Scientific support of the SWR Future Days in the Ahr Valley


The Department of Spatial and Infrastructure Planning of the TU Darmstadt has already been represented several times in television and radio formats this summer semester to report on topics of climate change and climate adaptation in the context of urban and infrastructure development. A training course for journalists lasting several days was also accompanied.

Presentations of various consequences of climate change can be found daily in diverse reports of different media formats. Often, the multitude of problems is named, but without giving an overall picture and pointing out solutions. Therefore, SWR X Lab together with Correctiv and the Bonn Insitute hosted a 3-day event entitled “SWR Future Days – Constructive Journalism in Climate Change” from May 08-10 to address these challenges in reporting.

Our research associate Benjamin D. Kraff was invited to speak as an infrastructure expert on “Climate Protection and Climate Adaptation” as well as to accompany the entire SWR Future Days as a science coach for answering technical questions. About 60 journalists from various media companies from all over Germany participated in the event, which lasted several days.

It was no coincidence that the event took place in the Ahr Valley. There was a lively exchange with guests from the citizenry and local trades who had been affected by the flood, focusing in particular on how the media deal with disasters and subsequent reporting. Various excursions focused on the topic of reconstruction. With the local heating network in Marienthal, a showcase project was realized by the local people, which includes climate-friendly heat generation and also climate-adapted infrastructures (resilient to flood events). Many other topics were addressed in several presentations and critically discussed afterwards.

Our research associate was also a guest on the SWR podcast “SWR Aktuell Global” during the stay in the Ahr Valley. Under the title “Thinking about critical infrastructure during reconstruction in the Ahr Valley”, the importance of important systems as well as the dangers in case of disasters that emanate from them and that result from system dependencies were discussed. In the spirit of the conference, however, approaches to solutions for the Ahl were also presented and critically reflected in the context of current developments. In full length, the podcast can be found at the following link: