Conference Content

graphic recording of the panel
© Marianna Poppitz

Table of Contents


Opening High-level Discussion Round on the New European Bauhaus (NEB)

Prof. Dr. Dirk Messner (President of the German Environment Agency, UBA), Ruth Reichstein (Advisory Board of the President of the EU Commission), Michela Magas (High Level Roundtable NEB)

The panelist discussed that cities in 2050 should be climate neutral, green, inclusive, incorporate all eco-systems and connect all spatial scales, from the neighborhood to the region. These goals require a deep transformation of society. The NEB has made us aware that everyone plays an important role in this necessary socio-ecological transformation and that the goals can only be reached if and when all of society is involved.

Cities are centers for the industry, energy and mobility systems – to transform these aspects we need to transform cities. Technical innovation requires cultural innovation. Different sectors need to connect with each other and with people on the ground to allow more communities to take charge of the transition themselves. The UBA plays various roles in this transition, including offering technical knowledge on urban infrastructures and building activities, as well as its capacity as a regulatory body.

The NEB recognizes that a sense of community is an underlying basis for our understanding of beauty. It is therefore necessary to unite designers, scientists, technologies and the industry so that people and systems can interact and create something new and beautiful. Thus, by creating beautiful places and examples, the NEB can develop a sense of belonging and living examples for transformation, such as the climate-neutral cities mission of the EU. The NEB looks to accelerate change and implement the Green Deal by creating, not predicting the future.

The AdNEB project looks at health, circularity, climate neutrality, adaptation and resilience, considering both interactions and tradeoffs. It hopes to be able to implement concrete solutions on the ground to provide examples for others to learn from and to generate a sense of belongingness.

As part of the panel discussion, participants were asked the question “what one word describes your dream city in the year of 2050?” The results have been compiled in the following word-cloud image.

Word cloud from the terms mentioned; the most common ones:green, Resilient, sustainable, nature, inclusive
Poll result: What is distinctive of your dream city in 2050?
Source: Umweltbundesamt

Introduction to flagship project “AdNEB”

Dr. Katrin Dziekan (UBA)

Project introduction

Parallel Workshops

Graphical synthesis of the parallel workshops, e.g. a child in front of a car: Design me in, not out!
Graphical synthesis of the parallel workshops
Source: Marianna Poppitz

Panel discussion “Transporting NEB into urban retrofits - are serial solutions the answer?”

Moderator: Prof. Matthias Rudolph. Panel Participants: Mrs. Ulla-Britt Krämer, Dr. Jutta Albus, Dr. Esra Kurul and Mr. Uwe Bigalke

The Panel Discussion was conducted after a presentation by Mrs. Krämer on INDU-ZERO, a project that has designed a factory that would be able to facilitate energy renovations on a large scale. The blueprint is now freely available for interested investors.

The panel discussed how serial solutions can be implemented and the barriers that are still facing this implementation. Smaller actors such as both larger and smaller housing associations as well as single family homes need to be included. A more digitalized process combining industrialized and individual approaches to provide customizable solutions is a way forward. The financial situation is still a main barrier - costs need to be reduced by scaling up the production (as promoted by e.g. INDU ZERO). There are existing regulatory solutions in other countries (e.g. the Netherlands) where tenants continue to pay their old energy bill costs to finance the renovation. Overall, we need to change the mindset from financing energy to financing retrofits and seeing buildings and thermal insulation as a service and not a product. To motivate people to address all of these topics we need to let them experience the solutions first-hand – to let everyone see and touch what is possible.

In the context of the INDU-ZERO project the panel also discussed the embodied energy in the EPS sandwich panels. Here there was a consensus that the embodied energy of the insulation accounts for roughly five percent of the total and is not a current priority compared to the embodied energy as a whole. The real challenge is to provide solutions for getting 25 million buildings in the EU renovated by 2035 and 152 million by 2050. In addition, in the UK, 25-28 million houses need an energy retrofit.

Another question of interest for the panel was the role of architects within the field of serial renovations. The panel discussed the need of architects and the industry to communicate and work together and to combine the industrial approach with the architectural approach. Universities are developing ways to work with serialized and prefabricated materials and new solutions are becoming available. Considering the original Bauhaus, the industrial aspect was very important – this approach should be considered in the New European Bauhaus.

„INDU ZERO. Smart Renovation Factory” from Ulla-Britt Krämer”


Workshop “Enhancing urban heat resilience in sponge cities”

The session addressed links between nature-based solutions in sponge cities and urban heat resilience. Three inputs gave insights into current initiatives in mitigating urban heat through nature-based solutions in Vienna, Milan, and Barcelona. The discussion focused on opportunities and barriers of implementing sponge city measures in the existing urban fabric.

MULTISOURCE: ModULar Tools for Integrating enhanced natural treatment SOlutions in URban water CyclEs” from Francesca Framba from the Metropolitan City of Milan (Italy)

“Fighting the Heat: Strategies and Measures to secure health and wellbeing in the City of Vienna” from Dr. Liisa Andersen from the City of Vienna (Austria)

“Dealing with the urban heat in Barcelona: to green or not to green?” from Andrea Nóblega from the Department of Geography Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain)


Workshop "Making cities beautiful and sustainable through temporary interventions for children"

The workshop gave input regarding the gap between knowledge about the impacts of a children friendly transport system and missing knowledge about how to get there. It discussed similarities in the need for change between different urban contexts and effects of temporary interventions based on input from Chemnitz and Nairobi.

“How to make streets for people, not for traffic?” from Jan Peter Glock, German Environment Agency

“Transformative Urban Mobility for children and their caregivers” from Peninah Ndegwa from Wow Mom (Nairobi / Kenya)

“European Mobility Week” from Katja Kluge, City of Chemnitz


Workshop “Compact, green and mobile - supporting resilient and multifunctional urban spaces through qualified inner urban development”

After introducing the German Environment Agency’s concept for qualitative inner urban development, invited landscape architects focused on the importance of urban green spaces. A new philosophy to nature in urban areas as well as practical solutions to challenges such as cloud-burst and rainwater retention in urban areas were described.

“Landscape Architect’s approach towards greener, healthier and resilient urban landscapes” from Katerina Gkoltsiou, President of the IFLA Europe
"Compact, Green, Mobile: supporting resilient and multifunctional urban spaces through qualified inner urban development" from Alice Schröder & Karl Eckert (German Environment Agency)

Keynote: “Environmental Politics in the Anthropocene City”

Prof. Dr. Harriet Bulkeley, Durham University (UK) and Utrecht University (NL)

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