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iResilience – water-sensitive urban development for climate impact adaptation

Social innovations and intelligent urban infrastructures for the resilient city of the future

On the way to water-sensitive urban development, we support municipalities, regions and associations in raising awareness and knowledge and developing a strategy for climate impact adaptation.

A short history: Cologne Deutz – Midsummer 2040

"The Rhine has had the lowest water level for 2 weeks since records began, and the media are constantly reporting on the consequences of the extreme heat. Especially seniors and small children suffer from the continuing heat wave.

But a young mother herself notices little of the bad urban climate the media reports about. When she opens her balcony door in the morning to check the thermometer, her gaze falls on the community garden that was created in her backyard in 2020 as part of the "iResilience" project. On her way to work, she drops off her three-year-old daughter at the kindergarten. She cycles to work, which makes her faster and allows her to use the shady cycle paths, which were repaired during the project a few years ago and have since been maintained by local residents with green thumbs. Among other things, she passes a large fountain, where her child will also play with the kindergarten group today. The "iResilience" project has not only actively helped her to fight the consequences of climate change but has also brought her closer to the city's politics and administration".

How do ideas for such a future city evolve?

A wide range of different groups of actors is involved in the project. These include the cities, i.e. the administration and politicians as project partners, but also engineers, scientists, social researchers and a landscape architect. Only through the interaction of these actors and the participation of citizens is possible to develop innovative ideas for the future.

On 9 October 2019, a workshop took place in Dortmund Jungferntal to plan the development of a green space in consideration of climate change. Various stakeholders met and an employee of the City of Dortmund moderated the event. Citizens were able to express their visions, ideas and concerns. Together, we planned different possibilities of how the area could look like. The feasibility was evaluated by the critical view of the scientists and the landscape architect. The municipality of Dortmund became a clear understanding of the residents' expectations of the restructuring to continue the planning process in cooperation with the stakeholders.

The project and our tasks

The objective of the "iResilience" project is to develop and test new practices and technologies for the improvement of urban, climate-adapted resilience (resistance). Together with local actors, the project team develops innovative solutions for the complex and dynamic challenges of climate change to test them in urban real-world laboratories.

The climate resilience of the twin cities Cologne and Dortmund increases as the project team combines social and digital innovations. Planning at the neighborhood level takes up citizens' ideas at the very beginning of the process and creates  stronger commitment to a climate-resistant city. The use of digital platforms opens up opportunities and risks of greater transparency in urban planning and decision-making processes as well as possibilities for broader communication between people in the neighborhood and decision-makers. Flood and heat prevention are combined with urban design. During the project, a transferable use concept will be developed.

FiW's services range from the conceptual design of social media communication and the development of communication tools to the design and implementation of regional dialogue platforms and the creation and implementation of concrete planning instruments.


Dr. sc. Dipl.-Ing. Frank-Andreas Weber
+49 241 80 2 68 25 / E-Mail


Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)


DLR Projektträger


TU Dortmund – Sozialforschungsstelle (sfs); Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik (Difu); Dr. Pecher AG; HafenCity Universität Hamburg (HCU); Stadt Dortmund – Koordinierungsstelle „nordwärts“; Stadt Köln – Umwelt- und Verbraucherschutzamt; Stadtentwässerungsbetriebe Köln AöR (StEB Köln); TU Dortmund – Institut für Energiesysteme; Energieeffizienz und Energiewirtschaft (ie³)