German Sustainability Council honors ITAS Urban Transition Lab

Together with citizens and initiatives, researchers are developing ideas for more sustainability and quality of life in Karlsruhe’s Oststadt. The “Urban Transition Lab 131” was now honored by the German Council for Sustainable Development.
The “Future Space” of the Urban Transition Lab 131 is a meeting place, information and education center for citizens in the eastern district (Oststadt) of Karlsruhe (Photo: KIT).
Project leaders Oliver Parodi (left) and Andreas Seebacher with RNE general secretary Günther Bachmann at the ceremony in Berlin (Photo: Svea Pietschmann, German Council for Sustainable Development)

“The special thing about the project is that we cooperate closely and on an equal footing with the people living and working in the area. In this way, we are able not only to integrate and further develop specific local knowledge but also to stimulate action for sustainable development,” says Alexandra Quint, a member of the interdisciplinary project team at ITAS. The project explores pathways to improving pedestrian-friendliness in the district in the same way as services for sustainable living or sustainable mobility.

This includes some very practical work: “For example, there is a new energy concept to increase the share of renewable energies in the building stock or initiatives to slow down our increasingly hectic everyday life", reports Oliver Parodi, Head of the Urban Transition Lab 131. All of this takes place in interaction with civil society groups, the city administration, associations, businesses, and especially local citizens.

Networking and transferability

The Urban Transition Lab is designed as a platform for participation and has a strong networking character. The project’s “Future Space for Sustainability and Science”, a former shop, combines the characteristics of a district office, a science shop and a community center and acts as a meeting place, venue and educational center.

The Karlsruhe lab has a model character and is designed for transferability: scientists from the Netherlands, Spain and Australia have already done research into the project; there are cooperation requests from Mexico, Russia, Switzerland, USA, Estonia, Portugal, and Spain.

Award as transformation project

At the end of May, the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), which advises the German federal government on sustainability issues, honored the Urban Transition Lab with the quality seal “Project Sustainability 2017” and as one of four national “transformation projects”. The seal identifies initiatives that make a special contribution to sustainable development and makes them more visible to society. According to the jury, the transformation projects have particular potential to make the world more sustainable. (6 June 2017)

Further information

  • Web site of the District Future” with information about all activities of the Urban Transition Lab
  • Detailed press release of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (German)