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

Research questions

  • How do you match climate protection and climate adaptation?
  • What are the synergies and trade-offs between development goals and what role do urban areas play here?
  • What adaptation possibilities are there in cities and districts (private/public) in existing buildings and new-builds?
  • How can private and economic actors be won as partners for urban climate adaptation? What are the new needs and possibilities for cooperation between public and private actors?
  • What potential do blue and green infrastructures provide?
  • What do suitable strategies for cities look like, what fields of action and innovation do these include?


Transition of Water InfraSTructure sytems: Adapting to new challenges in urban and rural areas (TWIST++)

This project aims to find integrated and sustainable technical solutions that combine disposal tasks for wastewater with supply tasks for drinking water and increase the flexibility of the overall system to adapt to future changes. A project consortium has been formed led by Fraunhofer ISI, which includes companies from the fields of planning, software/game development and systems engineering alongside research institutes and partners from local authorities, as well as the water and wastewater sector (operators).

Transition design for sustainable innovations – Initiatives in the municipal fields of action energy, water, construction & housing (TransNIK)

Innovative approaches towards sustainability can be observed in various areas, including traditional municipal fields of action, such as: energy supply, water supply & sewage disposal, as well as construction and housing. TransNIK aims to investigate drivers and obstacles for the development and dissemination of innovative sustainable approaches in these three fields of action and to identify key points for a transition to new solutions.

Integrated Water-Energy-Transition Concept (iWET) – Coers-Fläche Lünen

The model area “Coers-Fläche” in Lünen is an industrial brownfield site of about 15,800 m² with plans for residential development. The Bauverein zu Lünen (BVzL) (Lünen Building Society) is the owner of the Coers site. Decentralized rainwater management is to be provided on the site to decouple surface areas that influence run-off.  

Strategic internal research project at Fraunhofer ISI: Analysis and benchmarking of technical infrastructures for sustainable urban development

The overarching objective of sustainable urban development is becoming increasingly important in policy and research funding at both national and European level. For example, the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) aim to improve the future viability and sustainability of urban areas against the backdrop of transformation and to enhance the quality of urban living. To a large extent, this requires the integration or targeted design of developments in the field of technical infrastructures. Methodological approaches such as Morgenstadt (“city of the future” – Fraunhofer), the Green City Index (Siemens) and others have defined indicators for individual infrastructure sectors and use them to derive city rankings.

The project develops a method to assess the resilience of German cities in the context of technical infrastructures:

  • Are cities prepared for future changes due to climate change, demographic trends but also (foreseeable) changes to technical and legal framework conditions?
  • Where are the specific deficiencies in cities and how can these be strategically addressed and rectified?

Feasibility study: Implementing climate adaptation measures using blue and green infrastructures to support sustainable urban redensification in Bochum-Weitmar (Nach2Bo)

This study, which is funded by the housing sector and the Future Initiative “Water in tomorrow's city”, examines the use of blue and green infrastructure in the district.

In spite of the need to adapt to climate change, especially in cities, these concerns are often ranked below other challenges in municipal practice (creation of affordable housing, redensification). The real estate sector and the housing sector, in particular, represent important new players in this field: Redensification measures and measures to increase the energy efficiency of buildings provide fundamental windows of opportunity to realize climate adaptation measures in the housing stock.

This is where the Nach2Bo project starts and develops exemplary solutions together with the local authority and a housing association for an urban redensification district in Bochum.

Innovative Use of Wasteheat using sewers for energy transport (InnoA2_up)

The overall objective is the detailed elaboration and evaluation of specific implementation options for flagship projects for the development of previously unused decentralized waste heat potential through heat transport and distribution to heat consumers in the existing sewer system.

Bundled infrastructure planning and admissions and integrated conversion of regional supply systems – challenges for environmental and sustainability assessments? (INTEGRIS)

The overall aim of this research project is to find out how bundling infrastructures can create more environmentally friendly solutions. They should be transferable to the whole of Germany in terms of admission and planning regulations and in terms of their immediate spatial impact and the sustainable regional d evelopment. It is investigated which barriers result from expanding potentially intended bundled infrastructures and how these can be overcome.

Climate protection and energy efficiency potentials in the wastewater sector (KlimAW)

The primary objective of the research project is to determine the contribution that the wastewater sector could make to achieving the climate targets. The aim is to identify adaptation requirements with regard to a consistent optimization of wastewater treatment plants and their integration into the energy system and reveal factors hindering implementation.

Conserving resources in the health sector

The exploitation of synergies between different fields of policy and the reduction of conflicting targets are important activities in the German resource efficiency program. So far, there has only been a rudimentary examination of where the health sector intersects with the topic of conserving resources. This research project’s objective is to exploit synergies and potentials between the policy fields of resource conservation and health. The project is commissioned by the German Environment Agency and develops strategic fields of activity and options to address the topic “Conserving resources in the health sector”.


Method portfolio

  • Feasibility studies
  • Scenario development
  • Carbon accounting
  • Life cycle analyses
  • Profitability calculations
  • Sensitivity analyses