The EU has specified climate neutrality as a legally binding 2050 target. This transformation requires bold policy tools that can deliver concrete results – sector-by-sector. To inspire policymakers across the EU to get active, Agora Energiewende is compiling best practice examples of policies that are successful in initiating progress towards climate neutrality. Ecologic Institute contributes to this project by researching and drafting fiches for ten best practice cases. Moreover, the team is supporting Agora Energiewende in selecting suitable cases. Ecologic Institute draws on its in-house expertise in a wide range of sectors.
Photovoltaic technology is a key lever for decarbonising Berlin's power consumption and for social participation in the transformation process, especially for tenants. Therefore, solar energy and projects on rental apartment blocks are key elements of the Berlin Senate's Energy and Climate Protection Programme. In the research project "ElectricityNeighbours", Ecologic Institute and IÖW evaluate the experience gained so far in implementing such prosumer projects in Berlin, outline innovation potentials for the field and develop ideas on how the regulatory framework can be further developed. In doing so, the team looks beyond pure tenant electricity projects to the potentials of sector coupling.
Cities and their peripheries are constantly confronted with challenges such as urban sprawl, climate change and pollution. These processes can exacerbate the degradation of natural ecosystems, and jeopardize ecosystem service provisioning with negative consequences for human health and well-being, biodiversity, social cohesion and equity, and, finally, city resilience. The INTERLACE project brings together a unique consortium of European and Latin American partners to contribute to effectively restoring and rehabilitating urban ecosystems to make cities more livable, resilient and inclusive. The project aims to advance knowledge and awareness of restorative nature-based solutions (NBS), such as the restoration of wetlands and rivers, as well as to foster more ecologically coherent and integrated city planning processes. In addition, it lays the foundation for sustained multi-directional cooperation and exchange between European and Latin American cities for wider transformative impact.
In order to reduce air pollution, especially in large cities, Vietnam is discussing the introduction of air quality planning and an integrated permit system as part of the revision of its Law on Environmental Protection. Together with the Independent Institute for Environmental Issues, Ecologic Institute supports the legislative process and develops guidelines for the subsequent implementation of the two instruments.
The project "Circular City Berlin – from potential towards implementation (CiBER 1)" analyses and promotes innovative approaches to the circular economy in various sectors in Berlin. In view of the expected further growth, urban densification and increased economic prosperity of the metropolitan region Berlin, a long-term sustainable design of urban resource flows is increasingly coming into focus. The current corona situation complements the focus on resilient regional and local economic processes. Local and regional circular value creation is more sustainable, increases the resilience of societies in times of crisis and strengthens social justice and inclusiveness.
In the project "Knowledge. Transformation. Berlin.", the Ecornet Berlin research network is pursuing the goal of expanding Berlin's pioneering role in innovative approaches for a liveable, climate-neutral and resource-efficient city. Therefore, the research network focuses on the existing strengths and diversity of Berlin, but also on the existing ecological and social challenges. The goal is to expand Berlin's pioneering role in the development of innovative approaches in an innovatively way. To this end, the associated institutes are working on several projects in the thematic fields of social climate transformation, sustainable economies and digitalization.
The project "Data Governance and Regulation for a Sustainable Berlin" examines what forms of data regulation are possible and necessary at city level in Berlin to ensure that data-driven services, products and platforms are developed and used to meet social and environmental sustainability goals.
Ecologic Institute investigates the extent to which transport and buildings are already affected by the existing EU emissions trading scheme, e.g. through district heating networks and electromobility. Furthermore, Ecologic Institute contributes case studies on non-European emissions trading schemes covering transport and/or buildings (including California, New Zealand and Tokyo). Furthermore, Ecologic Institute provides analyses on which price-based instruments are already applied in selected EU member states. Finally, Ecologic Institute examines how the expansion of emissions trading would affect competitiveness and the EU's existing climate policy instruments.
In its last coalition agreement (2016-2021), the State of Berlin committed itself to the "Zero Waste" model in order to transform its waste management towards a circular economy. Re-using goods takes centre stage in this transformation. In the context of the political goal of strengthening the reuse of used goods, the project aims at strengthening structures in Berlin to help bringing the used goods market out of its niche. The Ecologic Institute supports the project for the Berlin Senate Administration by designing and conducting online expert dialogues in Berlin, inter alia dealing with used IT-equipment as well as building materials and components.
European cities face major challenges to achieve the desired level of sustainability in the management of urban water systems. Digital technologies such as mobile devices, sensor network, real-time monitoring, machine learning, and modeling tools have the potential to improve the management of water infrastructures significantly. In addition, they can improve the quality of services provided to citizens as well as awareness and cooperation between utilities, public authorities, and citizens in urban water management. The main objective of the project is to boost the integrated management of water systems in five major European cities, Berlin, Milan, Copenhagen, Paris, and Sofia, by leveraging the potential of data and smart digital technologies.
Nature-based solutions (NBS) provide an integrated approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation in urban areas, while simultaneously offering a range of additional benefits. This project aims to increase the awareness of NBS in Poland as a cost-effective urban climate mitigation measure and build capacity, knowledge and skills among city officials, municipal staff, and landscape planners to enable the conceptual and technical design and implementation of NBS.
With three quarters of the European Union's population living in cities and further increases expected, societies are increasingly facing socio-political shifts and marginalization. Limited availability of physical space, changing urban demographics, and increasing cultural diversity compound these challenges and create issues like high crime rates, social inequality, poverty, health threats, and unemployment. Some areas are particularly vulnerable, such as economically deprived, abandoned and neglected urban areas with a low share of green spaces. The Horizon2020 funded project “CLEVER Cities” responds to these challenges by designing and implementing locally tailored nature-based solutions (NBS) to foster sustainable and socially inclusive urban regeneration.
The digitization of all spheres of life is progressing steadily, a mega-trend that will continuously and fundamentally change society. Municipalities are also making increasing use of the potential offered by digitization of political and administrative processes. Doris Knoblauch and Susanne Langsdorf (both Ecologic Institute) developed a method that allows municipalities to easily check their (digitization) projects for their contribution to sustainable development. The report and the questionnaire are available for download.
Green and Blue infrastructure (GBI) in cities holds large potential to effectively address emerging global challenges, such as climate change impacts, increasing urbanisation and declining access to nature, as it can deliver multiple societal, ecological and economic benefits in parallel. This multifunctional potential of GBI has only recently begun to gain weight in research, policy and planning and has yet to be fully unlocked. The EU-funded BiodivERsA project 'ENABLE' responds to this gap by utilizing a transdisciplinary systems approach to examine the relationship between social-ecological dynamics and GBI's potential to meet multiple goals, including biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation. The four-year research project, funded by the BiodivERsA network, is led by the Stockholm Resilience Centre and supported by Ecologic Institute and nine other research partners.