Sub-project 1

Addressing Challenges of Urban Transformations and Resilience 

On the Role of Conflicts, Crises, and Paradoxes

Transformations of municipalities into climate-neutral, socially acceptable and livable cities as well as their robustness and adaptive capacity, i.e. resilience to crises, extreme events and external shocks, is the central challenge for the present and the future. Despite of a broad consensus, numerous programs, initiatives and measures, little progress has been made in this area. This is where the project comes in, arising from the observation, that conflicts, crises and trade-offs have a massive impact on transformations and their realization prospects; at the same time, current transformations or responses of urban society thereto are hallmarked by inconsistencies and paradoxes.

For this reason, subproject 1 will, on the one hand, provide a theoretical contribution, in terms of an improved understanding on the consequences or effects of conflicts, crises etc. on transformations towards urban resiliency and sustainability. On the other hand, through the analysis of appropriate municipal empirical examples, a deeper understanding of how conflicts, crises, etc. modify those transformations, i.e. how they both hinder and delay as well as nurture and accelerate the accompanying changes, is to be developed. On this basis, positions for a further development of the debate as well as detailed know-how for politics and practice will be compiled. For this purpose, we work together with colleagues from various thematic areas at the UFZ. Furthermore, we also cooperate with other research institutions and with practice partners.

Demonstration on Augustusplatz, Leipzig
Augustusplatz, Leipzig. Photo: D. Rink


Our tasks encompass:

  • Discussion and definition of basic and further relevant concepts (e.g. conflicts, crises, trade-offs, dilemmas, paradoxes, shocks etc.) with regard to sustainable and resilient urban development
  • Analysis of conflicts, impacts of crises and paradoxes as well as contradictions as contribution to a targeted research in order to provide more profound explanations of urban transformations towards urban resilience and sustainability
  • The elaboration of contributions to the conceptual advancement of urban sustainability, transformation and resilience concepts
  • The elaboration of both, action knowledge and options for solutions for municipal politics and practice as well as its discussion with decision makers, stakeholders and civil-society actors


Dr. Annegret Haase and Dr. Ronald Gebauer, Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology