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Environmental sustainability in the neighbourhood Technical foundations for a municipal sustainability strategy and development of a communication concept

Cities are a central starting point for solving environmental challenges, particularly with regard to the climate mitigation goals of the Paris Agreement. The mission of a socio-ecological transformation of urban spaces stresses the importance of an integrated approach and the activation and participation of citizens and civil society actors. In recent years, the neighbourhood has increasingly come into focus as a spatial reference area and political level of action, as it is particularly at this level that sectoral fields of action can be integrated and the cooperation of a large number of actors can be initiated. 

Mobility, climate adaptation, access to green and open spaces or energy efficiency - all these topics of a socio-ecological transformation become visible and tangible at the neighbourhood level. On this local scale, it becomes clear where conflicts between these different topics occur, but also where potentials for new and overarching solutions arise. This is where the research project "Environmental sustainability in the Neighbourhood" comes in. It brings together the many environmentally relevant issues, analyses their interaction and identifies challenges and potential synergies. On this basis, tailor-made approaches to improving environmental quality are being developed for different urban structures. In addition, it will be investigated to what extent synergies between the environmental, social and health-related approaches of neighbourhood development exist and how these can be implemented. 

In addition, this project will develop the technical basis for a BMU strategy for municipal sustainability. The goal is to better understand the potential neighbourhood development offers as a starting point for integrated sustainable urban development and how the socio-ecological transformation of cities can be supported.

By means of a communication strategy and different communication elements, the project also makes the diverse environmental topics understandable and tangible at the local scale, in order to address and activate residents and institutional actors in the neighbourhood. The view of the neighbourhood offers a great potential to meet the population in their own living environment, where problems are perceived more strongly and changes are more obvious. For this purpose, an overall communication concept is being developed in cooperation with various actors to fit the needs of the target groups, in order to communicate the various challenges and possible solutions to environmental and climate protection issues. Individual communication elements to support the overall concept are equally being developed and tested in selected municipalities.