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UNIT #3 Striving for Sustainable Neighbourhoods

How to plan and convert neighbourhoods to reach carbon-neutrality and sustainability goals

This course unit examines concepts of planning and implementing new energy-efficient, carbon-neutral, eco-friendly neighbourhoods, as well as various means of integrating energy efficiency and eco-friendliness into existing urban quarters. Special emphasis is put on neighbourhoods with an integrated, comprehensive approach, including adaptation strategies, mobility concepts and social integration.

1) Welcome Length: 6 min

In the WELCOME session, GIZ, Markus Delfs, Head of Cluster Sustainable Transition, and Cao Handuo, Technical Advisor, GIZ Beijing, introduce the contextual background. Dr. Daniel Krahl delivers a welcome message by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

The INTRODUCTION SESSION explains the overall course approach and its elements. It also contains a Thematic Course Introduction key noteStriving for Sustainable Neighbourhoods’ that provides background information and summarises training messages. Both are provided by the lead training advisor and course host, Monika Zimmermann.

3) Thematic City Video Length: 15 min

The THEMATIC CITY VIDEOS are an informational and inspirational form of knowledge input, based on the voices of experts, and illustrated by various projects. With the mission to give a further understanding of the different dimensions of sustainable neighbourhoods, the THEMATIC CITY VIDEO of this course unit investigates various climate-friendly neighbourhoods and their approaches to sustainability.

A handout with project profiles offers additional technical information.

See underlined download link below. 

Lead Expert:

Susanne Schmelcher, Senior Expert, German Energy Agency (dena); BSc Architectural Engineering, RWTH Aachen; MEng, Tongji University, Shanghai

Möckernkiez, Berlin

Completed energy-efficient, car-free neighbourhood emphasizing means of facilitating social sustainability. 

Interviewee: Susanne Schmelcher, Senior Expert, dena – German Energy Agency

District of Kreuzberg, Berlin

Strategies implemented to integrate green planning and sustainable solutions, such as a sustainable waste system, ‘encounter zones’ in streets and climate-resilient neighbourhood design. Kreuzberg is one of the most progressive city districts in Berlin and has succeeded in putting into effect various sustainable solutions in its existing neighbourhoods. 

Interviewee: Immo Janssen, District Authority Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Building, Planning and Facility Management Division; team member of CHORA Conscious City; Chair of Sustainable Urban Design, Technical University of Berlin. 

IBA Quarters Hamburg

The International Building Exhibition (IBA, 2006-2013) showcases buildings and quarters with high energy standards and new energy supply and storage systems, as well as various approaches to integrating nature, food production and flood-prevention into urban planning. Current IBA projects include the neighbourhood of ‘Oberbillwerder’, where the integration of sustainability principles into a huge residential and commercial area is planned.

Interviewee: Karen Pein, Managing Director, IBA Hamburg

The former Berlin airport is about to be turned into a huge mixed-use neighbourhood for housing, commerce, education and research. Designed for xxx inhabitants, the Schumacher Quartier intends to apply sustainable construction principles, and aims to be both energy-efficient and widely car-free.

Interviewee: Dr Philipp Bouteiller, CEO, Tegel Projekt GmbH; Professor, XU-Exponential University

Download handout PROJECT PROFILES as PDF

4) City Walk Video Length: 7 min

CITY WALK videos offer an immersive city experience related to the course topics. 

The CITY WALK ‘Car-free neighbourhoods’ takes place in car-free and car-reduced areas in Berlin and Hamburg. While cities without cars are  unimaginable for many people, this walk shows residents reconquering public spaces.

5) Expert Talks Length: 130 min

The EXPERT TALKS session provides the opportunity to acquire a deeper understanding of the course content. The expert talks – all recorded in April and May 2021 – include PPT-supported lectures and an interview.

 The session also includes a webinar from another SGUP course from 2020 as well as a thematically related video film from a CCSBC project. 

Susanne Schmelcher, Senior Expert, German Energy Agency (dena)

Michael Glotz-Richter, Senior Project Manager Sustainable Mobility, City-state Bremen

Philipp Preuner, MSc Resource Efficiency in Architecture and Planning, Assistant to the CEO of HafenCity Hamburg GmbH

Agnes Schönfelder, Head of Climate Change Strategy, City of Mannheim

University of Stuttgart, energydesign Shanghai, CCSBC, CONSTELLATIONS (2018)

6) Transfer & Application Length: 20-45 min

This element includes questions for participants to help them review and evaluate the information provided so far.  consider takeaways and reflect on possible transferability. The questionnaire can be completed individually or as part of guided teamwork.

7) Further Resources

This compilation of background information, studies, reports, websites, videos, etc.  lets participants find out more about selected themes related to the course topic. Whenever available, materials are provided in English – otherwise in German. The Project Profiles relating to the THEMATIC CITY VIDEO (see above), as well as a few other key documents, are included in full.