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The sustainable city: English summary

Die Isar prägt das Stadtbild von München  Link öffnet eine vergrößerte Darstellung des Bildes.
© Derek Henthorn

Urban development, open space and fight against climate change

Cities make up 1 % of the earth’s surface. However, they are inhabited by over 55 % of the world’s population – and even 77 % of people in Germany – and the figures are on the rise. This presents both a responsibility and an opportunity. Cities are now paving the way to a more sustainable future and leading the fight against climate change!

The City of Munich has set itself the ambitious goal of being carbonneutral by 2035. Urban planning and development will play a key role in all its measures: Munich is upgrading its outdoor areas, redistributing its public space and encouraging all citizens to participate in its development. The city is promoting sustainable mobility and developing carbonneutral districts. It is creating affordable housing, securing locations for businesses and ensuring good access to education and healthcare.

Munich is acting with real purpose, because time is of the essence. We will only be able to limit global warming to well below 2° C, as stipulated by the Paris Agreement, if everyone plays their part.

City life is sustainable

In cities, everyday needs are met in a small space, which saves resources and reduces pollutant emissions. Those who live, work, shop and spend their leisure time in cities help to stem the flow of commuters, limit land use and prevent urban sprawl. Population density is actually good for the environment!

However, living together in cities is intense and challenging. These challenges are managed and mitigated by responsible and integrated urban planning and development, which ensures a healthy balance between environmental, social and economic concerns. Some of the concerns include affordable housing for all income groups, lots of green spaces, a strong public transport system, mixed neighbourhoods, the fair division of public space and good conditions for businesses – among many more.

An open space strategy, an international building exhibition and greater balance

Many people live and work together in Munich and the surrounding area. As the entire metropolitan area is witnessing a heavy influx of people, we have to work together to tackle critical future issues, such as housing shortages, overloaded traffic systems and pressure to exploit open spaces.

The City of Munich takes a cooperative approach to its regional planning, bringing together various stakeholders at the Regional Housing Construction Conference every year. The participants at the most recent conference agreed to ensure the preservation and further development of local landscapes and recreation grounds with a joint strategy for open spaces. The city will also continue to promote the “Region is Solidarity” project, which aims to ensure the fair distribution of costs and benefits between municipalities that are enjoying considerable growth and development and municipalities where the advantages are outweighed by the challenges. The metropolitan region of Munich will ensure a more needs based supply of land through the “intermunicipal land acquisition” initiative, and the International Building Exhibition (IBA) will transform the area into a realworld laboratory to develop and present regional mobility plans for the future with other municipalities. All participants ultimately agreed that sustainability and social justice are essential for shaping growth.

Preserving, designing and rethinking open spaces

Outdoor areas are not only popular meeting places and recreation grounds – they are also important habitats for plants and animals. They play an important role in the fight against climate change, represent a key element of the urban landscape and provide space for the cultivation of regional produce. However, open spaces are scarce and the pressure on them is great. When it comes to parks, roof gardens, temporary usage concepts for car parks and other outdoor areas, the city has to plan with great care and foresight, secure existing areas and even make the extraordinary possible.

Three pillars in the fight against climate change

Reducing the energy demand, increasing energy efficiency and expanding renewable energy networks: The “three pillar energy approach” is shaping the city’s actions when it comes to planning new quarters and redeveloping existing areas. After all, urban development plays a key role in the fight against climate change. Munich wants to set an example.

The new districts emerging in the city are appropriately dense and compact in an attempt to save space, minimise energy consumption and reduce emissions. Munich is promoting the eco nomic use of all resources, supporting timber construction and creating incentives for more people and companies to build in line with high energy demands. The city is also keeping an eye on the costs for households.

Old housing estates are being modernised in a socially responsible manner. The city is running awareness campaigns, creating investment opportunities and offering energysaving advice in redevelopment areas. It is supplying more and more energy from renewable sources – energy efficiency is social justice!


Landeshauptstadt München

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80331 München