Urban transformation

Approaches & concepts for the cities of the future

Urban transformation with a system

The cities of the future will be as unique and diverse as their inhabitants, climatic conditions, locations, histories, forms of organisation and processes of change. As no two cities or districts are the same, each will follow its own path to become sustainable and liveable. But they can inspire each other and learn from each other – where did something work well, what was (not) taken into account, how can something be implemented even better or more easily. It is important to follow the path with the involvement of the relevant actors in a way that is as consensual, participatory and speedy as possible.

Cities hold the key to a sustainable transformation of our societies. More than half of humanity lives in urban areas – and the trend is rising. On the one hand, many complex challenges and problems arise here, such as the majority of human-made emissions. At the same time, the high population density holds enormous potential for innovation, a lot of room for experimentation and a high degree of creative power.

We help you combine to different approaches for sustainable urban development, present them in a low-threshold way and make them manageable for practical application. We value gender-sensitive, inclusive planning that really gets everyone on board. To this end, we can draw on our large portfolio of proven concepts, numerous cooperations and intensive networking with other transformation actors.

The purest form of insanity is to leave everything as it is and hope that something will change.

Albert Einstein

Proven concepts for the development of sustainable cities of the future

There are many exciting approaches and concepts for the liveable city of the future. We particularly like to integrate the following into our work:

Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations (UN) has defined clear goals aimed at securing ecological, social and economic foundations worldwide. The 2030 Agenda sets out 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is a guide for all people and organisations to create or maintain a dignified life worldwide. To do this, we must in particular preserve our community livelihoods. The urban space plays an important role here. SDG 11 in particular is specifically aimed at shaping sustainable communities and cities of the future.

New Leipzig Charter

The New Leipzig Charter was adopted as part of the EU Urban Agenda in 2020. It sets out principles and guidelines that should be taken into account in the planning, development and transformation of cities. The aim of the Charter is to make cities of the future liveable, socially just, environmentally sustainable and economically dynamic places.

The people-oriented city (after Jan Gehl)

The idea of the “people-friendly city” comes from the Danish architect and urban planner Jan Gehl. It refers to the design of cities to meet the needs and well-being of people. The principles of this idea can be found in similar concepts such as the “Walkable City”, Carlos Moreno’s “15-minute city” and the “City of Short Distances”. Bicycle and pedestrian friendliness, attractive public spaces, a high level of safety and the participation of residents are important building blocks for a liveable city of the future.

Transition Towns

When we talk about urban concepts of the future, we cannot bypass the concept of Transition Towns. It was developed in the 2000s by British permaculture activist Rob Hopkins. The basis of a Transition Town are local communities that actively address the challenges of climate change, the limited availability of fossil fuels and other environmental and social problems. This is done by building local networks based on cooperation, self-sufficiency, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, recycling, reduction of resource consumption and local economic development. Today, there are well over 1,000 such communities worldwide, which maintain an intensive exchange as a “Transition Network“.

Post-growth city

A “post-growth city” (also known as a “degrowth city” or “steady-state city”) is a city that abandons a growth-oriented model and instead focuses on sustainability, quality of life and equity. The concept of a post-growth city arises against the background of the realisation that infinite economic growth is not possible on a finite planet and that ecological limits are being exceeded.

Cooperations with added value

Together we are strong. That is why we look beyond our own nose and join forces with people who share our vision. This leads to cooperations from which you can also benefit:

Reinventing Society/Real utopias

The focus of real utopias is the realisation that our culture, which is geared towards prosperity and growth, has reached its limits and that a change in society is inevitable. We need transformation, new structures, ways of thinking and processes based on a sustainable way of life. The focus of this vision of the future is not boundless material prosperity, but a regenerative culture in which people and nature work together. Humans are part of nature and have a positive impact on ecological systems. We are happy to implement this approach in (project) partnership with Reinventing Society.

Professional advisor related to Doughnut Economics

The Doughnut model is about linking the economy with environmental protection and social justice. The “doughnut” with an outer and an inner circle symbolises the difference to current thinking, which is based on economic growth – symbolised by a steep upward curve. The outer circle represents the natural limits, such as the planet’s natural resources. The inner circle represents basic needs such as food, health, energy, but also education or social justice. The aim of the Doughnut model, which goes back to the economist and Oxford professor Kate Raworth, is a society “between” these two circles. We are part of the “DEAL” community (DEAL stands for “Doughnut Economics Action Lab”) and offer professional consulting or support services related to Doughnut Economics.

Trainings for City WORKS

City WORKS is a digital toolkit to help understand global agendas and connect them to local visions and realities. It helps, for example, to “translate” the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the local level. But also the Paris Climate Agreement, the New Urban Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda are made accessible for the urban level with targeted step-by-step processes. We have completed City WORKS training and can expertly apply the toolset to the urban development of the future.

Many pieces of the puzzle are needed for the urban development of the future. Put together, they result in a liveable city of the future.

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