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Urban Districts

The sustainable design of urban districts is one of the most important tasks in urban planning. Focusing only on the design and optimisation of individual buildings in order to create a sustainable city falls short here. Cities with a sustainable future need districts that are more than the sum of their buildings. Climate action and climate adaptation, district-wide energy supply, sustainable mobility and much more are also very important. District planning should therefore be based on sustainability criteria in as holistic a way as possible. The DGNB scheme for urban districts provides support here as a planning tool.

Characteristics of sustainable urban districts

  • Contribution to climate action by reducing greenhouse gases over the entire life cycle
  • Adaptation to climate change and promotion of biodiversity (e.g. greening, use of rainwater)
  • Establishment of energy and material cycles at the neighbourhood level (circular economy)
  • Promotion of social and functional diversity
  • High quality of life and stay
  • Promotion of health, e.g. through attractive footpaths and cycle paths as well as low noise and pollutant emissions
  • Sustainable mobility options
  • Resource and cost savings through the sensible use of technical systems (smart infrastructure)
  • Maximum use and production of renewable energy in the area
  • High flexibility of construction sites, buildings and open spaces to changing requirements

Target group of the certification

The certificate is aimed at municipalities as well as private project developers and investors.

Advantages of certification

  • Holistic consideration of all relevant sustainability requirements
  • Transparent and independent quality labelling and assurance
  • Certification as a tool for anchoring and implementing municipal sustainability goals in practice
  • Building an image as an attractive and sustainable neighbourhood
  • Communication of the project to the public
  • Marketing and financing advantages
  • Higher value stability
  • Reduced effort and expense for DGNB building certification because documentation from the district certification can be credited
  • Can be applied and compared internationally
  • Contribution to the sustainability goals of the United Nations

Special features of the scheme

The scheme should support the planning and construction of lively, attractive and at the same time resource-conserving districts. The long-term goal is for users to feel comfortable in the district and be able to live and work there in a carbon-neutral way. The individual buildings do not necessarily have to be certified, but are included in the evaluation with their consumption values and impact on open spaces (e.g. façade and roof greening).

Distinction from other schemes

The focus of the scheme is on mixed-use districts with a residential component. The open spaces and common areas as well as the infrastructure and location of the district are particularly important in this regard.


Dr. Stephan Anders
Director DGNB Certification
Phone: +49 711 722322-45
s.anders at dgnb.de

Added value of certified districtrs

Learn about the added value for projects resulting from sustainable planning and implementation as well as certification.

Request now