Since October 2019, the Urban System main research area has been reorganised in line with the idea of a “Joint Centre” that will link chairs, institutes, centres, associated institutes and other actors even more closely in order to implement strategic initiatives, new working formats and projects even more consistently.

JUS bundles UDE activities within the framework of the Metropolitan Research (KoMet) competence field of the UA Ruhr, which, with well over 100 scientists from all specialist cultures and eight research fields covering all key aspects of metropolitan research, represents a joint perspective at the UA Ruhr level.

An interesting prospect is also the cooperation with IN-EAST, KoMet, the Emschergenossenschaft and actors in the target regions for a series of “Travelling Conferences” (2019–20) in order to analyse different urban-change concepts in old industrial regions in Asia, Europe and North America, and in a methodological part also the mechanisms and success factors for their global exchange.

The Centre for Urban Epidemiology (CUE) as part of JUS will be transferred into a newly founded “Institute for Urban Public Health (InUPH)” at the University Clinic Essen, as part of a 5-year funding phase (Fritz and Hildegard Berg-Stiftung). For the first time in Germany, an institute will therefore be established here at UDE that specifically deals with the inter- and transdisciplinary tasks for the topic area of Urban Public Health and combines them with aspects of integrative urban and regional development.

Such integrated urban and regional development requires the system view embodied in JUS by its researchers. For example, digitisation requires the integrated analysis and solution design of technological, physical, health, social and economic challenges. Here it will be important and challenging for JUS and its networks in the coming years to further develop both content and methods in order to anchor them both regionally (e.g. via CONUS) and internationally (e.g. via CityScripts or Jac-Lab).