80 per cent of global anthropogenic climate gases are emitted in cities. Most resources are consumed in urban areas since around half of the global population lives in cities – with an upward tendency. It is here that sustainability challenges manifest themselves in high intensity and diversity. In addition, cities are central places of change and a starting point for technological and social innovations.
Long-lived infrastructures are concentrated in cities. They need to be redesigned if we are to achieve sustainable energy supplies and a resource-light society. The density of stakeholders in cities makes it possible to combine new technological solutions, lifestyles and local identity with new business models. Since 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic marks a turning point – politically, economically, socially, and individually. Therefore, the future of cities and their links to the surrounding areas must be reconceptualised. The greatest challenge and focus here is on the sustainable, resilient city and its development.
Transition strategies for cities combine scenarios of technological conversion with social and ecological visions for sustainable urban development. Cities become "real-world laboratories" for research both examining and supporting sustainable development. Different strategies can be combined and studied in an integrated fashion: climate and resource protection, climate adaptation, the conversion of energy systems and transport infrastructures, new models of production and consumption.
The geographic setting of our institute gives us a rewarding research environment. Working closely with the city of Wuppertal and all its stakeholders has always been part of our research.
North Rhine-Westfalia and the towns and cities of the old industrial Ruhr area are facing the challenge of locally implementing the Energiewende and contributing to regional and national climate commitments. At the same time they are in the middle of a deep transformation; the economy, demography and social makeup of the region are changing noticeably. Together with our partners the Wuppertal Institute is applying its integrative approach to these challenges.
In addition, we cooperate with cities and regions throughout Germany plus international and interdisciplinary research networks with a transdisciplinary approach. The integrative approach aims at a deeper understanding of the synergies and conflicting goals of ecological and social urban development, energy and resource aspects as well as requirements for buildings, mobility, economy, and open space design.
Many cities have developed strategies for a green and socially acceptable future. Convening and linking up knowledge of stakeholders and science is key for making this transformation possible.
The research on changing cities and urbanity focuses on Wuppertal and the Ruhr area of Northrhine-Westphalia:
Here you can find up-to-date information on research findings and activities in the field of changing cities and urbanity.
You find all scientific publications on our publication server:
Selected projects in the field of changing cities and urbanity. In the following you find selected sample projects. A complete list is available here.