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Applied Social Sciences

Urban Zero wants to make city quarter "enkelfähig"


Urban Zero in Duisburg-Ruhrort is a large-scale attempt to make an urban district completely environmentally neutral and therefore sustainable by 2029. With the "ELRO - Enkelfähig leben in Ruhrort" project, Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts is supporting the project and launching a scientifically supervised self-experiment with local residents in August 2023.

Fachhochschule Dortmund was on site in Duisburg Ruhrort at the Urban Zero kick-off festival to provide information about its "ELRO" project.

30 to 100 households from Duisburg's Ruhrort district in the immediate vicinity of the port are to spend a year learning how to make their everyday lives more environmentally friendly with the support of the Environmental Psychology working group in transdisciplinary sustainability research at the Faculty of Applied Social Studies at Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts. "It's not just about the carbon footprint," explains Prof. Dr. Marcel Hunecke, sustainability researcher at Fachhochschule Dortmund, "environmental neutrality also takes into account the impact on biodiversity, for example."

At regular information events on topics such as nutrition, waste avoidance, mobility and energy, as well as sustainable investments and cooperatives, the citizens of Ruhrort learn more about a more environmentally friendly everyday life. "We want to stay close to the needs and wishes of local people," says Susanne Mauersberger, research assistant in the ELRO project at Fachhochschule Dortmund. She was already able to make initial contacts at the Urban Zero kick-off festival, where Fachhochschule Dortmund was represented with a stand. "The feedback was positive and people showed great interest in the topic," she says.

All players in Ruhrort "pull together"

Prof. Dr. Marchel Hunecke

This is also due to the fact that everyone is pulling together for Urban Zero, emphasizes Marcel Hunecke. The Port of Duisburg and other companies are involved, and the city administration is actively involved with several departments. "All players want to move in the same direction. This is something unique on this scale. I don't know of any comparable project, at least in the German-speaking world," says the sustainability researcher

The researchers at the UAS want to measure the success of the project with several surveys. They are also drawing on experience from the Dortmund sustainability projects SuPraStadt in Westerfilde and Dorstfeld. In addition, the environmental impact of each participant will be calculated at the start of the ELRO project and reviewed again after twelve months. "It is important that we motivate people to live an environmentally neutral everyday life, even over the long haul," says Professor Hunecke.

Notes and references

Photo credits

  • Fachhochschule Dortmund
  • WolfgangGaehtgens | Wolfgang Gähtgens

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