Mission statement for German development cooperation: The “liveable city” of tomorrow

More and more people are living in cities around the world. By 2050, over two-thirds of humanity is expected to be city dwellers. Today, around 24 percent of the world’s population lives in cities with more than one million inhabitants. In addition, it is assumed that 60 percent of the infrastructure has yet to be built to accommodate and serve all city dwellers by 2050. Since cities are responsible for almost 70 percent of global emissions, they have a great deal of responsibility for achieving climate protection goals. At the same time, cities have the potential to make a decisive contribution to sustainable development and climate protection.

In view of the rapid pace of urbanisation worldwide and its effects on the economy, politics and the climate crisis, we must ask the following questions: What does the liveable city of tomorrow look like? How does sustainable, socially just and resilient urban planning work in the 21st century? And how can the global megatrend of urbanisation be shaped in a forward-looking, climate-friendly manner?

Political models can support and promote the necessary social change, as they enable innovation and new ideas for the future. For this reason, the BMZ and GIZ use models of sustainable urban development for programmes, policy advice and international cooperation projects. At the same time, these urban narratives are used for positioning in international negotiations as well as in political communication and public relations in order to initiate social debates about the future of cities.

As part of this project, adelphi advised and supported the GIZ in the “City Sector Programme” and the BMZ in defining, formulating and communicating a “Liveable City” model. In this context, cities are understood both as creative actors for socio-ecological transformation (e.g. the Agenda 2030 and the Paris climate goals) and conceptually as social systems. In addition, adelphi was involved in the creation of a position paper and communication concept for sustainable urban development and urbanisation. These were presented and discussed in the context of political events in a high-profile manner.