SuPraStadt – Quality of life, participation and resource conservation through social diffusion of sufficiency practices in urban neighbourhoods

The SuPraStadt research project investigates in three Real-World Laboratories how the needs of residents can be reconciled with the ecological requirements of sustainability with respect to the areas of housing, open space and mobility. Together with residents and other actors from urban neighbourhoods in the German cities Dortmund, Heidelberg and Kelsterbach, the research team searches for solutions that can lead to an improvement in the quality of life and social participation as well as to a reduction in resource consumption and environmental impacts. ISOE accompanies the Real-World Laboratory in Kelsterbach.

Research approach

Sufficiency practices constitute the theoretical starting point of the project. Sufficiency aims at reducing negative environmental impact by reducing the levels of consumtion. Methodically, Real-World Laboratories are used. These make it possible to jointly implement measures and at the same time evaluate their impact. So far, there is no sufficiently empirically sound basis for determining and evaluating ecological and social impacts or for the societal diffusion of sufficiency practices in municipalities. By closing this gap, the SuPraStadt project is aiming to make a contribution to the “great transformation”.

Background

Sufficiency strategies are a necessary part of sustainable development because efficiency gains are often compensated or overcompensated by rebound effects. Sufficiency means changes in consumption patterns, everyday routines, social and cultural practices, and also changes in lifestyles and economies that help to stay within ecological boundaries. Other than ecological efficiency, which is also important for sustainability, sufficiency does not focus on providing goods with the least possible use of ecological resources. Here, the focus is rather on the economical use of space, time, the market and property. Sufficiency practices in urban neighbourhoods can be, for example, the joint use of land, new forms of local cooperation, offers for the extended use of goods (e.g. through repair workshops), promotion of local mobility or self-initiated, jointly organised services, which are a more ecologically compatible and often cheaper alternative to market-mediated access to goods and services. In the research project, transdisciplinary sufficiency practices are investigated, (further) developed and evaluated. ISOE investigates how sufficiency practices spread in urban neighbourhoods and which social milieus participate in such practices.

Research and project partners

  • ifeu – Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg GmbH
  • Dortmund University of Applied Sciences, Department of Applied Social Sciences
  • City of Dortmund, Office for Affairs of the Lord Mayor and the Council, Ombudsman for Citizens’ Interests,
  • City of Heidelberg – Office for Environmental Protection, Trade Inspection and Energy
  • Dormitory Collegium Academicum e.V.
  • Department of Integrated Urban Development of ProjektStadt, brand of the Nassauische Heimstätte/Wohnstadt Group of Companies

Practice partners 

  • Transition Town Heidelberg e.V.
  • BUND Regional Association of Baden-Württemberg e.V., Heidelberg District Group
  • konvisionär – Association for ecological life in community e.V.
  • HageButze GmbH
  • District association Bahnstadt e.V.
  • Project “northwards” Dortmund
  • Vonovia real estate service GmbH
  • nebenan.de – Good Hood GmbH
  • Magistrate of the City of Kelsterbach

Funding

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Funding programme “Social-Ecological Research”.

Duration

2019/05 – 2021/04