Joint project KAHR: "Scientific monitoring of reconstruction processes after the flood disaster in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia: Impulses for Resilience and Climate Adaptation", in short: KAHR (Climate Adaptation, Flood, Resilience)

Institute of Spatial and Regional Planning (IREUS)

Heavy rain caused severe flooding in parts of Central Europe in July 2021. The central upland regions in the German federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia were particularly affected, especially the Ahr Valley in Rhineland-Palatinate and the areas around Euskirchen and Aachen/Düren in North Rhine-Westphalia. The disaster event resulted in massive economic damage and more than 180 fatalities - with a high number in the Ahr Valley. Some of the floodwater backed up quite substantially at bridge structures, with the result that numerous bridge structures also collapsed under the weight of flotsam and the flood, further exacerbating the situation. In addition, the level of preparedness of the population to deal with such masses of water was also limited. In the current reconstruction process, the question therefore arises to what extent old structures can simply be rebuilt or which options for acting are available for a more resilience- and adaptation-oriented development of the flood-affected regions.

The KAHR project aims to provide scientific support and advice on the reconstruction processes following the flood disaster in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia and to identify starting points for resilient and climate-adapted development, while also strengthening possible model approaches for resilient reconstruction. It is funded with 5 million euros by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Under the leadership of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörn Birkmann (lead partner)/University of Stuttgart and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Schüttrumpf/RWTH Aachen, a total of 13 scientific institutions and practical partners from various disciplines are working together on the project. The expertise ranges from urban and regional planning, hydrology and water management to building technology as well as risk, innovation and systems research.

In this respect, there are two focal points within the KAHR project. The focus area "flood risk analyses" aims, among other things, at revising flood hazard and risk maps, especially in view of climate change, considering different future scenarios. In the area of the focal point "spatial risk and adaptation management", spatial protection and precautionary concepts are to be further developed in the context of reconstruction with the aid of a risk-based and adaptive approach and taking into account spatial planning, social science and water management findings. For this purpose, aspects of vulnerability and worthiness of protection of different population groups and critical infrastructures will be analysed. It will also be examined how more adaptive planning approaches can be introduced into concrete reconstruction and decision-making processes as well as spatial planning. Another important component of the project is the intensive and direct cooperation with practitioners at the municipal and county level. For this purpose, a project office was also set up in each of the two federal states.

Further information:

Jörn Birkmann
Alessa Trüdinger
Holger Sauter

Website of FONA/BMBF:;

Project website:

Lead Partner:

  • Dr.-Ing. Jörn Birkmann, Institut für Raumordnung und Entwicklungsplanung Universität Stuttgart (IREUS)

Project Partners:

Funding authority:

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Project management agency:

German Aerospace Center (DLR)


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörn Birkmann
Alessa Trüdinger

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