netWORKS 4 – Resilient networks: how urban supply systems contribute to climate justice

How water infrastructures are designed plays a central role in the transformation of urban spaces. The goal of netWORKS 4 is to initiate dialogue processes about the sustainable design of urban infrastructures in order to foster synergies. Synergies between different infrastructures can save resources and act to mitigate the effects of climate change, e.g. heavy precipitation or heat waves. The project is also addressing the issue of whether this can help improve “climate justice” for the citizens.

Research approach

Grey (water supply and sewage disposal), green (parks and green spaces) and blue (streams and water bodies) infrastructures are being studied. The research work on the connection of these infrastructures with a view to more climate justice will initially focus on the two German cities of Norderstedt and Berlin. The specific research topics and questions will be developed and verified in and with them.

ISOE is contributing to a catalogue on the elements of sewage- and precipitation management which can be used at the identified linkage points of grey, green and blue infrastructure. This includes e.g. the greening of buildings, seepage or the use of service water. The catalogue will offer an overview of the elements’ relevant characteristics as well as their social and ecological effects.

A second focus of the research work will be the examination and integration of private and semi-public spaces. The aim is to develop ideas for how these spaces can be integrated into a holistic plan and how to enlist the support of private stakeholders, e.g. homeowners or housing companies.

At the same time, a modelling approach will help develop a better understanding of the complex interests, goals and effects: Who represents which interests in the process of urban planning? What effect do they have and what role do external conditions play in urban spaces? What does this mean for the implementation and impact of the elements developed within the project? One aim is to highlight the consequences, e.g. for urban development planning, with the help of modelling and synthesis. The goal is ultimately to optimize transformation management in planning processes and improve cooperation between the stakeholders involved in the process. This final conceptual work will also contribute to social-ecological theory formation.

Background

Urban development and water infrastructure are closely interwoven. Urban development is unthinkable without a sufficient water supply and hygienic wastewater disposal. At the same time, every further development of the water infrastructure must integrate new trends. Water infrastructure thus mediates between society and nature and simultaneously acts as a hub for the flow of materials and resources. The growing impact of climate change, i.e. heavy precipitation and flooding as well as heat waves and droughts, but also other changing conditions are challenging the existing concepts and infrastructures of urban water management. This becomes  manifest when an insufficiently integrated system design leads to, for example, surface waters (second order) becoming completely overburdened because precipitation is drained into them.

Project partners

  • German Institute for Urban Studies gGmbH
  • Berlin Centre of Competence for Water (KWB)
  • Berliner Wasserbetriebe

City partners

  • Senate Department for Environment, Traffic and Climate Protection, Berlin
  • Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing, Berlin
  • City of Norderstedt

Funding

The research project „Resilient networks: how urban utilities contribute to climate justice (netWORKS 4)“ is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the funding measure „Transformation of urban spaces“ of the research priority ‘Social-ecological research’.

Research approach

Grey (water supply and sewage disposal), green (parks and green spaces) and blue (streams and water bodies) infrastructures are being studied. The research work on the connection of these infrastructures with a view to more climate justice will initially focus on the two German cities of Norderstedt and Berlin. The specific research topics and questions will be developed and verified in and with them.

ISOE is contributing to a catalogue on the elements of sewage- and precipitation management which can be used at the identified linkage points of grey, green and blue infrastructure. This includes e.g. the greening of buildings, seepage or the use of service water. The catalogue will offer an overview of the elements’ relevant characteristics as well as their social and ecological effects.

A second focus of the research work will be the examination and integration of private and semi-public spaces. The aim is to develop ideas for how these spaces can be integrated into a holistic plan and how to enlist the support of private stakeholders, e.g. homeowners or housing companies.

At the same time, a modelling approach will help develop a better understanding of the complex interests, goals and effects: Who represents which interests in the process of urban planning? What effect do they have and what role do external conditions play in urban spaces? What does this mean for the implementation and impact of the elements developed within the project? One aim is to highlight the consequences, e.g. for urban development planning, with the help of modelling and synthesis. The goal is ultimately to optimize transformation management in planning processes and improve cooperation between the stakeholders involved in the process. This final conceptual work will also contribute to social-ecological theory formation.

Background

Urban development and water infrastructure are closely interwoven. Urban development is unthinkable without a sufficient water supply and hygienic wastewater disposal. At the same time, every further development of the water infrastructure must integrate new trends. Water infrastructure thus mediates between society and nature and simultaneously acts as a hub for the flow of materials and resources. The growing impact of climate change, i.e. heavy precipitation and flooding as well as heat waves and droughts, but also other changing conditions are challenging the existing concepts and infrastructures of urban water management. This becomes  manifest when an insufficiently integrated system design leads to, for example, surface waters (second order) becoming completely overburdened because precipitation is drained into them.

Project partners

  • German Institute for Urban Studies gGmbH
  • Berlin Centre of Competence for Water (KWB)
  • Berliner Wasserbetriebe

City partners

  • Senate Department for Environment, Traffic and Climate Protection, Berlin
  • Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing, Berlin
  • City of Norderstedt

Funding

The research project „Resilient networks: how urban utilities contribute to climate justice (netWORKS 4)“ is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the funding measure „Transformation of urban spaces“ of the research priority ‘Social-ecological research’.

Publications

Winker, Martina/Jutta Deffner/Fanny Frick-Trzebitzky/Engelbert Schramm (2019): Städtisches Grün unter Druck. Potenziale von Wasserquellen für Anpassung an den Klimawandel. Stadt + Grün 68 (5), 33-38

Winker, Martina/Herbert Brüning/Christoph Meyer/Engelbert Schramm/Immanuel Stieß (2019): Die Akzeptanz ist da. Repräsentative Studie zur Grauwassernutzung in Norderstedt. fbr-wasserspiegel (3), 12-17

Duration

2016/10 – 2019/09