Urban material flow management: tools for the resource-efficient development of urban districts


The sustainable development of urban districts is closely linked to increasing the resource efficiency of material flows: The basis for a resource-efficient use of material flows is integrating district-related material flow management into municipal planning processes. This material flow management controls material flows in all phases of the district development, from new planning through use or conversion to demolition. In addition, the material flows of different sectors, such as construction materials for buildings and infrastructure, energy sources for electricity and heat supply or emissions, such as greenhouse gases or waste, are combined.

In the first project, RessStadtQuartier, a “Resource Efficiency Toolbox” was developed to evaluate and increase resource efficiency within a district-related material flow management system. This toolbox contains knowledge and information base as well as practice-related instruments for implementing suitable measures in all phases of district development to increase resource efficiency. The innovation potential and the novelty of the “Resource Efficiency Toolbox” developed in RessStadtQuartier lies in the linking of approaches of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Building Information Modeling (BIM) and GIS-based cadastres. This is done conceptually by interlacing the “physical life cycle” with the “planning cycle” of districts.

Considering this, the follow-up project RessStadtQuartier2 aims to establish the “Resource Efficiency Toolbox” for district-related material flow management in practice, to test it within the framework of actual planning processes and to develop it further depending on the application requirements. This toolbox is to be used in actual planning processes to increase urban districts' resource efficiency systematically. The direct utilization of the project results occurs both in the participating city of Darmstadt and in the partner cities of Wiesbaden, Bensheim, the municipality of Münster (Hesse) and the municipality of Otzberg and in real estate companies. On the one hand, this includes the continuation of planning processes and the development of guiding principles for a “resource-efficient city district” intended by the cities. On the other hand, the findings on resource efficiency will be brought into widespread use in the form of a business model to be developed and made accessible to other potential users such as municipalities, real estate companies, etc.

The Department of Land Management is to analyse the redevelopment potential of the building stock in cooperation with the practical partners. Renovation concepts are to be developed and tested in consultation with owners. Furthermore, the Department of Land Management, in cooperation with real estate companies, is to develop and test approaches to the building material cycle for the materials contained in the housing stock. For this purpose, data that is as generally available as possible is to be used in order to be able to define suitable resource-efficient renovation measures more quickly.