urban research overview

Citizens’ Panel

starting point

Active climate protection requires active citizens. Apart from advancing technical and architectural innovation, we, as a society, need to rethink current lifestyles, daily routines and consumption patterns. This is the goal of the Solar Decathlon Europe 21 (SDE21). 

Being the very first urban edition of the Solar Decathlon Europe, the SDE21 will strike a new path here in Wuppertal. Unlike in previous competitions, contenders will have to develop adapted yet transferable solutions for different urban scenarios, and especially for Wuppertal’s Mirke district. This will require an in-depth understanding of the local circumstances as well as insights into attitudes and behaviours of local residents.

The main question that needs to be addressed is: How do people imagine their lives in Mirke district in the future? The Citizens’ Panel of the SDE21 Urban Research Team aims to answer this question. It also aims to give local residents the opportunity to actively contribute to the transformation of their neighbourhood.

Group of people listening.

● © SDE21

Bicycle at wall.

● © Andy White | Unsplash

together in the neighbourhood

The Mirke Citizens’ Panel allows residents of Mirke district to engage in direct and recurrent dialogue with the SDE21 Urban Research Team and the City of Wuppertal. Members of the Citizens’ Panel get the unique opportunity to actively get involved. They will be able to provide insight into their routines and attitudes as well as to share their perspectives on local issues, transformation processes and important questions for the future.

Regularly conducted surveys will provide real-time snapshots of Mirke district. These will allow us to comprehensively trace developments over time as well as to generate ideas and motivation for improvement. In addition to the Citizens’ Panel complementing the SDE21, we will investigate the impact of our main event, the two Real-world experiments on building efficiency and floor-space sufficiency, and of our educational and public outreach projects. This will allow us to better understand shifts in the attitudes and behaviour of local residents with respect to sustainable living.

The insights generated by the panel will find practical application in the work of the SDE21 Urban Research Team, the City of Wuppertal, and local practical actors. At the same time, they will provide unique data documenting the relationships between social and technical realities in the neighbourhood. This will be relevant for the competing teams as well as for the transferability of the innovations developed during the competition.

together in the

Group at workshop.

● © Jana Pahlkötter

People at Mirke.

● © SDE21

Join in!

All residents of Mirke district will receive an invitation to join the Mirke Citizens’ Panel. If required, underrepresented groups may be invited separately by the Urban Research Team to guarantee a representative panel. Those who do not live in but frequently spend time in Mirke district may also join. As part of a representative group of participants, the panel members will participate in a short online or paper-based survey once a year.

The survey will consist of recurring sections as well as alternating questions on current urban issues and issues related to Mirke district in particular. In addition, panel members will get involved in the selection of future research topics from the SDE21 Urban Research Team as they will be able to nominate issues that are of particular importance to them. The nominated topics will also feature in future surveys.

Join in!

The focus of the survey will be on the everyday realities of living in Mirke district and how these insights can be applied to the socio-technical living experiments that will be conducted in the neighbourhood.

  • What is life in Mirke district like and how is the neighbourhood changing?
  • Where do residents of Mirke district see positive developments; where is there room for improvement?
  • How do they imagine life in Mirke district in the future?

These are just some of the exciting questions the SDE21 Urban Research Team will explore together with the residents of Mirke district. Findings will be shared with panel members following completion of the surveys. In addition, they will be offered exclusive activities, such as guided tours during the main event of the SDE21 in June 2022. 

citizens’ panel