U.S. and German Cities for Sustainable Urban Development: D4C
Dialogues for Change
Dialogues for Change (D4C) is an initiative of The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), supported the German Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of International and Philanthropic Innovation. D4C grew out of the 2012 joint declaration between the German Government and HUD to support transatlantic learning on a variety of urban planning and development topics in support of a shared agenda for sustainable and integrated urban development. The U.S.–German cooperation is an international initiative of the German National Urban Development Policy.
GMF was selected to develop and manage D4C which focuses on connecting U.S. and German city leaders in an innovative and outcome-oriented city learning network. After an initial pilot year in 2012, there have been two cohorts of city networks under the D4C initiative which are described in greater detail below.
D4C 2.0 — 2013–2015
Between 2013 and 2015, D4C 2.0, which included Austin, Texas, Baltimore, Maryland, Flint, Michigan, Memphis, Tennessee in the United States and Bottrop, Leipzig, and Ludwigsburg in Germany, was designed to engage local leaders in U.S. and German cities on strengthening their civic engagement approaches, testing new ideas on active planning processes in their communities, and ultimately finding integrated solutions to complex urban development challenges.
D4C 3.0 — 2016–2018
D4C 3.0 continued to build on this successful model and developed a new transatlantic network of cross-sector participants to explore cross-cutting themes critical to successful project implementation. With integrated urban development as the primary focus, the programming focused on developing and strengthening cross-sector partnerships, both from a peer-to-peer scale as well as a local-to-federal scale, with the overall goal of leveraging these relationships to successfully implement catalytic urban sustainability priorities.
Dialogue for Change 3.0 was a project-based initiative consisting of a series of intensive, peer-to-peer dialogue-based workshops that were built on the participants’ professional experiences
and the common experiences shared among a transatlantic group of leaders. Workshops were held alternately in the United States and Germany in the participating network cities. The process and outcome of D4C 3.0 contributed positively to the evolution of six projects that the city teams from Baltimore, MD; Charlotte, NC; Pittsburgh, PA; and Bottrop, Leipzig, and Karlsruhe were working on as part of the participation in the initiative. The projects that each city team has been working on as part of their participation in D4C 3.0 are summarized below:
BALTIMORE’S GREEN NETWORK is a collective vision for Baltimore that bring together stakeholders to help revitalize communities by creating new neighborhood green spaces and better linking them to the rest of the city’s greenspace network. By focusing resources in areas of blight and underinvestment, the plan will increase opportunity, create safe and healthy spaces, and generate economic development. The planning process will help direct long-term implementation of the city’s Growing Green Initiative, which was the focus of Baltimore’s participation in the previous iteration of D4C.
BOTTROP’S NEIGHBORHOOD WORKS RHEINBABEN (NachbarschaftsWerk Rheinbaben) is a project seeking to combine intelligent measures to increase energy efficiency and climate-friendly energy production with building modernization in the neighborhood of Rheinbaben. This will include the construction of CHP-based heat networks and energy efficient renovation and modernization of residential buildings. The project is part of the wider Master Plan InnovationCity project.
CHARLOTTE’S NORTH END SMART DISTRICT is revitalizing the neighborhood and seeking to work with lower income neighborhoods in the smart district to identify sustainability opportunities that will result in economic benefits to all residents (e.g. energy efficiency, water conservation, and mobility choices). The project is built on a smart cities platform and explores the possibilities of systemically addressing environmental, economic development, and social equity issues.
KARLSRUHE’S RAHMENPLAN NORDWESTADT is a strategic plan being implemented for the northwestern part of the city built in the 1970s. The plan for this area addresses issues of compatible density by re-densification, the renewal of public spaces, as well as consultation on social infrastructure needs with the residents. The project is part of the broader Räumliches Leitbild initiative that covers the development of the whole city.
LEIPZIG’S HOUSING POLICY IMPLEMENTATION needs to be implemented in a way that allows for adaptation and refinement in the context of highly dynamic demographic developments and changes in the housing market. The growth in residents in Leipzig in recent years is currently compounded by the accommodation of refugees, causing the housing policy implementation to need to account for dynamic adjustments.
PITTSBURGH’S UPTOWN ECOINNOVATION DISTRICT is an important part of the city’s wider goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy use in city facilities by 2030. The Uptown EcoInnovation District will use multi-stakeholder analysis of distributed energy, energy efficiency, and renewable, as well as community engagement in the implementation of the substation integration development plans. Through this collaborative multi-stakeholder process, as well as other cross sector collaborations like the Roundtable on Green Energy, the city will begin implementing the identified priorities for the energy use in city facilities.