Climate Initiative Essen - Action in a new Climate Culture

Climate Initiative Essen - Action in a new Climate Culture


Problems and Purpose

The project is one of the victorious competitive contributions within the scope of a competition of the German ministry for education and research (BMBF) named „Energy-Efficient City“. It pursues the aim to promote climate protection in Essen with a Bottom-Up strategy, i.e. to realise a vivid climate culture by means of participatory initiatives in particular by private companies and civil society. If within ten years the carbon dioxide emissions are meant to decrease in Essen by 40%, this can be reached not only by technical innovations. One must succeed above all in carrying these new technologies into the mainstream of the society and in helping to broaden use. Therefore cultural patterns of the way we use energy and consume must be changed.

Starting points to think about are the behaviour patterns like the high level of individual, motorised, fossil fuel-intensive mobility and to change it towards a more sustainable direction. This requires social movement what the network approach and the awareness campaigns of the Climate Initiative Essen should contribute to. In this respect social and political engagement is needed in favor of the necessary framework for effective climate protection, for example, in the housing sector. How such massive sociocultural change can be pushed in a city like Essen in short time, this tries to fathom the climate initiative in a mixture of a research and conversion project. The climate initiative indicates ways how private households and consumers together with the city administration, energy providers and transport services can act more effectively for the regional climate protection.


It is a joint project and was part of the "Wettbewerb Energieeffiziente Stadt” (Energy-Efficient City competition). Aim of that competition was/is to enhance the energy efficiency in cities and municipalities. Frameworks are the climate protection goals of the German government and the structures and functions of the particular municipalities:

  • future-orientated ideas should be developed and implemented
  • the 'system of city' should be considered as a whole
  • innovations and services should get a key role

It is about showing the know-how and provide a municipal practice, to promote innovations for the economy and the urban society. The City of Essen was one of the five winners of the competition in 2010. Find it here:

Originating Entities and Funding

The project under the coordination of the City of Essen unites scientific partners and the municipal enterprises of the Essen public transport company (EVAG), the housing company Allbau and the public utilities (Stadtwerke Essen). On side of the sciences belong to the syndicate beside the KWI the Centre for Logistics and Traffic (ZLV) as well as the institute of town planning and town planning (ISS) of the University of Duisburg-Essen and the university Spin-off Transportation, Research and Consulting (TRC). The project will be running from 2011 to 2016.

Participant Recruitment and Selection


Methods and Tools Used

The concept of a "climate culture" has its roots in newer research results in the field of "collective action processes" where actors are not only guided by rational or economic factors or motives but also through social, cultural and mental incentives to develop a more sustainable change of behaviour when it comes to "climate culture". To achieve this big change in the behavior of citizens it is important to strengthen the "readiness potentials" with an intenliigent collaboration of incentives, lifestyles, infrastructure in combination with frameworks and guidelines.

Deliberation, Decisions, and Public Interaction

Within this project, which was/is part of the competition „Energy-Efficient City“, another competition was called out - "Stadt|Teil|Ideen" (in English: City|District|Ideas). The goal of the competition was to target people, groups or initiatives in Essen and support them with their developing and implementing of ideas or projects within the frame of sustainability and quality of life in city districts or other communications communities. A workshop was hold in a "Pro-Action Café" format. The winners of the competition have been rewarded with a prize money of 3.000 Euros and mentoring for the idea/project/concept/initiative. To participate in the competition the combatants needed to make a poster.

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects


Analysis and Lessons Learned

About the workshop and the organisation of the competition:

  • a longer time span for an application process of possible competitors
  • a better design-support for the making of the poster as an application for the competition, this should be also more and better communicated from the beginning that there would be a support to help participate in the competition
  • it should be thought about to organise the workshop for the competition in the districts with the help of already existing/active initiatives or organisations in this district of a planned competition

About public relations:

  • to achieve a broad reporting/media coverage it is important to engange more with cooperation partners and the press/journalists and deepen the collaboration
  • keep going on with the press releases and no shyness when it comes to repetition

Secondary Sources

Eight publications are available to download from the project website. Unfortunately they are all in German.

External Links



Case Data


Essen , NW
Nordrhein-Westfalen DE


Start Date: 
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
End Date: 
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Number of Meeting Days: 
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Targeted Participants (Demographics): 
Other: Demographics: 
city district
Method of Recruitment: 


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Facetoface, Online or Both: 
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Who paid for the project or initiative?: 
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
Type of Funding Entity: 
Who was primarily responsible for organizing the initiative?: 
Who else supported the initiative? : 
Essen public transport company (EVAG), the housing company Allbau, the public utilities (Stadtwerke Essen), the KWI, the Centre for Logistics and Traffic (ZLV), the institute of town planning and town planning (ISS) of the University of Duisbug-Essen


Total Budget: 
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Number of Full-Time Staff: 
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