Subtopic "Urban and rural living spaces and resource flows"
In order to elaborate suitable transition pathways to promote a more sustainable urban development, research in this subtopic will aim to design and apply systemic approaches and a corresponding methodological framework. These approaches particularly need to integrate thematic issues (e.g., energy, water, nutrition) and spatial scales (residential districts, urban and rural areas, regions, etc.) and apply integrated analytical tools (e.g., regional models). Research will focus on utilization patterns of key resources (energy, water) and suitable technical and non-technical resource management strategies, based on sustainability assessments and adapted to specific climatic, socioeconomic, or political conditions. Basic supply infrastructure systems will be one key area of investigation, particularly looking at options to suitably adapt them to future requirements resulting, for example, from climatic or demographic changes. In this context, the multifaceted nexus between energy, water, and nutrient issues, which gains increasing scientific and political attention, will be particularly addressed considering the interrelationship between urban and rural areas, using, among others, material flow balances and a broader view of cost-benefit-considerations. Some of these issues will be dealt with in a residential district case study in the city of Karlsruhe, by designing and implementing an innovative inter- and transdisciplinary approach of knowledge co-production in order to support the transition towards a more sustainable district. The expected achievements of research in this subtopic, particularly in terms of improved orientation and action knowledge, shall contribute to an enhancement of different political and societal decision-making processes towards a more strategic urban and regional planning.