The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning

Publication CO2-neutral in cities and neighbourhoods – the European and international perspective

Editor: BBSR Series: BBSR-Online-Publikation Issue: 10/2017 Published: May 2017 ISSN: 1868-0097 URN: urn:nbn:de:101:1-201706223568


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Cities do play a crucial role in reducing CO2 emissions. Two figures illustrate this: 54 per cent of the world population live in cities and 70 per cent of the global CO2 emissions originate in cities. Cities therefore are crucial actors in implementing measures to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The documentation thus focuses on the city as the field of intervention from a comparative European and worldwide perspective. It focuses on neighbourhood approaches on CO2 reduction with regard to buildings, mobility and green spaces.

Until now, international agreements and efforts to limit climate change have been insufficient in terms of dealing with the important role of cities within the decarbonisation process. This is due to the fact, that centralistic approaches dominate, which primarily focus on the national level. In some countries, however, national climate goals and INDCs have already been broken down to regional as well as municipal levels and constitute sufficient contributions at this level.

A central finding of this report is the substantial importance of effective urban planning and management processes for the realization of decarbonisation strategies at a local level. Hence there is a strong need for "good urban governance".

Interviews with partners deliver insights into the strategies of cities in practice. The good practices presented may deliver inputs for decision-takers to take further concrete steps in reaching the targets agreed upon at the UN conferences in Paris and Marrakesh.

Project management (principal)
Dr. André Müller, BBSR ( )

Research contractor
Competence Center for Sustainable Real Estate at the
IRE|BS International Real Estate Business School, University of Regensburg, Regensburg
Prof. Dr. Sven Bienert MRICS REV, Jonas Hahn, Sven-Marten Schulte, Rogerio Santovito

Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln
Dr. Ralph Henger, Dr. Judith Niehues


List of figures
List of tables
List of abbreviations

  1. Summary
  2. Topical introduction
  3. Introductory annotations on climate change
  4. The role of cities in meeting the reduction targets for GHG emissions
  5. Selected supranational initiatives and organisations on "low carbon cities"
  6. Guidelines and systems for local GHG inventories
  7. Reporting systems for recording and monitoring GHG emissions
  8. Methodical approaches for evaluating cities
  9. Analytical part – measures in selected cities
  10. Answers to central research questions
  11. Recommendations for action and core issues


This publication has been also released in German:
>> BBSR-Online-Publikation 03/2017

Related projects

CO2-neutral in cities and neighbourhoods - the European and international perspective

Status: Completed Project duration: October 2015 – November 2016

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