netWORKS 4 – Resilient networks: Contributions of urban supply systems to climate justice (follow-up project)

The design of water infrastructures plays a central role in the transformation of urban spaces. This current follow-up project of netWORKS 4 is concerned with the consolidation of research results and knowledge transfer. The aim is to initiate dialogue processes dealing with future-oriented designs of urban infrastructures. The focus is on synergies between different infrastructures, as these make an important contribution to resource conservation and adaptation to the consequences of climate change, such as heavy precipitation or heat waves. This includes the question to what extent the adaptation of infrastructures can improve the “climate justice” for inhabitants. 

Research approach

In this context, grey infrastructures (water supply and sanitation), green infrastructures (parks and green spaces), and blue infrastructures (streams and water surfaces) will be examined. In this follow-up project, the research work on the coupling of these infrastructures with a view to more climate justice not only refers to the project cities of Norderstedt and Berlin but to other German cities as well. With municipal representatives and in workshops, the research results will be discussed, adapted and refined as part of an inter-communal knowledge transfer. The focus will be on necessary changes in planning processes and on possibilities for linking infrastructures. 

The previous project showed that the interaction of different infrastructures promises a wide range of additional options for adapting cities to climate change. However, networking requires changed processes of integrated planning, for example if the authority responsible for green spaces  and the water utilities have to cooperate differently than before. Against this background, ISOE and the Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin developed approaches for wastewater and precipitation management in the previous project, which can be applied at defined points where grey, green and blue infrastructure are linked. 

In order to make these results usable in practice, the findings were transferred to information cards. These are aimed at actors of municipal planning who are involved in district development, green and water infrastructure planning but also at operators of water supply and disposal who are in charge of municipal decision-making and planning processes. The information cards support the exchange between the actors about the basics and orientations for the further development and modification of green and water infrastructures, with a special focus on adaptation to climate change. This product will be made marketable in this current follow-up project. This not only includes possibilities for identifying and locating vulnerable groups and providing instructions for use, but also to some extent the review of results together with experts and practitioners and test-runs in various planning settings. In addition, ISOE is working together with Difu (German Institute for Urban Studies) on cooperation models: This is done because the linking of infrastructures poses new questions for coordination and cooperation within the planning procedure, the implementation and the operation of infrastructures. All of this will be examined in this new project. 


Urban development and water infrastructure are closely intertwined. Urban development is inconceivable without adequate water supply and hygienic wastewater disposal. At the same time, any further design of the water infrastructure must take up new developments. Thus, the water infrastructure mediates between society and nature and simultaneously functions as a hub for material and resource flows. Increasing consequences of climate change, such as heavy precipitation and flooding as well as heat and drought periods, but also other changing framework conditions, place new demands on existing concepts and infrastructures of urban water management. This becomes obvious when an insufficiently integrated design of the systems leads to surface water (second order) being completely overloaded by discharged rainwater.

Project partners

  • German Institute for Urban Studies gGmbH
  • KWB Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin gGmbH
  • Berliner Wasserbetriebe

Practice partners

  • Senate Department for the Environment, Mobility, Consumer and Climate Protection, Berlin
  • Senate Department for Urban Development, Building und Housing, Berlin
  • City of Norderstedt


The follow-up project to the research project “Resilient networks: Contributions of urban supply systems to climate justice (netWORKS 4)ˮ is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the funding measure “Transformation of urban spacesˮ of the social-cological research funding priority. For information on the originally funded project netWORKS 4 please go here


Winker, Martina (2024): Blau-grüne Infrastrukturen. Über Leistungspotenziale, Hemmnisse und die notwendigen Akteurskooperationen. Planerin (3), 18-21

Rauchecker, Markus/Engelbert Schramm/Jan Hendrik Trapp/Christian Stein/Michel Gunkel (2023): Konstellationen blau-grün-grauer Infrastruktur in der Klimaanpassung am Beispiel der Bewässerung von öffentlichem Grün. gwf-Wasser/Abwasser 164 (1), 69-76

Schramm, Engelbert/Jan Hendrik Trapp/Christian Stein/Markus Rauchecker (2023): Aufbau und Erhalt blau-grün-grauer Infrastrukturen für die kommunale Klimaanpassung. Fallbeispiele, Konstellationen und Kooperationsmanagement. netWORKS-Papers, 39. Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik Difu

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Schramm, Engelbert/Jan Hendrik Trapp/Martina Winker (2022): Wassersensitive Klimaanpassung im Siedlungsbestand. Blau-grüne Infrastruktur als Herausforderung. RaumPlanung (218/5-2022), 21-24

Trapp, Jan Hendrik/Martina Winker (2022): Grün- und Wasserinfrastrukturen in kommunalen Planungsprozessen wirkungsvoll verankern. In: Deutscher Städte- und Gemeindebund DStGB/Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik Difu (Hg.): Hitze, Trockenheit und Starkregen. Klimaresilienz in der Stadt der Zukunft. Berlin, 28-30

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Winker, Martina/Jan Hendrik Trapp/Engelbert Schramm (2021): Mehrwert der Klimagerechtigkeit für die Klimaanpassung in Kommunen. Dargelegt am Beispiel blau-grüner Infrastrukturen. Transforming Cities (3), 68-73

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Schramm, Engelbert (2020): Transformation. Konzeptionelle Potenziale für die sozial-ökologische Stadt- und Infrastrukturforschung. netWORKS-Papers, 37. Berlin: Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik Difu

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Winker, Martina/Fanny Frick-Trzebitzky/Andreas Matzinger/Engelbert Schramm/Immanuel Stieß (2019): Abschwächung von Klimafolgen bei erhöhter Lebensqualität in der Stadt - Das Potenzial von gekoppelten blau-grün-grauen Infrastrukturen. KW Korrespondenz Wasserwirtschaft 12 (11), 650-655

Winker, Martina/Fanny Frick-Trzebitzky/Andreas Matzinger/Engelbert Schramm/Immanuel Stieß (2019): Die Kopplungsmöglichkeiten von grüner, grauer und blauer Infrastruktur mittels raumbezogenen Bausteinen. Ergebnisse aus dem Arbeitspaket 2, netWORKS 4. netWORKS-Papers, 34. Berlin: Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik Difu

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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


2020/07 – 2022/03