Category: Publications

Cities within Liberal Democracies: Planning for the Unknown

Reflection Paper by the Networked Governance and Democracy working group.

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Becoming Climate-Neutral in the Heart of Industrial Germany

Wuppertal – A city with an intriguing story of urban transformation. Suffering heavily under the industrial shifts in Germany towards the end of the 20th century, it has started to emerge as one of Germany’s prime examples of how cities can adapt to the challenges of the 21st century. Watch as our patron Uwe Schneidewind, Mayor of Wuppertal, talks about his vision for a climate-neutral city and the role of mayors in reducing carbon emissions.

Preparing cities for challenges of the present and the future

Climate-neutrality, reducing carbon emissions, affordable housing, social mobility. The challenges for cities are multi-faceted and become increasingly complex. Uwe Schneidewind highlights ways in which the city of Wuppertal attempts to tackle the growing climate crisis and how it can pose as a sustainable role model for other cities in the future. 

Uwe Schneidewind is Mayor of Wuppertal, a city of 350,000 in Western Germany. Mayor Schneidewind has a background in research and also served as President of the University of Oldenburg. From 2010-2020, he was the President of the Wuppertal Institute for the Environment, Climate, and Energy, a leading international think tank on sustainability research. Uwe Schneidewind is a member of the German Green Party and has been Mayor since 2020. Since 2021 he is also one of our two New Urban Progress Patrons.

Ulrich Hörning has been the Deputy Mayor of Leipzig, a city of almost 600,000, since November 2015. Before that, he worked at the World Bank as well as in the Federal Ministry of Finance in Berlin. He graduated from Harvard and has a Masters degree in Public Administration. The current main topics on his agenda are the future urban development and digitalization of Leipzig as defined in the urban development “Leipzig 2030″. Ulrich Hörning is a member of the German Social Democratic Party.

This video was filmed and produced by SNICE Filmproduktion.

New Urban Progress is the joint metro initiative of Das Progressive Zentrum, the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and the Progressive Policy Institute. The project is supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany and funded by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi).

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Empowering Cities: Financing the Climate Transformation

Cities are a major cause of greenhouse gas pollution. However, they are also the places driving change: From modernizing buildings to making mobility sustainable, cities have plenty of tools at their disposal to become climate-neutral. But the ecological transformation is expensive. So where does the money come from?

In this episode, Andreas Horchler talks to two experts in the field: Fritzi Köhler-Geib is chief economist at KfW Group, an important development finance bank. Gereon Uerz is Head of Sustainability at GROPYUS, a building company specializing in sustainable timber construction. Additional experts are Philipp Rode, Executive Director of LSE Cities and associate professorial research fellow at the London School of Economics, and Oliver Weigel, head of the division for urban development at the German Ministry of the Interior. 

How can we finance the transformation to the zero carbon city?


“The most costly scenario of all is doing nothing” – Gereon Uerz

The urban transformation is not going to be cheap.  According to a recent study by the KfW Group, Germany needs five trillion euros in order to become climate neutral by 2050. Instruments both old and new are on the table: From raising taxes to putting a price on carbon to issuing green bonds. The discussants weigh their pros and cons – while making clear: The costliest option would be to continue business as usual.  

The city as a challenge and opportunity


“If we want to get anywhere, we need to find ways to mobilize larger parts of the society for the energy transitions” – Fritzi Köhler-Geib

“It’s the city, stupid” says Oliver Weigel, raising the point that cities are where we meet the challenges and profit from the opportunities offered by every transformation. Cities thus have the potential to serve as a blueprint for a sustainable future. But this requires bringing in civil society and renegotiating the use of public space, among other things. The transition to climate neutrality is feasible, Fritzi Köhler-Geib emphasizes. The necessary technologies exist. What now needs to be done is to set the right incentives, so that companies will choose climate-neutral technologies over conventional ones.

This episode was produced and first released by the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft, post-production and additional recordings done by Das Progressive Zentrum. 

New Urban Progress is the joint metro initiative of Das Progressive Zentrum, the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and the Progressive Policy Institute. The project is supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany and funded by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi).

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Friday, October 22, Ruhr Valley: Industrial Legacy and Climate Transformation

In the final Trip Journal, New Urban Progress fellows Maria Willett, Melanie Kryst, Richard Lawrence Jr. and Sanjay Seth
look back at some of the most memorable stops in the Ruhr Valley.

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Wednesday, October 20, Leipzig: “The future of cities. Not for granted.”

In this Trip Journal, Julia Diringer, Julian St. Patrick Clayton, Sinaida Hackmack and Marc Lendermann​ look back at some of the stops in the booming east German city of Leipzig that impressed them most.

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Tuesday, October 19, Berlin & Leipzig: Transatlantic Conversations

In this Trip Journal, Grace Levin, Ian Lundy, Jamaal Glenn and Steffen Haake reflect on the transatlantic conversations they had in Berlin and Leipzig.

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Monday, October 18, Berlin: Transformations and the City of the Future

In this Trip Journal, Andrea Jonas, Friedrich Paulsen and Francesca Weber-Newth draw on their experiences made on Monday, October 19, which began at the site of the former Tempelhof Airport. 

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Sunday, October 17, Berlin: Two Visions, Similar Challenges

In this Trip Journal, Alexander Czeh, Alison Noehrbass, Andrea Gonzalez and Victoria Boeck reflect on a day in which they explored Berlin’s competing visions of social housing by foot.

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Transatlantic Recovery and Renewal: Social Mobility and Climate Action

How can cities recover from the pandemic and build their resilience to threats like climate change? The New Urban Progress working group on Sustainability and Social Mobility explores how social and environmental issues are interrelated. In this post, the group sets the scene for making comparisons across the Atlantic.

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Q&A: Defining Inclusive Growth and Innovation

How can innovation make growth more inclusive? The New Urban Progress working group on inclusive growth and innovation sketches out the challenges cities face – and the solutions that innovation can offer. In this Q&A, the Inclusive Growth and Innovation working group present (and answer) key questions on the intersections between innovation, inclusion, and growth in urban spaces.

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