Cities:Change &Urbanity

80 percent 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. Yet cities are usually also where social change originates.

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 with lifestyles, local identity and new business models.

Urban spaces
Urban spaces are changing through vertical gardens, greening of fassades and integrated green spaces in cities. The Wuppertal Institute researches what is important for a transition towards more ecologically sustainable cities.
Visionary Transformative Scenarios

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 action strategies can be combined and studied in an integrated fashion: climate and resource protection, climate adaptation, the conversion of energy systems, new models of production and consumption.

Learning from each other: Chinese and German cities

Elements of such integrated urban development were developed for the Chinese city of Wuxi and the German region around Düsseldorf. The Wuppertal Institute worked closely with policy makers and administrators to establish a dialogue between the two regions. Both cities were prepared to become leaders on the way towards a sustainable future, engaging in mutual learning.

Wuppertal and Northrhine-Westfalia

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.

Northrine-Westfalia and the towns and cities of the old industrial Ruhr area are facing the challenge of locally implementing the Energiewende und 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.

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.

Anja Bierwirth
Head of Research Unit Urban Transitions in the Division Energy, Transport and Climate Policy


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.


Selected projects in the field of changing cities and urbanity. In the following you find selected sample projects. A complete list is available here.

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