The urban planet: how cities save our future

Kraas, Frauke / Claus Leggewie / Peter Lemke / Ellen Matthies / Dirk Messner / Nebojsa Nakicenovic / Hans Joachim Schellnhuber / Sabine Schlacke / Uwe Schneidewind
Books (2016)

Berlin: Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen (WBGU) (ed.)

ISBN: 978-3-936191-78-3

Dt. Ausg. u.d.T.:
Der urbane Planet: wie Städte unsere Zukunft sichern
Berlin: WBGU - Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen (Hrsg.)


The future of our civilization will be decided in the cities. The internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and the Paris Agreement on climate change can only be achieved if we design sustainable and liveable cities across the globe.
 The problems and potential solutions faced in doing so can vary widely across cities and urban communities. The cities of this world are quite different from another; they develop very ‘personal qualities’. In this comic, too, they appear as markedly distinct characters.
 The goal of the cities in this comic is to find pathways for a transformation towards sustainability.
A ‘normative compass’ provides orientation in the process, helping to design urban development so that natural life-support systems remain intact, participation is guaranteed in all its dimensions and the urban diversity of our cities and the quality of life of their populations remain priorities.
 To do justice to this urban socio-cultural diversity, we collaborated with artists from various cultures and countries – Cameroon, Germany, England, India and Japan. Thus, the peculiarities and character of the cities and their urban communities are also reflected in the book’s graphical realization.
This comic condenses into an illustrated story the fundamental findings of Humanity on the move: Unlocking the transformative power of cities, a report published by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). We hope this book encourages urban societies to champion the liveable and sustainable design of their cities with creativity and fun.

About the author

Messner, Dirk

Political Scientist


Further experts

Aleksandrova, Mariya

Climate risk governance 

Bauer, Steffen

Political scientist 

Baumann, Max-Otto

Political Science 

Beck, Tanja

Political Science 

Brandi, Clara

Economy and Political Science 

Dippel, Beatrice


Droste, Leonie Marie

Political Science 

Ekoh, Susan S.

Environmental Research 

Götze, Jacqueline

Political Scientist 

Hackenesch, Christine

Political Science 

Hilbrich, Sören


Hägele, Ramona

Political Scientist 

Iacobuta, Gabriela

Climate and sustainable development policy 

Janus, Heiner

Political Science 

Keijzer, Niels

Social Science 

Koch, Svea

Social Science 

Lehmann, Ina

Political Science 

Malerba, Daniele


Mathis, Okka Lou

Political Scientist 

Never, Babette

Political Scientist 

Pegels, Anna


Schwachula, Anna


Srigiri, Srinivasa Reddy

Agricultural Economist 

Vogel, Johanna

International Cultural Economy 

Wehrmann, Dorothea


Weinlich, Silke

Political Science