Welcome to Urban Research at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

More than half of the world’s population is presently living in urban areas. In Germany, this share even exceeds 75% and is increasing continuously. Cities in the 21st century face major challenges due to climate change and environmental pollution, scarcity of energy and resources, demographic and economic changes, new forms of work and life, mobility change, interconnection of infrastructures, and digitization. At the same time, cities are places of change for sustainable development and use of technical and social innovations.

Research at KIT contributes to the investigation, development, and design of the city of the future in all essential aspects. With a unique combination of expertise in natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities as well as planning and design, KIT researchers investigate all functional and life areas of a city using a holistic approach.

KIT provides knowledge for sustainable urban development to stakeholders and policy makers on a local, regional, national, and international level.

Urban planning today - KIT Researchers provide insights into their work on Urban Greening

Dr.-Ing. Christof Gromke (Institute for Hydromechanics), Dr. Somidh Saha (Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis) and Dr. Denise Böhnke (Division 4 - Natural and Built Environment) answered questions about urban research in the ntv documentary "Städtebau heute - Bienenwiese oder Betonwüste" (Urban Development Today - Bee Meadow or Concrete Desert): from experiments in the flow lab on the effect of street trees on air exchange, to insights on urban trees from the Green Lungs project, to the challenges of keeping our cities livable despite climate change. The program aired on Oct 28, 2022.

Engineers - "Big City Heroes" for Urban Transformation

In its October issue "Big City Jobs", Audimax-Ing, the career magazine for engineers, reports on topics related to urban research. In the report "Big City Heroes", KIT engineers Prof. Philipp Dietsch and Prof. Jochen Kolb as well as KIT architect Dr. Peter Zeile provide insights for future engineers into work and research fields in the urban context.

magazine (german only)
Bauwerk, HolzfassadeBauwerk
Integrating timber architecture into established urban neighborhoods

Advancing sustainable construction with wood in an urban context was one goal of this study "Colored Wooden Facades in an Urban Context" prepared at the KIT Chair of Design and Building Construction and financed by the Munich-based project developer bauwerk. Color can facilitate the acceptance and contextual insertion of wooden buildings in established urban neighborhoods - this is the thesis that was implemented and explored in a building project in Munich.

RoofKITSolar Decathlon Europe 21/22
RoofKIT - KIT Team wins University Construction Competition

At the world's largest university competition for sustainable construction and living in the city, the KIT team was able to convince the jury with its energy- and resource-efficient extension of an existing building. The RoofKIT project (https://roofkit.de/en/) of the inter- and transdisciplinary team of the KIT Faculty of Architecture won the Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22 with their wood-based, modular solution - congratulations!

RoofKIT: Creating new urban living space in a space- and resource-efficient way

A team of students, scientists and practitioners around Prof. Dirk Hebel and Prof. Andreas Wagner of the KIT Faculty of Architecture dared a fundamental change of perspective and rethink the building of tomorrow. How cities in the future will be able to create living space in existing buildings in a cycle-friendly, energy- and CO2-saving way was elaborated and practically implemented in timber construction by the team for the international university competition Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22.

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KIT, KarlsruheDenise Böhnke
Urban geothermal energy: heat recycling for energy transition and climate adaptation

Making practical use of urban heat islands through near-surface geothermal energy to provide heating in winter and cooling in summer while conserving resources and the (urban) climate - that is Dr. Susanne Benz's vision. Within the framework of a 6-year research project, funded by a Freigeist Fellowship of the Volkswagen Foundation, this forward-looking idea will be advanced in the coming years.

more (German only)
RABusMinisterium für Verkehr Baden-Württemberg
How Ridepooling supports the mobility transition

With the MOIA accompanying research in Hamburg, KIT-IFV researchers investigated the potential of ridepooling. This on-demand service effectively supports the traffic turnaround in Germany. This also interested Winfried Hermann, Minister of Transport of Baden-Württemberg at the DACH Congress of the DVWG in Friedrichshafen, where the shuttle to the RABus project was presented. Traffic simulations show that ridepooling can support the traffic turnaround, but that the greatest potential only unfolds with the expansion of public transport services and regulations for motorized private transport (MIV).

Klimafreundlich unterwegs: Wasserstoffbusse pendeln emissionsfrei zwischen den beiden Standorten des KIT, Campus Nord und Campus Süd. (Foto: Anne Cordts, KITAnne Cordts, KIT
Karlsruhe universities conclude climate pact with the city of Karlsruhe

Karlsruhe universities want to implement concrete measures, develop joint projects and intensify scientific exchange

more (in German only)
ZweiradSvenja Jordan
Enhancing Urban Sustainable Indicators in a German City—Towards Human-Centered Measurements for Sustainable Urban Planning

This contribution in the Journal World demonstrates how more human-centered measurements for sustainable urban planning can be created by enlarging the traditional set of quantitative sustainability indicators. The authors C. Kramer and M. Wagner argue for taking people’s perception and the spatiality and temporality of their daily activities better into account when further developing urban sustainability indicators and when aiming for a sustainable, human-centered urban development

PostarealMarkus Kaltenbach
At home on the move: informed and sustainable living and being mobile.

Project report by Markus Kaltenbach on the spatial relevance of work-related secondary residences - recommendations for the transformation of the former post office area in Karlsruhe.

View of clouds over New York Manhattan from Ferry boatStefan Emeis, KIT
How to Bring Urban and Global Climate Studies together with Urban Planning and Architecture?

This new paper by Joachim Fallmann and Stefan Emeis intends to provide a review of existing literature from a meteorological perspective in order to answer the question how results from urban climate studies can be linked to architectural design of future urban areas. Results from state of the art research are evaluated and critically addressed, hence providing a catalogue for urban planners and stakeholders which should serve as basis for a re-evaluation of the term ‘smart city’.

Paper in Development in the Built Environment
Büro der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG in den USA
Smart Cities and Climate Change

Experts discussed "smart cities" at an event at the DFG North America office. KIT-Scientist Dr. Sadeeb Simon Ottenburger presents research on resilience of smart grids and blackout in cities.

Mensch liegt in Schlosspark vor Schloss KarlsruheKIT, Gabi Zachmann
How exposure to urban green space improves well-being in city dwellers

Interdisciplinary study identifies neural correlates - potential as protective factor for psychiatric morbidity – publication in Nature Neuroscience, link

more (in German only)
Real Corp Conference 2019

2 - 4.April 2019 
Karlsruhe, Germany

Is this the real world?
Perfect Smart Cities vs. Real Emotional Cities

24th International Conference on Urban Planning
and Regional Development in the Information Society
GeoMultimedia 2019

Abbildung Urban EmotionsUrban Emotions
Tracking Fear-causing Spaces in the City

Project Urban Emotions makes stress perception of pedestrians and cyclists measurable / Linking body reaction and position data provides information on spatial perception

Ausschnitt GebäudeMarkus Breig / KIT
Saving Energy with User-friendly Buildings

Researchers from Karlsruhe and Ottawa lead an international research project on the relationship between user behaviour and the energy performance of buildings

Bild zu Themenspezial
ESKP special collection - metropolises under pressure

Online dossier on the development of megacities, urban climate & quality of life, ressources, and natural hazards (in German).

Logo Podcast European Urbanism
European Urbanism - new podcast in campus radio karlsruhe

Every first Friday in the month, 7 pm. In the first podcast the Environment Mayor of Karlsruhe Stapf und Ms Dederer (urban planning authority) talk on urban green, participation, and climate change adaptation.

to the podcast (in German)
Bild MycoTree
Renewable building materials for future cities

KIT researchers present self-supporting structure made from fungal mycelium and bamboo in the exhibition „Beyond Mining – Urban Growth“ at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism.

Bild Flyer Trifelser Gespräch 2017
Trifels discussion "Future-oriented mobility between city and surrounding region

Thursday, 20.07.2017, 20:00 at the Kurhaus Trifels, Annweiler

Poster Trifels Summer School 2017
Summer School 2017 Future cities 17.7.-21.7.2017 Annweiler, Germany

organized by the KIT Graduate School for Climate and Environment (GRACE) and KIT’s Urban Research Team

Urban Rethinking
Urban Rethinking - Developing liveable cities with research

Develop liveable cities thanks to research

Short article with interviews on urban research in the magazine "Helmholtz Perspektiven" of the Helmholtz Association, summer 2017 (in German)

View of the city of the future
An Outlook on Future Cities

Listen to KIT urban researchers in KIT's research podcast (in German)
Episode 8: Lokal, global, nicht egal.


to the potcast (in German)
Pioneer Region
Karlsruhe to Pioneer Autonomous Driving

The test center for connected and automated driving will be set up in Karlsruhe involving the KIT.

Urban Climate Under Change

KIT participates in two modules of the BMBF programme that aims at the development, validation and application of an innovative urban climate model for entire cities.

Energy Transition
Jointly Shaping the Energy Transition

First Results of the “Karlsruhe Energy Research Partnership”.

Infrastructure – Prevention Is Better than Cure
Infrastructure – Prevention Is Better than Cure

Helmholtz Association and KIT Start the Innovation Hub “Prevention in Construction”.

Quartier Zukunft
District Future – Urban Lab

Designing tomorrow today.