we fortunately have in pursuing for this goal are our students. They are put in the middle of co-creation, innovation, development and applied research in order to ensure all participants the richest variety of perspectives and the most non- conformist visions for the future.

There are two parts in the publication – first part is Collaboration and Partnerships and the second part Future City Challenges. What can be seen from the articles are the limitless possibilities arising from the multidisciplinary nature and high expertise of the both organizations. Because of this, the strategic partnership between HTW Berlin and Metropolia definitely continues as fruitful, and we are bettering our capital areas together.

As presidents of our two universities of applied sciences we cordially thank the editor for taking over the task of co-ordinating and managing the entire process for both institutions. We are happy to salute this publication as one step further to share ideas, knowledge and know-how with all our collaborators!