The limits of the resilience of our world are obvious to all of us. How can we adapt our way of life so that we can protect and safeguard the climate and the environment, natural resources, biodiversity and healthy living conditions in the long term? Which contribution can we make through sustainable urban development in order to minimise our ecological footprint?
The consequences of climate change are becoming more and more noticeable in our everyday lives. Temperatures are rising and we are experiencing extreme weather such as long heat spells, heavy rain and floods. The effects are already affecting us all - they affect not only our well-being, but also our agriculture or our infrastructure. At the local level, a major contribution can be made to the protection of the natural foundations of life and the fight against global warming - as part of a sustainable urban development policy.
The national and international climate protection goals - limiting global warming, the Paris Climate Protection Conference (COP21) and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) - provide a strong framework for concrete action at the local level. Supporting frameworks and funding programs at EU, federal and state level are indispensable.
Cities and municipalities cause resource scarcity and climate-damaging emissions to a large extent, among others through land use and CO2 emissions in the context of energy generation, commerce, building use and transport. To protect the climate, emissions from these sources must be consistently reduced, for instance through the production of renewable energies, emission-free industrial areas and consistent closed-loop and recycling management, energetic district renewal and energy-efficient new construction. Larger shares of pedestrian and bicycle traffic and public transport are helpful as well as mixed-use quarters with short distances. In addition, resource and energy efficiency must be increased.
Although climate protection and climate adaptation are cross-sectional issues, it has proven to be helpful to develop separate climate protection concepts or master plans for climate protection with corresponding goals and implementation strategies (e.g. with climate protection management). Adaptation measures are intended to alleviate the consequences of climate change that have already occurred. Important planning measures exist, for example in the protection of cold air passages, retention and flood areas or in a system of connected green and open spaces that help to avoid the formation of heat islands in inner-city areas. Rather structurally shaped areas and connected green and open spaces are to be used systematically several times. This also reduces supply deficits in densely populated areas and improves the urban climate.
In line with measures for air pollution control, noise protection and the protection of biodiversity, the urban environmental and living conditions can be significantly improved by integrated strategies - such as the efficient use of space, the design of public space or architecture. Within the framework of the National Urban Development Policy, questions of climate protection and climate change adaptation have been dealt with intensively at the international level, particularly since the federal congress “Urban Energies”.