Third-party funded project

Urban resilience to extreme weather events - Typologies and transfer of adaptation strategies in medium-sized cities and towns (ExTrass-V)

Research department: Politics and Planning

Project Leader within IRS: Dr. Wolfgang Haupt

Project Team: Prof. Dr. Kristine Kern Dr. Peter Mark Eckersley

Funding Organization: Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF)

Duration: 01/2022 - 12/2023


ExTrass wants to better equip medium-sized cities and towns in Germany against heat and heavy rain. To achieve this, the project examines the factors that hinder or enable urban climate adaptation and identifies examples of successful measures. One focus of the project will take place in three case study cities - Potsdam, Remscheid and Würzburg – which will test greening initiatives, pursue climate-adapted urban planning, extend datasets related to the urban climate, communicate climate risks to residents, and improve emergency planning. The project will also facilitate networking and knowledge exchange so that cities can learn from each other.

The project will develop, test and evaluate a web-based resilience tool, based on findings from the initial research and development phase. This will enable municipalities to go through a five-stage process of strengthening climate resilience on their own, and will be available to cities and districts free of charge.

IRS will contribute to the project by expanding and updating the findings generated during the initial research and development phase (if necessary, here is the link again), feeding this knowledge into the resilience tool and disseminating the tool amongst the target group of municipalities. The primary goals of the IRS are:

- mapping the transfer organisations, channels and mechanisms for climate mitigation and climate adaptation in Germany,

- reviewing the political science and human geography literature on the transfer of policy innovations between cities,

- creating a Germany-wide monitoring approach for climate mitigation and climate adaptation by updating and expanding a ranking system developed during the initial ExTrass phase,

- identifying new climate policy city types to complement the classification into pioneers, imitators and laggards,

- and carrying out 12 to 15 path analyses to identify the climate policy development paths of German medium-sized cities and towns.

Two New Articles Show, how Cities Become Forerunners of Climate Policy

Two new articles from the Research Group Urban Sustainability Transformations shed light on how cities are becoming pioneers in climate policy, both in climate protection and in climate adaptation. Instead of the metropolises often mentioned in this role, such as Paris, the authors take a look at smaller cities in Germany. In doing so, they show that even cities with difficult starting conditions can find their way into the top group. more info


Otto, A., Kern, K., Haupt, W., Eckersley, P., & Thieken, A. (2021). Ranking Local Climate Policy: Assessing the Mitigation and Adaptation Activities of 104 German Cities. Climatic Change, 167(1-2), [5].
Kern, K., Haupt, W., & Niederhafner, S. (2022). Entwicklungspfade städtischer Klimapolitik: Bedeutung von Schlüsselereignissen und Schlüsselakteur:innen für die Klimapolitik in Potsdam, Remscheid und Würzburg. disP: The Planning Review, 57(4), 32-49.
Haupt, W., Irmisch, J. L., & Eckersley, P. (2022, Apr 29). Handlungsempfehlungen für eine bessere Klimakoordination in Kommunen. Leibniz-Institut für Raumbezogene Sozialforschung.
Otto, A. (Ed.), Thieken, A. (Ed.), Haupt, W., Eckersley, P., Kern, K., Ullrich, S., Hautz, T., Rocker, P., Rabea, S., Sausen, H., Dillenardt, L., Rose, C., Schmidt, K., Huber, B., Sterzel, T., Marken, M., Michielsen, M., Thieken, A., & Otto, A. (2022, Jul 18). Urbane Resilienz gegenüber extremen Wetterereignissen: Gemeinsamer Verbundabschlussbericht des Forschungsprojektes ExTrass. Universitätsverlag Potsdam.
Haupt, W., Kern, K., & Irmisch, J. L. (2023). From Climate Policy Pioneers to Climate Policy Leaders? The Examples of the Eastern German Cities of Potsdam and Rostock. Urban Research & Practice.
Haupt, W., & Kern, K. (2022). Explaining Climate Policy Pathways of Unlikely City Pioneers: The Case of the German City of Remscheid. Urban Climate, 45, [101220].
Albrecht, J., Eckersley, P., Haupt, W., Huber, B., Irmisch, J. L., Lipp, T., Miechielsen, M., & Sterzel, T. (2022, Nov 14). Stärkung der Integration von Klimaanpassung an Hitze und Starkregen in die kommunale Planung: Zwölf Handlungsempfehlungen aus dem Dialog mit kommunalen Planer:innen im Projekt ExTrass. Urbane Resilienz gegenüber extremen Wettereignissen – Typologien und Transfer von Anpassungsstrategien in kleinen Großstädten und Mittelstädten. Adelphi research gemeinnützige GmbH.
Haupt, W., Eckersley, P., Irmisch, J. L., & Kern, K. (2023). How do Local Factors Shape Transformation Pathways Towards Climate-Neutral and Resilient Cities? European Planning Studies, 31(9), 1903-1925. [31(9)].
Riechel, R., Knak, A., Haupt, W., Linke, S., Moseler, E-M., Zölch, T., Paul, M., Rößler, S., & Volkmann, A. (2022, Dec). Nachhaltige Stadt- und Quartiersentwicklung in der Zukunftsstadt: Anpassungsbedarfe im planerischen Instrumentarium seitens des Bundes und der Länder: Impulse aus der Forschung. Synthese- und Vernetzungsprojekt Zukunftsstadt.
Kern, K., Eckersley, P., & Haupt, W. (2023). Diffusion and Upscaling of Municipal Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies in Germany. Regional Environmental Change, 23(1), [28].
Haupt, W. (2023). Policy Diffusion, Policy Transfer, and Policy Mobilities Revisited: A Call for More Interdisciplinary Approaches in Human Geography. Geography Compass, 17(5), [e12688].
Eckersley, P., Kern, K., Haupt, W., & Müller, H. (2023). Climate Governance and Federalism in Germany. In A. Fenna, S. Jodoin, & J. Setzer (Eds.), Climate Governance and Federalism : A Forum of Federations Comparative Policy Analysis (pp. 150-176). Cambridge University Press.
Eckersley, P., Haupt, W., Wiegleb, V., Trier, J., & Otto, A. (2023). Intentionality and Visibility in State- and Society-led Climate Approaches: Towards a More Comprehensive Understanding of Local Adaptation Initiatives. Geographica Helvetica, 78(3), 369–380. [78].
Kern, K., Haupt, W., Kochskämper, E., & Eckersley, P. (2023). Städte als Vorreiter? Kommunale Nachhaltigkeits- und Klimapolitik in Deutschland zwischen Politik, Verwaltung und Zivilgesellschaft. Politikum, 2023(3), 33-39.
Haupt, W., Eckersley, P., Irmisch, J. L., & Kern, K. (2023). Fridays for Future auf lokaler Ebene. Aktivität und Stärke der Ortsgruppen in deutschen Städten. In Fridays for Future: Einordnung, Rezeption und Wirkung der neuen Klimabewegung (pp. 213–240). (Bürgergesellschaft und Demokratie). Springer.