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Research Area: Urban Transformations



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Cities are the habitat of humans. Globally, more and more people live and work in urban areas.  Consequently, our research recognizes that changing environments and anthropogenic dynamics are closely related, whereupon a combination of relevant forces – including the unprecedented western life style, economic and demographic growth, urbanization - pose additional stress on Earth’s integrity and finally on humankind itself. Considering the overwhelming complexity of urban systems  various aspects of urban spaces are take into account, to identify key processes playing a role in enhancing GHG mitigation, adaptation, and sustainability of urban populations.  Cities indeed exhibit common features so that generalized reductionist descriptions of city systems are developed and used for analytical purposes. Read more...

Contact us


Telegraph Hill, Building A56, 2nd floor

Research Area Head: Jürgen P. Kropp

Deputy Head: Diego Rybski

Scientific Coordination & Administration: Christiane Walter


Click here for a complete list of our research team.


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Flagship Project: Climate Proof Cities and Infrastructure

Speakers: Diego Rybski / Matthias Lüdeke

The research is focusing on the spatial and dynamical aspects of urban space, to identify possible synergies and trade-offs among processes playing key roles in enhancing GHG mitigation, adaptation, and sustainability of urban populations. Urbanization is a major facet of the current rapid development. Cities exhibit common features so that generalized reductionist descriptions of city systems could be achieved. Read more.

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Flagship Project: Sustainable Transition Pathways

Speaker: Luis Costa / Anne Holsten

Research on sustainability transitions aims at advancing the understanding of the dynamics of human-environment systems. We want to improve the evaluation of potential trade-offs and synergies between mitigation, adaptation and development. Read more.

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Cross-Cutting Activities: Impact Services and Climate Media

Speaker (CCD):  Bernd Hezel

The aim of this cross-cutting activity is to explore, design and implement innovative means to improve the accessibility of climate change related scientific results and to improve the understanding of complex scientific knowledge. We focus on two complementary branches: (i) tailored interactive digital information systems, and (ii) innovative media products. Read more.

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Third-Party Funding: Running Projects

Our team members are involved in several third-party funded research projects both as coordinators and as researchers. Topics include: adaptation and mitigation in cities, carbon-accounting for sustainability initiatives, sustainable land-use options and analysis of innovation trends.


Click here for a full list of running projects and contact persons.

Recently Finished Projects



Our researchers are aiming to publish their results in peer-reviewed ISI-journals. On this website we are gathering the latest publications in such journals as well as bookchapters, reports, studies and policy documents.

See full list of most recent publications.

photo: Philipp Arndt/PIK



We are regularly organizing a PhD-seminar, where junior researchers can present their latest findings and discuss with their colleagues. Additionally, we are inviting external scholars to present and discuss their findings in the CCD-Colloquium. Everyone who is interested is welcome to join.


For a detailed list of past and future PhD-Seminars, click here.

For a detailed list of past and future CCD-Colloquia, click here.

Recent PhD, Master-, and Bachelor-Thesis

Apart from our junior researchers working on their PhD, we are also regularly supervising Bachelor and Master-Students from different universities and disciplines. Our research is exploring diverse facets of climate change. Click here to get an overview of our most recently submitted thesis'.

University of Potsdam

photo: Fritze/University of Potsdam

Teaching at the University of Potsdam

Both senior and junior researchers from our group are contributing to the module "Earth as a System: Assessment and Modelling of Man-Environment Interactions" held regularly at the University of Potsdam in the Institute of Earth and Environmental Science.

Click here for more detailed information.

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