Norderstedt is one of 20 municipalities in Germany to receive funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in the second phase of the Future City contest. In the first phase of the contest, citizens in the 80,000-strong city on the outskirts of Hamburg identified seven overarching goals that will shape the city’s development through to 2030 and beyond: climate neutrality (2040), healthy living, green city, social integration, walkable Norderstedt, closed materials cycles, and Fair Trade Town. Norderstedt has made considerable progress in recent years, for example in the areas of energy efficiency and multimodal mobility, encompassing measures to promote the combined use of public transport services, bicycles, and private vehicles. The city’s new goals build on these and other efforts to prioritise sustainable development pathways.
Implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals on the ground
In the first six half of 2017, the second phase of the contest saw five scientific institutes compete to develop a bundle of measures that would advance efforts to implement these overarching goals. The IASS came out on top and was selected by a jury of sixteen to work alongside municipal actors over the following twelve months to add substance to the proposed bundle of measures. The project will also contribute to efforts at the local level to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The city of Norderstedt was created through the amalgamation of four smaller towns in the 1970s around a new inner city area. Many of the neighbourhoods in this prosperous commuter town in Northern Germany are dominated by single-family detached homes. As a result, much of the city’s public space is segmented and appears underused, and many citizens do not engage with opportunities to participate in urban planning measures.
Full speed ahead for sustainable development!
The concept developed by IASS researchers in collaboration with planning agency landinsicht will establish workshops in prominent locations in the city’s four historical communities and in exemplary spatial settings – in, for example, a business park, a shopping centre, and a green space – to facilitate the experimental implementation of new forms of living and approaches to mobility, cooperative public engagement, and sustainable consumption. Coordinators based at these workshops will engage with citizens and local initiatives to develop existing capacities further and support efforts to overcome broader challenges to sustainable development and achieve the overarching goals. The workshops will develop and roll out a range of stand-alone measures that can be trialled on the ground to assess their feasibility, impact, and scalability within a short time frame.
This ambition of aligning a local vision for sustainable development with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and supporting its effective implementation is reflected in the title of the winning concept – Vierfach voraus! Zukunft einfach machen (Four speed ahead! Fast-track the future). Throughout the project, local communities will be encouraged to seize the initiative and given the fullest possible control over planning processes.