Research Areas:
Economic aspects of ecological urban and regional development

Sustainability transitions in cities and regions


Transformation to a sustainable urban mobility system in Dresden and St. Petersburg

Problem description

Reducing environmental and health problems related to transport has become a central future question in many cities worldwide. The complex problems of the urban transport and mobility system require a systemic change. In order to ensure changes in the entire system the cooperation of various actors is necessary. At the technical level, the goal could be to abandon the internal combustion engine, but at the social level, it would mean fostering a large-scale transformation of mobility patterns. On their way to a sustainable urban mobility system cities might also benefit from an exchange and mutual support. Developing their own pathways to transformation by considering local characteristics is one of the most important challenges that cities face.

Research goals

  • Carrying out local system and actors' analysis to grasp the initial situation in the area of mobility and transport in Dresden
  • Implementation and reflexion of the transition management approach and setting up of a transformation arena
  • Testing and enhancing new formats in order to reduce the gap between knowledge and practice related to the sustainable design of urban mobility systems
  • Testing new ways for systemic transformation to sustainable urban mobility ("reality labs")
  • Transnational exchange and knowledge transfer among the actors in the field of mobility from St. Petersburg and Dresden as well as identification of specific options for future cooperation

Research questions of the project and hypothesis

How can the participative process be organized, which would support a systemic transformation to a sustainable urban mobility system?

What can the new governance approach "Transition Management" contribute in the context of a transformation of the mobility system in Dresden? What are the related strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and risks?


The project builds on the transition management approach developed in the Nederland’s (Loorbach 2010). It was designed to develop and initiate transformation processes towards sustainability. Thereby we follow a "Frontrunner und Follower" approach. As a German "Zukunftsstadt" (future city) and "Frontrunner" the city of Dresden will test an extensive transition management approach. The experiences gained will then be discussed and reflected based on a transnational exchange with actors from St. Petersburg ("Follower").

It is intended to reduce the gap between knowledge and practice related to the sustainable design of urban mobility systems by the use of new formats ("Transformation arena", "Backcasting").

Envisaged results and contribution to the objectives of the research area

The scientific supervision of the project makes it possible to gather the latest knowledge on the transport and mobility system and the landscape of actors in Dresden and St. Petersburg. The scientific support is also very useful in order to build upon the existing knowledge of actors from research and practice on technology, transport management, urban planning and transformation. Furthermore, an optimal process setting is intended to initiate cooperation’s among the actors of mobility in both cities.

Finally, the knowledge and experience gained (content and process) might serve cities in Germany, Russia and the whole of Europe as basis for their own transformation pathways.

Logo German-Russian Roadmap
Logo German-Russian Year of University Cooperation and Science


10/2018– 9/2020


Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) - Federal Ministry for Education and Research

Logo BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research)


  • City of Dresden, mayor's office (coordination);
  • City of Sankt Petersburg