Decarbonising Cities: Assessing Governance Approaches for Transformative Change

The team analyses governance approaches and impact assessments in cities that are engaged in transformative action towards zero emissions. More specifically, the research addresses the following question: Which governance approaches facilitate successful transformative change towards zero carbon cities?

Project Lead:
Christian von Haldenwang

Michael Roll (Co-Lead)

Project Team:

Christina Grohmann (Economics)

Maria Elisabeth Gronen (Social science)

Anne Laible (Economics)

Johanna Orth (Economics)

Florian Wengel (Economics)

Lisa Zumegen (International political economics)

German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Time frame:
2020 - 2021 / completed

Co-operation Partner:

United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), World Resources Institute (WRI), International Institute for Environment and Development

Project description

The research team focuses on the topic of sustainable urban development. The team analyses governance approaches that facilitate transformation towards zero emissions. A specific research interest lies on actor constellations, financial resources, and impact assessment.


The research is affiliated to a larger project on “Transformative Urban Coalitions: Catalysing Urban Partnerships to Drive Systemic Transformation Towards Sustainability” (IKI-TUC), financed by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) under its International Climate Initiative (IKI). IKI-TUC is going to implement pilot projects in five Latin American urban labs. One of DIE’s main roles in this project will be to set up and conduct impact-oriented accompanying research jointly with local partners. “Decarbonizing Cities” is designed as preparatory and supportive research for this larger project.


The “Decarbonising Cities” project presented here follows a two-stage research approach: In a first step, an online survey is conducted with several hundred city government officials worldwide. In a second step, the research team carries out in-depth case studies to gain deeper insights. The approach aims at identifying success factors and obstacles for socio-ecologic transformation in cities.


Visit our project website for more information.