© Lily Banse / Unsplash

UrbanÖSL - For climate resilience and biodiversity in cities.

UrbanÖSL is a project funded by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt. The Institute of Industrial Engineering and Technology Management (IAT) at the University of Stuttgart coordinates the project and implements it in cooperation with Flächenagentur Baden-Württemberg. We develop application-oriented guidelines and innovative design solutions to enhance ecosystem services (ESS) in urban areas.

 »Our mission: creating cities for the future«

Our cities must become greener to be fit for the future. With innovative and tailored solutions, we can master the adaptation to climate change and the preservation of biodiversity. With our guidelines, we offer private and municipal owners of urban areas clear fields of action and measures. Not only to make their properties greener, but also to demonstrably increase the ecosystem services of such areas. To this end, we are developing scientifically verified methods that make the ecosystem services of urban areas quantifiable and certifiable. - With a standard whose criteria are defined in the UrbanÖSL project


How? - With the UrbanÖSL pilot parntership.

  1. The project develops methods and guidelines to quantify and assess the ecosystem services of urban areas.
  2. In the pilot phase, the current state of an example area will be analyzed regarding its ecosystem services. Tailored solutions with nature-based solutions and Green Infrastructure are then proposed to increase the ecosystem services of the area.
  3. Based on this, the pilot partner is provided with a design concept.

The pilot phase serves to test and fine-tune the developed methods and standard criteria.

Companies and municipality that own land in urban areas can now apply to become pilot partners! More information can be found under  »Interested?«


Funding code: 38409/01

Tailored solutions for urban transformation

Extreme heat, air pollution and species extinction. - Cities in Germany have long been affected by the effects of climate change and the loss of biodiversity. Cities must become greener to counteract these phenomena. This requires tailored and innovative solutions that specifically and effectively promote the climate resilience of our cities.

We want to counter the effects of climate change in cities with tailored and innovative solutions.


A project that creates incentives

Private companies and public institutions in cities can make an important contribution to this quest by designing their areas nature-based and oriented toward ehancing biodiversity and ecosystemservices. With the UrbanÖSL project, we therefore want to motivate companies and municipalities to join us in driving forward the green transformation of their cities by making the increase in the ecosystem performance of urban areas verifiable and certifiable. UrbanÖSL is thus also the first project to pursue a integral certification of increased ecosystem services through the use of green infrastructure in cities.


What we do exactly

To drive the green transformation, we rely on collaborating with private companies, public institutions and municipalities. We want to show how company-owned and municipal areas can be made nature-friendly with Green Infrastructure so that important ecosystem services that are connected to biodiversity such as carbon sequestration and improved microclimate are ensured and increased.

We take a holistic view of urban ecosystem services and biodiversity in their multidimensional mode of action.

Step 1: Methods and Standards

Our experts develop scientifically verified methods and guidelines that can be used to quantify, increase and evaluate the ecosystem services and biodiversity of urban areas.  In the long term, we plan on generating certificates of this increase by means of downstream monetary valuation. These certificates can be used by companies or municipalities in their sustainability communication to target groups and stakeholders.

Step 2: Pilot Phase

In the pilot phase, we work together with a partner company or municipality. Here, the ecosystemic current state of a sample area is analyzed. We work out customized solutions with nature-oriented elements of green infrastructure, which are designed to increase the ecosystem services of the area. Based on this, the pilot partner is provided with a visual design concept for implementation.

Step 3: Spreading the Change

After this first pilot phase, we are refining our methods and procedures. Now, the assessment and improvement of ecosystem services of urban areas can be expanded with further pilot partners to promote the green transformation towards climate resilient cities on a larger scale.

We are looking for pilot partners!


As a pilot partner you have many advantages directly linked to the partnership.

Moreover, by enhancing green infrastructure and ecosystem-friendly elements on your site, you can elevate the living experience of your premises or community. You not only enhance biodiversity, but unlock a cascade of benefits – from a healthier more resilient local environment to economic savings and improved social well-being.

For this, you only have to make your area available to the UrbanÖSL experts for planning purposes. In return, we will develop a customized design concept for you that will make your areas greener and more biodiverse. - And at the same time increase the ecosystem services of the area.

Apply now!

Simply enter your details in our list of interested parties using the contact form below. We need the following information: Name of your organization, location and contact details (contact person, e-mail, telephone number).

If you have any questions, our project coordinator Lisa Botero Thumm will be happy to help you: lisa.botero.thumm@iao.fraunhofer.de

Ecosystem services for living cities

More and more people are living in cities that are increasingly expanding occupying natural areas for themselves. Forests, lakes, rivers and meadows are disappearing under sealed surfaces of asphalt and concrete. As a result, cities are among the largest producers of global CO2 emissions (about 70%), destroying habitat for animals and plants and turning into heat ovens in the summer.

Improving the ecosystem services of urban areas is essential for the long-term adaptation of cities to climate change.

As nature disappears, so do the benefits that a healthy, functioning ecosystem provides for us humans: the so-called ecosystem services (ESS). In a nutshell, ecosystem services can be understood as positive "services" that humans obtain from other living beings such as animals and plants. If we want to prepare cities for climate change and design them as healthy, livable spaces, it is therefore essential to improve the ecosystem services of urban areas.

Green infrastructure as key

We see urban areas with Green Infrastructure as the key to the long-term adaptation of cities to climate change. This is because Green Infrastructure creates more spaces where numerous positive ecosystem services are provided by nature in the city, such as:

·       Purification of air and water

·       Regulation of the microclimate

·       Mitigation of flooding and improved infiltration of stormwater into the soil

·       Erosion control

·       Carbon capture

·       Creation of habitat for various animal and plant species

·       Recreational spaces to rest and relax for residents

·       And many more!

Thanks to ecosystem services, Green Infrastructure has a particularly positive effect on the microclimate in cities, increases people's well-being and quality of life, counteracts pleasure pollution. It is therefore indispensable for making cities climate resilient and sustainable.

Our focus: biodiversity, microclimate, carbon sequestration

Particularly important to counteract the effects of climate change and the extinction of species are those ESS that are linked to biodiversity preservation. In UrbanÖSL, we therefore focus on the three aspects of biodiversity, microclimate and carbon capture in our guidelines and design solutions.

© Nicky Pe / Pexels


Biodiversity is the basis of a functioning ecosystem. It enables and supports the provision of numerous ecosystem services: pollination of crops, soil fertility, air and water purification, the degradation of pollutants, and natural pest control are among them. 



© Yaron Cohen / Unsplash


Urban green spaces are very heterogeneous and mostly distributed over small areas.  Climatic conditions such as solar radiation and wind as well as different surface conditions (concrete, green space, forest, etc.) shape the urban microclimate, which varies accordingly. Green spaces have a particularly positive effect on the microclimate in cities: plants release water into the environment during transpiration processes. This increases the humidity and causes the ambient temperature to drop. 


© Robert Bye / Unsplash

Carbon capture

The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the earth's atmosphere is crucial for the global climate. Green plants absorb CO2 for photosynthesis. The carbon (C) of this compound is needed by plants for their growth. Thus, carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere, which counteracts global warming. Trees store the largest amount of carbon due to their longevity. For the urban ecosystem, more trees mean more carbon storage and thus a better climate. - On the urban level as well as on a global level.

Contact: lisa.botero.thumm@iat.uni-stuttgart.de

Lisa Botero Thumm

Project Coordinator

As a project coordinator and researcher in the area of Urban Economy at the University of Stuttgart, Lisa Botero Thumm brings over 15 years of experience as an environmental manager and consortium coordinator of European Union research projects to the UrbanÖSL project. Her research interests include urban green spaces, climate resilience strategies, ecosystem renewal, and gender mainstreaming in urban planning. After earning her bachelor's degree in environmental planning and international studies, she completed a master's in public administration at Miami University and a master's in environmental management with a focus on urban ecology at Yale University.

Contact: maringer@flaechenagentur-bw.de
Contact: maringer@flaechenagentur-bw.de

 Janet Maringer

Expert for nature-based climate protection

Dr.- Ing. Janet Maringer studied geo-ecology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and subsequently completed her PhD at the University of Stuttgart and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL Switzerland). She has been a research associate at WSL since 2010, conducting research on forest dynamics in the wake of land use and climate change. Since 2020, she has been working at the Flächenagentur BW as a lead researcher on topics related to nature-based climate change mitigation. In the UrbanÖSL project, Janet Maringer develops the guidelines and the methods for the standard to assess the ecosystem services in the pilot areas.

Contact: catalina.diaz@iat.uni-stuttgart.de

Catalina Díaz

Expert for sustainable design concepts and solutions

Catalina Díaz is an architect and urban planner with a master’s in integrated urban planning and sustainable design from the University of Stuttgart. With several years of experience in coordinating international projects and teams in the fields of climate action, urban development and strategies for public spaces, she supports clients and cities in defining urban visions for the future and in elaborating strategies to achieve them. In the UrbanÖSL project, she is responsible for researching and identifying potential design solutions for the development of pilot concepts regarding improved ecosystem services.

German Federal Foundation for the Environment


The Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) has been funding innovative, model and solution-oriented projects for the protection of the environment with a special focus on small and medium-sized enterprises since 1991.

In doing so, the DBU would like to contribute above all to solving current environmental problems that result in particular from unsustainable economic and lifestyle practices in our society. The DBU sees key challenges above all in climate change, biodiversity loss, the unsustainable use of resources and harmful emissions.

Further information: https://www.dbu.de/ueber-uns/deutsche-bundesstiftung-umwelt/




University Stuttgart – Institute of Industrial Engineering and Technology Management (IAT)


The Institute of Human Factors and Technology Management (IAT) at the University of Stuttgart cooperates closely with the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO) and connects applied research with practice with a profound understanding of organizational forms and technology. From a scientific perspective, the IAT contributes its many years of expertise in innovative urban system design as well as in the implementation of urban development projects.

The IAT is responsible for the coordination of the UrbanÖSL project, the associated public relations work and the communication of scientific results. In addition, the IAT experts are responsible for the development of the catalog of measures and the design concepts.  

Further information: https://www.iat.uni-stuttgart.de/



Flächenagentur Baden-Württemberg

The Flächenagentur Baden-Württemberg has many years of experience in the areas of:

·       Planning of eco-account measures and preparation of ecological expert reports

·       Mediation of ecopoints and forest compensation areas

·       Biodiversity consulting, nature-based climate protection and sustainable development.

·       Education and training

With this expertise, the Flächenagentur Baden-Württemberg is responsible at UrbanÖSL for developing and reviewing the scientific methods for quantifying and assessing the ecosystem services of urban areas and for developing the guideline.

Further information: https://www.flaechenagentur-bw.de/

Would you like to stay in touch? Register here to become a pilot partner!

We occasionally inform our interested parties about news and events related to our project. Your contact details (name of the organization, name of contact person, telephone number, e-mail address) will be stored by us and passed on to our funding body, the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU), for reporting purposes.

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