Research Unit

Urban Transitions

The Research Unit Urban Transitions develops innovative concepts and instruments implementing sustainable transformation strategies.

Sustainability transformations need to be implemented at local level. With a focus on climate protection, energy, climate change adaptation and sustainability, the Wuppertal Institute's Research Unit Urban Transitions researches, develops, accompanies and supports corresponding approaches at the municipal and regional level. The focus here is on the question which conditions for action, prerequisites and social innovations must be created in order to develop cities towards low carbon, climate-sensitive and resource-efficient paths. Integrated governance concepts and management processes are conceived, potentials are tapped and creativity mobilised under the conditions prevailing on site.
Transdisciplinary research methods are used, which are further developed and adapted according to the respective needs, e.g. systems and actor analyses, visioning and scenario workshops evaluation and monitoring approaches, empirical social research and real experiments.

As "Competence Centre City and Space" the Research Unit is complementary to other units of the Institute with an urban dimension, such as the Research Units Structural Change and Innovation; Systems and Infrastructures (Division Future Energy and Industry Systems); Energy Policy, Mobility and International Cooperation; Mobility and Transport Policy (Division Energy, Transport and Climate Policy); Innovation Laboratories (Division Sustainable Production and Consumption).

to the team


The research activities of the Research Unit Urban Transitions pursue the vision of a low-emission, resilient, climate-sensitive and socially active and innovative city. It supports transformation activities at the municipal and regional level.

Thematic focus

The research fields of the Research Unit Urban Transitions extend to three policy areas: Climate protection/energy, climate change adaptation and sustainability. The focus of the Research Unit is on an integrated view with regard to the following key topics of urban sustainability:

  • Transition of governance
  • Transition of city economics and energy economy
  • Transition of construction and living in buildings and urban districts
  • Transition of land use and residential development


Here you can find projects of the Research Unit: