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Research Project: Well-Being Transformation Wuppertal (WTW) - an Urban Transition Laboratory for Sustainable Economics (2015-2018)

What do a sustainable economy, quality of life and urban transformation mean in cities such as Wuppertal, which are struggling with deep structural changes? How can impulses for more sustainability coming from the city’s civil society be described, structured and supported? How can quality of life be decoupled from material economic growth and resource consumption?

The project WTW seeked comprehensive answers to these questions, organized in the following sub-projects:

  • Participatory development of an overarching concept of urban well-being, based on the existing set of indicators in the OECD Better Life Index, which was adapted to the city of Wuppertal.

  • Mapping of different projects and initiatives run by the city, companies or civil society groups and evaluation of their relation to well-being.

  • Networking and support of existing initiatives in order to further increase the creation of well-being while reducing environmental impacts.

  • Conceptual and methodological developments as well as implementation of the approaches of real-world laboratories and real-world experiments.

Following the principles of transdisciplinary and transformative research, the research process did not only bridge various disciplines but has also taken place in a dialogue with the citizens of Wuppertal as well as organized actors from civil society and the city’s administration. Projects aiming to create well-being were co-designed and co-produced in three selected quarters of the city together with local groups.

WTW was a joint research project of the Wuppertal Institute and the University of Wuppertal. It was located at TransZent, the Center for Transformation Research and Sustainability founded by the University of Wuppertal and the Wuppertal Institute in October 2013. It was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education of Research (BMBF), funding scheme "Nachhaltiges Wirtschaften" of "Socio-Ecological Research" (SÖF) of "Research for Sustainable Developments" (FONA), Grant 01UT1412A.

Publications of the project can be found here. [English and German]