Paulina Grebenstein 

using design methods to adapt cities to climate change

and human needs 


integrative design concepts in the field of urban climate adaptation. 

The modern city needs a holistic planning approach, in which different measures in the field of infrastructure are rethought conceptually, operationally and economically.

Design methods promote new interdisciplinary approaches and are used at urban:eden in particular for the modernization of previously dysfunctional and separately planned infrastructures in public spaces. The focus is on the holistic combination of climate adaptation measures, the challenges of city growth and the quality of urban life.


climate change in cities

+8 degree

Cities are hotter than their surrounding area due to the high degree of soil sealing and the resulting urban heat island effect. This is intensified in the wake of climate change.


...people died in Europe from the consequences of the Heatwave in 2003: Especially at night, cities do not cool down and thus pose a health threat. 

300 mio. € 

...the German insurers paid in 2018 for damages caused by storms and floods.

30-40 times

...a year the Berlin combined sewerage system flows over into the urban rivers during heavy rainfall causing massive fish mortality and water pollution.


*Original bike path „Current“ concept by Copenhagenize

One example of how the design method can be applied is the concept of the flood water cycle path. It combines the development of bicycle infrastructure with local rainwater drainage and emergency runoff. By constructing modular elements from drainage concrete and runoff channels, the rainwater can either percolate into the ground or is lead to natural filters in parks or floating in the urban rivers during a heavy cloudburst. This relieves the load on the mixed water system, protects the water bodies and restores a more natural water cycle. Additionally, the floating filters clean the urban rivers itself and it allows swimming in them. Wherever we create enough space in the streetscape urban wetlands can also be integrated which serve as street furniture and provide storage of water to cool the city by evaporation. 


The flood-water cycling path can be integrated into a state of the art safe crossing. Corner bump-outs ensure a safer crossing for cyclists and pedestrians by avoiding sidetracking and increasing the distance between safe zones. At the same time, the bump-outs can be used for as retention space and planters.  

*Original bike path „Current“ concept by Copenhagenize

*Original bike path „Current“ concept by Copenhagenize


“The refuelling of the civic imagination with regard to urban spaces and their potentials often begins with proposing the seemingly impossible, but presents this as a concrete spatial utopia that can be realised and can manifest itself in the city.” 

Francesca Ferguson, editor of „Make_shift city“