Urban Zero: We are making Duisburg-Ruhrort environmentally neutral

A neighborhood becomes enkelfähig.

The Urban Zero initiative marks the world's first attempt to transform an urban district, Duisburg-Ruhrort, within a few years (by 2029) into a state that has no impact on the biosphere. Together, Ruhrort is to be developed in an environmentally neutral way. Environmental neutrality means recording as many of the neighborhood's environmental impacts as possible using ecological accounting methods, reducing them as much as possible and offsetting the unavoidable portions within the neighborhood through ecological enhancement. The aim is to act in balance with the environment and thus not only positively change the environmental balance of the district, but also improve the lives of local citizens.


Why do we have to act?

The climate and environmental crisis is becoming ever more noticeable. Year after year, scientists report new record levels of global warming, loss of biodiversity and increasing acidification of the oceans. Cities - urban areas - only take up three percent of the earth's terrestrial surface, but consume two thirds of the energy and, together with the industry based there, are responsible for the majority of environmentally harmful emissions: this is where we need to start. Each and every one of us can play a part in countering this development. We need to rethink our actions and take a holistic approach: Environmental neutrality goes far beyond climate neutrality and, in addition to climate protection, also includes issues such as safeguarding biodiversity and protecting soil and water.

More about Urban Zero
Analysis, Reduction, Compensation

How do we want to do it?

The aim is to ensure that human activity in Ruhrort no longer has a negative impact on the environment from 2029 and at the same time provides Ruhrort residents with a better quality of life. 

Environmental neutrality for Ruhrort is to be achieved through a three-stage model: Analysis, reduction and compensation. The analysis and compilation of Ruhrort's overall eco-balance is followed by reduction and then compensation. But what is behind these processes? Find out in detail about the individual steps.

The approach

Who is driving the project?

Initial discussions about the project were initiated in June 2021 between Haniel, a family-owned company based in Ruhrort, and GREENZERO, a company active in the environmental sector. The municipal housing association GEBAG, the port company duisport as well as Haniel and GREENZERO are involved in the project company founded in August 2022. However, this ambitious project can only succeed as a joint venture: The city of Duisburg with its municipal companies, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and numerous well-known companies, organizations and scientific institutions have already been won as partners. The project company is looking for further partners and investors. The participation of the citizens themselves is particularly crucial to the success of the project.