Urban Turn - Research Project on Life Quality in City Quarters in the Context of Mobility, City Structure and Energy Turnaround

Our Goals

In U-Turn, an integrated approach was applied to deal with the challenges for cities in the 21st century. The aim of the project was the development of a holistic concept for ethically responsible living in an urban environment based on the needs of the citizens including social conditions.
The project aimed for a research design which combines mobility, energy supplies and the development of city quarters with questions of acceptance, communication, ethical-normative contexts, environmental compatibility and health issues in an aging society.


Along the lines of mobility, energy supply and the planning of city quarters, the requirements of people in an urban environment were identified, analyzed and conceptionally prepared for being put into practice.
Regarding mobility in cities of the future, multimodal citizens expect an interconnected mobility system that is easy to use. In U-Turn, the framework of a closely interconnected mobility network was investigated, taking new modes of transport into account. The development of specific user profiles and their connection with offers subsequently served as a basis for the development of implementation options and applications for specific target groups.

Energy Supply

Besides, the development of energy supply in Germany and its influence on the Urban Turn was investigated. Therefore, a holistic approach was chosen in which economical, ecological and technical criteria as well as socio-economic factors were taken into account. The aim was to develop possible future scenarios for Germany and the systematic presentation and analysis of the parameters for the scenario and how they depend on different influential factors.

City Structure

The integration of information and communication technology into the planning of city quarters of the future is the most promising way of meeting the challenges of demographic change and the continuing urbanization.
The aim was to identify fields of application and the development of a plan of action for architecture and urban planning, in which an intelligent and interconnected system solution provides the background for an optimized and sustainable planning of city quarters that is acceptable for dwellers.

Our research Projects

Along the lines of the three main themes of urban development, cross-cutting themes were investigated in U-Turn. These will be explained in the following paragraphs, taking environmental issues and questions of acceptance as examples:

  1. Clean and non-polluted air is a vital condition for human well-being. U-Turn dealed with the question of the interrelation of city quarter structure, air quality, future changes and the resulting consequences for urban planning.
  2. The acceptance of the citizens is decisive for the realization and the success of future housing, energy and mobility concepts. The aim was the empirically based identification and modeling of requirements and needs of citizens which are relevant for acceptance in a future living environment. Also, acceptance-relevant requirements on energy supply and energy management, as well as modes of transport were investigated.
Funding The Project City 2020+ project within the interdisciplinary project house HumTec (Human Sciences and Technology) at the RWTH Aachen University is funded by the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments.
Cooperation The HumTec-project is an interdisciplinary project of the RWTH. It links the humanities/ social sciences and the engineering/ natural sciences.