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ZUKUR - At a Glance


More than 5 million people live in the Ruhr Metropolis, the largest metropolitan agglomeration in North Rhine-Westphalia consisting of 53 cities. Future-proof development and urban coexistence are key challenges at all administrative levels of the Ruhr Metropolis. In order to ensure long-term sustainable development, close cooperation between science, municipalities and societal actors is required.

In 2016, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) announced the 'Leitinitiative Zukunftsstadt' (flagship initiative future city) and called for innovative approaches for making cities more sustainable.

The consortium of the project "Future-City-Region-Ruhr" (Zukunft-Stadt-Region-Ruhr, ZUKUR), which is domiciled in the Ruhr area, is one of the nationwide selected projects of the flagship initiative future city and is funded with 1.88 million euros. ZUKUR's practice partners are the Ruhr Regional Association (Regionalverband Ruhr, RVR), the City of Bottrop and the City of Dortmund with its district Dortmund-Marten. The scientific partner is the School of Spatial Planning at TU Dortmund Technical University, which is involved in the project with a total of ten departments.

ZUKUR aims to combine the goals of preservation of natural livelihood through climate resilience and universal participation in coping with socio-ecologic inequalities in the light of the specific characteristics of the cities according to the WBGU's (German Advisory Council on Global Change) 'Normative Compass for Transformation to Sustainability'.

This combination needs to be further strengthened in the everyday reality of the Ruhr Metropolis. ZUKUR intends to map the complex multi-level governance in the Ruhr region in a three-level model (region, city, district), where the levels each represent backdrops for living labs (Reallabore) and ground the practice partners Ruhr Regional Association (living lab 'region'), the City of Bottrop (living lab 'city') and the City of Dortmund, district Dortmund-Marten (living lab 'district').

The superior goal of ZUKUR is to reduce socio-ecological inequalities and to increase climate resilience in the Ruhr region, its cities and districts. At the same time, the approaches developed within ZUKUR shall be transferable to other city-regional contexts. One approach is to identify and reduce restraints between a) the goals of long-term urban development regarding adaptation to ecologic, social and economic challenges and b) the existing spatial, structural and institutional structures in the Ruhr region. ZUKUR uses an analytical basis that identifies existing and future challenges in the Ruhr region and at the same time addresses the state of research on resilience and environmental justice. On this basis, reflexive adaptive capacities and strategies shall be developed and transformed into explicit goals and measures for all focal fields of action of a sustainable urban region.

Thereby, each of the levels (region, city, district) shall address the topics climate resilience, urban community, societal integration and governance. The broad thematic orientation of the project becomes possible through the comprehensive commitment of the School of Spatial Planning at TU Dortmund University. Throughout the entire project runtime, the living labs guarantee niche innovations for the advancement of the status quo.