Foto: Eingang Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik

Mission statement

The German Institute of Urban Affairs (Difu) is the largest urban research institute in the German-speaking region. We advise municipalities on all tasks that they face now and in the future. Independent, objective and profound.

» Finding practice-orientated and value-based solutions for municipal challenges — that has been the focus of our research work for nearly 50 years. «
- Prof. Carsten Kühl, Director of research and managing director of Difu

We address the complete spectrum of municipal topics

From new forms of mobility and housing to municipal climate and environmental protection and from policies for the development of building land to smart cities. We target our research towards the needs of the towns and cities: We conduct planning games and law impact assessments, undertake application research, evaluate programmes and develop qualified training opportunities and work tools for municipal practice.

We tackle the municipalities’ future topics at an early stage

It is our aim to give the towns and cities new impulses to solve upcoming challenges and to contribute to sustainable urban development with innovative ideas – through research, training and exchange of experiences.

We research in an interdisciplinary manner and benefit from a broad network

At Difu, researchers from various disciplines work together on current municipal issues. Whether urban and regional planning, law, geography, social sciences, economics or environmental sciences - we look at the municipalities' topics from different perspectives. And we benefit from an excellent network of cities and municipalities, with the research community and with our partner institutes in Germany and abroad.

We bring different perspectives together

Complex societal problems can only be solved if we work together. Therefore, we work closely with our partners from politics, civil society and the economy, and integrate their expertise into the research process. Together we find sustainable and practical solutions.

We value a spirit of solidarity

As an employer, we strive to ensure equality among our employees. It is particularly important to us to create a working environment that enables a work-life balance. We see ourselves as a learning organisation and support the continuous development of our employees.

We have been a reliable partner for the municipalities for over fifty years

Difu was founded in 1973 on the initiative of the member towns and cities of the Association of German Cities (Deutscher Städtetag, DST). Difu is a non-profit limited company under German law and has offices in Berlin and Cologne. Alongside the German Federal Government and the State of Berlin, more than 100 municipalities are its donors. Its sole shareholder is the Association for Municipal Research (Verein für Kommunalwissenschaften, VfK).

Association for Municipal Research