Conference "Sustainability 2014" points up pathways towards the sustainable city [24.07.2014]

In May 2014, ITAS hosted the international conference "Sustainability 2014: Future Urban Development at Different Scales" in cooperation with the transatlantic research initiative "Forum on Sustainable Technological Development in a Globalizing World", the "District Future – Urban Lab" project as well as the "KIT Humans and Technology Center". During three intense conference days, about 80 national and international experts from different disciplines reflected on current challenges and perspectives of sustainable urban development at different scales – ranging from the neighborhood to urban region. The result was an active exchange of information, vivid as well as critical discussions, and the intensification of the networking at the international level for follow-up activities such as joint projects in research and practice.

The conference offered a rich program of talks and discussions, with plenary sessions and parallel workshop-type sessions, as well as thematic excursions. After the opening by Prof. Dr. Wilfried Jüling (Chief Information Officer at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) and Prof. Dr. Armin Grunwald (ITAS) the conference began by situating the topic within the current debate. In his contribution, Prof. Dr. Markus Neppl addressed the development of the concept of the Sustainable City and analyzed its application based on current case studies. The presentation by Prof. Dr. Kerstin Gothe dealt with current challenges of sustainable urban development and the associated need for integrated planning and development. Maria Balouktsi and Dr. Jan Hogen offered valuable insights into sustainability assessment. Their presentations focused on the assessment of new and existing districts as well as on the aims and benefits of assessment systems.

During the second day of the conference, three parallel sessions addressed the topics of actors, instruments and logics of action in processes of sustainable development, challenges and approaches of designing the existing as well as the sustainable development of universities. The third day of the conference was dedicated to the challenges of sustainable urban development, focusing on the areas "Mobile City", "Just City", and "City Resources". Theoretical contributions were completed by case studies.

During thematic excursions in Karlsruhe and Heidelberg, conference participants had the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the issues addressed in the presentations and discussions. All in all, there was plenty of space and time for discussion, networking and fruitful exchange. The proceedings are expected to be published by the end of 2014.

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