Case of the month - Berlin


Berlin Step Klima - Berlin Urban Development Climate Plan
Berlin (Germany)
The climate action plan is included in the initiative Berlin Climate Protection Information Office (BIK) which was provided by the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment, and implemented by the Berlin Energy Agency.

The Step Klima was adopted by the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment on May 2011.
Territorial scope
Regional and local level

Target buildings  




Public buildings

 New buildings    

Private buildings
 Existing buildings
 Industrial, services, etc.

Main goals

  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation on the spatial planning (city wide);
  • Integrated strategic concept including urban design, open space and landscape aspects;
  • Stabilize water and ecological ecosystems in the face of changing precipitation patterns;
  • Preserve rest and recreation opportunities in nature areas, open spaces and on Berlin's waterways;
  • Prevent an increase in the frequency of combined sewer network overflow and the resulting pollution of Berlin's water resources;
  • Development of a climatic friendly city, creation and protection of healthy living conditions and a high living standard, preventing health damages to citizens caused by heat stress in built-up and open spaces and minimizing damage caused by climate change related with extreme weather events.

Step Klima Plan is an integrative, process-oriented and cross-departmental instrument comprising effective measures to improve the quality of life in Berlin City and to face the future climatic challenges.
The conceptual framework of Step Klima was structured according to the following assumptions: looking for spheres of activities, spatial analyses of vulnerability, aims of adaptation to climate change (adaptation and mitigation) and the development of an action plan.

The Step Klima plan provides a clear framework for the overall urban spatial planning, to deal with the adaptation to climate change. It thus fits into the climate policy program of the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment, by focusing on four climate spatial fields of action:
• Bioclimatic conditions in urban areas;
• Green and open spaces;
• Water quality and heavy rain;
• Climate protection.

The four fields of action define a gradual spatially background with goals and measures for climatic adaptation and climate protection in Berlin.

Bioclimatic conditions in urban areas
Green spaces and specific vegetation species represent one of the major aspects to attain the balance of the bioclimatic conditions (using the green spaces cooling effect) in urban areas, and representing effective solutions to solve the thermal stress associated to the building stock concentration.

Climate protection
Special efforts should be encouraged in the energy-optimization building and refurbishment field by planning and implementing energy-optimized new buildings and refurbishing its stock of buildings in an energy-efficient approach. Additionally, the three-pillar approach - increasing energy efficiency, reducing energy consumption and using renewable energy- should also be reinforced in order to reach the climate protection established goals.

Water quality and heavy rain
The major challenges that Berlin faces in the water quality and heavy rain conditions should be solved with the reduction of combined sewer overflows, stormwater overflows on the sewage system and the preservation of water and swimming qualities of the city's bodies of water. In this sense, it is necessary to conceive new water development concepts, explore the potential of innovative solutions for combined wastewater treatment, and to expand decentralized rainwater management solutions and intensify local seepage.

Green and open spaces
The optimization of green and open spaces in the city streets, parks and urban development's will involve the extension of green space management, the upgrading of automatic irrigation systems, the selection of heat-resistant and hardy plants and the creation of green networks.

Future steps
The new measures and further research areas identified in the plan require a public participation and a political stage engagement alongside with the plan's measures implementation process.
In this sense, the presentation and discussion of goals, measures and instruments of Step Klima with the urban public will be important to encourage and commit the citizens. In addition, it will be important to stimulate the engagement of all the political levels to adapt and update the existing instruments, legal foundations and basic planning information.

At the end of the engagement process, it will be necessary to gather all the feedback into account and update the Step Klima plan, by assigning an institutional form and a computer-based platform.