Are Cities Climate Pioneers?

No 21 | February 2022

In this issue, we turn our attention to cities and their – possible – role as pioneers of climate policy. The IRS has been researching the spatial dimensions of energy transition for quite some time. Three years ago, the question of climate policy approaches in cities, in Germany as well as in the European context, was added. In the title articles of this issue, we ask which cities are actually becoming active in climate policy, how they are doing it, which historical and structural factors influence the activities, and how current events affect them. We "zoom in" and ask what the relationship is between the core city and the surrounding area, for example in the transport transition, and how other levels – federal, state, EU – shape climate policy at the local level. Finally, we delve into the often conflictual negotiations surrounding concrete planning projects that municipalities face in the context of ecological and economic transformations .



Cities are considered pioneers in climate policy. But does this image correspond to reality, or does it in fact only apply to a few wealthy metropolises? Two research projects at the IRS have taken a closer look at the climate policy activities of cities. The result: there are many different positions, and old imbalances persist. But social pressure has made a difference almost everywhere, especially in recent years. more infos

At what level does climate policy take place? Are cities the drivers or do they just implement targets decided at a higher level? In fact, a combination of both mechanisms - and many others that lie between these extremes - is at work. In addition to the EU and federal levels, the federal states in Germany are particularly influential actors that are finding diverse - and differently ambitious - responses to climate change. Cities, in turn, are in contact with all levels of climate policy, from regional to European. more infos

The transport and logistics sector is a problem child of climate protection. For a noticeable reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions, new, sustainable concepts are needed that go beyond individual e-mobility and effectively reduce traffic flows. However, such concepts have so far been discussed mainly in the context of urban centres; suburban and rural areas have received too little attention. A project network with the participation of the IRS has therefore comparatively investigated in an urban and a suburban neighbourhood under which conditions people accept and use novel solutions in urban logistics and transport. more infos

The post-fossil transformation requires massive investments in infrastructure and new production capacities. Such investment projects often meet with resistance. The conflicts that arise in this way must be dealt with within the framework of planning procedures. At the IRS, sociologist Eva Eichenauer and urban planner Manfred Kühn research - with different focuses - planning conflicts around transformative projects. In an interview with IRS aktuell, they discuss how conflicts can be dealt with productively and what spatial dimensions planning conflicts have. more infos