Environment, Energy, Climate Change
Research Field II tackles ecological and economic developments in the context of social transformation and the associated need to adapt settlement structures, economic configurations and infrastructures from an integrative planning perspective. The natural resources (soil, water, air, biological diversity) are elemental foundations of human life and work. Against the background of profound changes in climatic conditions, nature and landscape must be protected and sustainably developed. This research field therefore focuses on the challenges of climate change, landscape transformation, the importance of ecosystems and the sustainable management of land.
Structural change in the energy sector, developments in the field of information and communication technologies, and mobility are also central concerns of Research Field II. They present spatial development and planning with both opportunities and challenges and are characterised by dynamic and intense change. They are also particularly distinguished by uncertainty and conflicts, both with regard to planning objectives, means and procedures and with regard to their long-term spatial consequences. Consequently, communication with and cooperation between the different actors in the planning processes is especially important in these technical-scientific fields.
The processes of change associated with the energy transition require a fundamental ‘readjustment’ of spatial planning and development. It is necessary to give equal weight to economic efficiency, security of supply and environmental sustainability. This involves negotiations about the suitability of certain types of sub-spaces for different forms of regenerative energy production, about storage facilities that require a large amount of land, and about routes for future power transmission and distribution. Furthermore consideration of new structures of energy production and energy management is required. Landscape transformation is the tangible result of increases in demand for land due to the energy transition and continued land consumption by housing and transport. It thus remains the focus of the research field and renders integrated and comprehensive land policy more important than ever. Functional areas play a significant role in this context as urban-regional planning approaches increasingly transcend administrative territorial units and the land conflicts that result from such spatial divisions. This is also relevant for mobility concepts, when regions need to adapt to policy stipulations, ecological requirements or socio-economic transformations. Fundamentally, Research Field II is thus concerned with investigating alternative ways of living and alternative economic concepts, and with the spatial implications of ecologically and economically sustainable approaches in the course of large transformations.