How will Digitalization Change our Society?

Thanks to information technology, machines, products and people are being connected more and more. Is this leading to a smart green world in which everyone benefits from technological progress while the environment is preserved? Or are we heading into a digital growth economy in which money and power are concentrated among few and humanity passes beyond the planetary boundaries even more quickly? The research group “Digitalization & Sustainability” is investigating the megatrend in the areas of smart mobility, e-commerce and smart homes.


  • Workshop “(How) can our digitalized society operate within planetary boundaries?”

    Nowadays, the resources and energy necessary to produce and use digital appliances oftentimes countervail the savings they induce. Furthermore, their usage in everyday life may induce additional consumption such as video streaming or online shopping, which also goes along with energy and resource demand. Thus, it currently looks like digitalization might intensify environmental problems, rather than solving them. In this workshop, we want to discuss how digital appliances should be designed to create a more sustainable society. Read more

  • Interview: Why Uber hurts public transport

    Fighting congestion is a worldwide challenge. But the claim “more car sharing, less traffic” has come under scrutiny lately. Tilman Santarius talked to the autoomated driving community 2025AD. Read more

  • Smart new world? IÖW and TU Berlin jointly research the socio-ecological impact of digitalization

    Can mobility apps relieve the environment or do they increase the CO2-emissions? Will onlineshopping increase consumption or will sharing platforms decrease it? The new junior research group “Digitalisation and Sustainability” will analyse whether resources can be spared or will rather be wasted due to the digital transformation and whether democratic processes will be supported or hindered. It is a cooperation of the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) and the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Read more


The project "Digitalization & Sustainability" is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung [BMBF] within the funding program "Junior research groups in Social-ecological research" (Nachwuchsgruppen in der Sozial-ökologischen Forschung). 

Funding Period: 05/2016 - 04/2021