Stadtwerke München is already working today to realize the future needs of Munich's residents. That is why they have been investing for years in projects that make Munich a forward-looking and innovative city. But what will life in the Bavarian capital look like in the future? For M-Puls, three trend researchers have reflected on how Munich will change and how we can all contribute to ensuring that the city remains livable.

Interview with Matthias Horx
Foto: Klaus Vyhnalek

Mr. Horx, in your Post-Corona Vision you describe how the world we know is dissolving and a new one is forming. What does that mean for a major European city like Munich?

"In the future, we will live in a world in which people will be more distanced without having to lose cohesion. You could say: a more 'airy' world lies ahead of us. Cities are agglomerations of crowds with high density. If we do it well, consciously design this change, it might just relax cities."

How exactly does good change go?

"We should make the city more spacious and generous. We can unbundle it and thereby also increase the quality of life. There's a lot to be said for the fact that Corona has put an end to the extreme urbanization that Munich in particular has felt. In the past ten or twenty years, everyone has flocked to the big cities en masse, and that has created enormous problems. That will probably change. People may go back more to the periphery, to the countryside and even to the countryside."

Matthias Horx, 65, founded the Zukunftsinstitut in 1998, which today has offices in Frankfurt a. M. and Vienna. His new book "The Future after Corona" (Econ) shows what can be made of the crisis.

Portrait photo of futurologist Prof. Dr. Stephan Rammler
Foto: Marlene Gawrisch

Dr. Rammler, what will our city look like after Corona, how will we move around in it?

It may come as a surprise that a futurologist would say such a thing, but at the moment we know as little as ever about the future. All the dynamics, especially economic and political, are so incalculable that at best we can only speculate wisely and humbly.

Let's do that. Keyword mobility - a lot has already changed there very quickly.

Indeed. But "quickly" is not quite the right word. As a result of the pandemic, we have experienced a frantic standstill: We ourselves have hardly moved at all, or much less. In order to live the social distance commandment, we have let the things of daily use come to us. Goods, services, information - all that was delivered to us. Even to work, many people no longer had to leave their homes. The necessary digital infrastructure was there, at home.

Prof. Dr. Stephan Rammler, born in 1968, heads the Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment (IZT) in Berlin. As a researcher and author, he is concerned, among other things, with the relationship between sustainability and digitization.

"SWM has never lost sight of the issue of services of general interest and acts very agile - that will pay off."

Prof. Dr. Stephan Rammler

Portrait photo of futurologist Prof. Dr. Matthias Garschagen
Foto: LMU München/Christoph Olesinski

Forecasts say that climate change will be felt even more acutely in 2050. What will Munich have to prepare for?

For example, extreme weather events such as heat waves or heavy rain. These may even pose direct risks to our health, which will also affect our everyday lives or the way we interact with each other. This starts with supposedly easy topics such as "Can I still go jogging when it's 40 degrees?" and goes all the way to the question of whether I notice when my elderly neighbor suffers in her attic apartment in these temperatures. Climate change and social change are intertwined: the older or even the poorer the population, the more vulnerable it is. Not everyone can afford a spacious, well-ventilated apartment.

Prof. Dr. Matthias Garschagen holds the Chair of Anthropogeography with a focus on human-environment relations at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. His research focuses on the assessment of future risk trends in cities at the interface of climate change and societal change. In addition, he is a senior author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, among others.

You can find the full-length interviews in issues 02/2020, 03/2020 and 01/2021 of M-Puls – and online at