netWORKS – Transformations in Network Related Infrastructure Sectors

The goal of the project group was to develop strategies and instruments that enable municipal decision-makers to take forward-looking action in the current process of transformation to the infrastructure systems.

Research Approach

The netWORKS research project created a decision-making aid for municipalities faced with growing complexity and changing parameters. With the help of an impact appraisal and a participatory evaluation procedure, the intention was to put decision-makers in a position from which they can identify and select suitable options. 
ISOE took on the task of looking into resource regulation based on two case studies (Fuhrberger Feld and Hessian Ried), as it is only by taking into account both social and ecological aspects that optimised resource management can be brought about. The work also focused on benchmarking in water management.

The joint project was continued in netWORKS 2.


The municipalities' networked infrastructures are facing upheaval. When it comes to water supply and wastewater disposal, pressure is being felt from overlapping factors such as cost, the urgent need for improvements, new environmental restrictions, declines in consumption, and EU competition laws. The tools designed to remedy the situation often have a sectoral bias and, along with the modernisation strategies currently under discussion, often fall short of the mark in terms of a sustainable solution to the problems.

Participation of practice partners

Municipal Desicion maker, federal administrations and companies

Cooperation partners

  • Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik (Difu), Berlin
  • Institut für Regionalentwicklung und Strukturplanung (IRS), Erkner
  • BTU Cottbus/Lehrstuhl für Stadttechnik
  • Arbeitsgruppe für regionale Struktur- und Umweltforschung (ARSU), Oldenburg


Federal Ministry of Education and Research, funding programme Social Ecological Research


2002/11 – 2005/12