Research Unit

Urban Transitions

The Research Unit Urban Transitions develops innovative concepts and instruments that implement 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 levels. The focus here is on the question as to which conditions for action, prerequisites and social innovations have to be established in order to develop cities towards low carbon, climate-sensitive and resource-efficient paths. Integrated governance concepts and management processes are conceived, potentials 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 requirements, e.g. systems and actor analyses, visioning workshops and scenario methods, evaluations, 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 Labs (Division Sustainable Production and Consumption).

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 levels.

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 perspective regarding 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
Profile: Research Unit Urban Transitions


Here you can find projects of the Research Unit:

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