Transformation and Innovation Systems for urban areas

“Cities are where the battle for sustainable development will be won or lost.“

Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations from 2007 bis 2016


Urban areas are becoming increasingly important and not just since 2016, when the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations came into force, which address cities as a level for action.

Worldwide, city networks are being formed to address different issues. Against the background of global transformation processes such as digitization and climate change, fundamental changes and the corresponding transformation processes are required in municipal, social, legal, political, organizational and technical systems.

The goals of the work conducted in the interdisciplinary group “Transformation and Innovation Systems for urban areas” at Fraunhofer ISI are:

  • To identify transformation requirements at municipal level with the focus on the interfaces between sectors
  • To identify obstructive and supportive factors for harnessing the synergy effects (and thus implementing changes and transitions) for cities between energy transition, climate change, transforming mobility and other municipal issues (housing, municipal finances, quality of life and health)
  • To develop the competence to act at municipal level in order to coordinate sectoral strategies and plans and make them future-proof (scenarios / targeted conditions) and to translate these into municipal action (new actors, business models, urban governance)

The Fraunhofer ISI is active in a wide range of topics in a scientific and advisory capacity and therefore has a large number of municipal contacts.  

How can cities successfully adapt to the challenges posed by climate change?

How can mobility in cities be successfully transformed?

Quality of life in cities – what strategies do we need?

Energy transition: How can we design urban energy systems to be sustainable?

What opportunities and risks does digitalization hold for urban life?

Transformation processes: How do we find common goals and successfully design adaptation?

What is the added value for urban development of implementing the UN Sustainability Development Goals?