Urban Research

In 2020, our global society stands at a turning point. Record-breaking heat records, extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, or hurricanes – these are just some of the harbingers of predicted climate change effects. It is time to take a new path, to actively engage in climate protection, and to prepare for the impact climate change will have on us and our planet. This will require technological and architectural innovation, cultural change, new routines and, most importantly, solidarity.

The Urban Research Team of the Solar Decathlon Europe 21 aims to approach the complex challenges associated with this transformation through research and by inspiring people to act.

To do so, the local Mirke district, together with the sustainable transformations it requires, will serve as a real-world laboratory: researchers and practical partners collaborate to develop and conduct studies, thereby fostering mutual exchange and understanding. 

● © SDE21

● © SDE21

The SDE21 Real-world laboratory covers the following areas:

real-world experiments

Two real-world experiments on building efficiency and floor-space sufficiency. These experiments build on two opposing developments: enhanced efforts to improve energy efficiency of buildings, and increasing demands for living space. In Europe, per capita living space has been rising over decades, effectively nullifying savings made in the area of energy consumption. Both challenges need to be faced. Efforts to improve the energy performance of buildings through technical and architectural updates need to be intensified. At the same time, the reasons for increased use of space need to be understood so that alternatives can be developed.


Education is key for sustainable development. A range of activities organized by our Public Education Team will raise awareness among children, adolescents and young adults about issues such as the transition towards renewable energy, future living, improvement of building energy performance, and sustainable urban development. Taking the Mirke district as an example, we will make these topics accessible to young people in ways that are relevant to their lives and experiences.

Citizens’ Panel

The impact of our real-world experiments, our educational and public outreach projects, as well as the overall transformation of the district, will be assessed in a comprehensive longitudinal panel study. We will provide high-quality data regarding the transformation of a neighbourhood. Various socio-technical aspects will be covered.

urban research