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KlimaNetze 2.0: Enabling social innovations through a structural anchoring of governance processes
Client:Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (funding measure 'Sustainable transformation of urban areas')
Partner(s):RWTH Aachen University (IfS - department for Sociology/ Technology Studies; PT – department for Planning Theory and Urban Development); City of Bielefeld; District of Lippe
Time frame:01/2020 – 09/2022

During its two-year term, the transformative joint research project Climate Networks 2.0 aims to establish an independent platform to support social innovation and civil society involvement in climate protection in the city of Bielefeld . At the end of the funding period, the platform should be able to continue working independently on the basis of the developed carrier and financing structure. The thematic focus of the platform will initially be on promoting engagement in the field of sustainable and regional nutrition. In addition to the city of Bielefeld, the neighbouring district of Lippe will therefore be added as a further municipal cooperation partner. Furthermore, the project will work together with the Bielefeld Food Council, Transition Town Bielefeld and WissensWerkStadt Bielefeld as practice partners.

The predecessor project "Climate Networks - Transformations in Climate and Resource Protection through the Design of Governance Processes" already researched and improved the interaction of actors in Bielefeld's climate protection. The project developed ideas for real-world laboratories, which were intended to advance the cooperation of actors and urban climate protection as a whole. The two selected and implemented real-world laboratories in the field of sustainable mobility proved to be very effective. They showed that engagement from the city society for climate protection can have a great impact if those involved are able to act responsibly on the basis of an intrinsic motivation, if their engagement receives attention and support and if it is constructively networked with politics and administration. The research in the Climate Networks project, on the other hand, has also shown that city society actors usually find it difficult to gain access to the political-administrative system - with presumably negative consequences for climate protection, trust between the actors and ultimately also for local democracy.

The follow-up project Climate Networks 2.0 will reinforce the structures and instruments developed in the previous project and transfer them to new contexts. In this way, the potential for action by actors from civil society, business, science, administration and politics will be made exploitable for urban and regional climate protection. To this end, a platform for innovation and engagement in climate protection will be developed and established. The platform is to have a political vote but be independent of political decisions. It is intended to create a public presence in order to increase the radiance of projects in climate protection. The platform will have the function of activating self-motivated and self-responsible involvement of actors from the urban community. Engagement and voluntary work and the formation of new alliances between specific groups of actors in climate protection will be promoted. In particular, cooperation and networking between committed city society actors and policymakers / administrations will be strengthened.  At the end of the funding period, the platform is to have a broad organisational and financing structure that corresponds to its tasks and is thus to be consolidated.

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