Triple I

Integration Challenges on Route to Climate-Neutral Cities of Tomorrow. Vertical, Horizontal and Thematic Integration for Municipal Climate Protection

  • Project no.252763
  • Duration 07/2022 - 06/2023

What does the path to municipal climate neutrality – well before 2050 – look like in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)? Under this overarching question, the scientists in "Triple I" consider the vertical, horizontal and content-related integration of political goals, measures and processes in municipal climate protection. Solving this triple integration challenge is considered an essential condition for achieving climate neutrality goals.

Many cities have set themselves radical goals of climate neutrality by 2030 or 2035. To this end, they have sought advice and received scientific support – in some cases from the Wuppertal Institute – for a corresponding new strategy. Although these new strategies are usually based on existing climate protection concepts, they are much more ambitious in their objectives. This poses new challenges for municipalities, especially regarding the implementation, where drastic measures become necessary, and brings them to their limits. In many municipal transformation projects, which have been accompanied by the scientists of the Wuppertal Institute in recent years, it has become clear: The current conditions hardly allow municipal administrations to achieve their self-imposed climate neutrality goals. On the one hand, they need significantly changed framework conditions at higher political levels. On the other hand, an unwavering commitment to the implementation of necessary measures as well as active contributions from local politicians, every administrative unit, local companies and initiatives, and even local people are required.

In "Triple I", the researchers are therefore investigating

  • the conditions for ambitious, municipal climate protection that must be created at higher political levels – with a special focus on the state level of NRW (vertical integration).
  • the structural, personnel and process adjustments that are necessary in municipal administrations in order to significantly increase the speed of transformation (horizontal integration).
  • the requirements of a systemic or integrated policy design that takes into account synergy potentials and potential conflicting goals of climate neutrality and sustainability with other fields of action and tasks of municipal development (content integration).

Project team




  • Vera und Georg Spahn-Stiftung zur Förderung der Erforschung einer zukunftsfähigen Gestaltung menschlichen Lebens

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