Conference: The Transformative Power of Cities

+++ Registration closed +++


Date: 29 June 2017, 1-7 p.m., reception 7 p.m.


Location: silent green Kulturquartier, Gerichtstraße 35, 13347 Berlin, Germany


It will be decided in cities whether the transformation towards sustainability succeeds worldwide or not. Together with the issue of climate change, the transformation of cities towards sustainability should be right at the top of the agendas at the United Nations, the G7, the G20, the development banks, in bilateral cooperation as well as in national, regional and local politics. If this does not happen, it will be impossible to meet the global sustainability goals. Starting from a global perspective on urbanization the WBGU conference will discuss specific issues from a multi-sector (systemic) and transdisciplinary approach. A specific focus will be given to the issues of real estate markets in urban development and the rise of the digitalization of cities.


Due to a limited number of participants an early registration is recommended.


Registration closed.



P r o g r a m m e 






Welcome note

Sabine Schlacke, Chair, WBGU, Institute for Environmental Law and Planning Law at the University of Münster


Keynote: Global Urbanisation and the Transformation towards Sustainability

Dirk Messner, Chair, WBGU, German Development Institute - DIE


Keynote: Germany’s Responsibility for Sustainable Global Urbanisation

Barbara Hendricks, Federal Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Federal Republic of Germany




Thematic session 1: Do Real Estate Markets Lead to Unjust Cities?


Saskia Sassen, Columbia University

Stephan Bone-Winkel, Beos AG, IREBS International Real Estate Business School, University of Regensburg

Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur for Housing and Human Rights - video message

Joseph Schechla, HIC-Housing and Land Rights Network


Moderator: Karen Pittel, WBGU, Ifo Center for Energy, Climate and Exhaustible Resources



Coffee break




Cities as complex, self-organizing Systems

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, WBGU, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research




Thematic session 2: Digital Cities - Potential or Risk for Sustainable Development?


Carlo Ratti, Carlo Ratti Associati, SENSEable City Lab, MIT

Shivani Chaudhry, Habitat International Coalition - South Asia Program

Andreas Knie, WZB Berlin Social Science Center


Moderator: Ina Schieferdecker, WBGU, Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS




Sabine Schlacke, Chair, WBGU







Please direct your queries to


German Advisory Council on Global Change / Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen (WBGU), Secretariat