The interdisciplinary Leibniz-Junior Research Group URBNANCE develops and tests the novel conceptual account "urban human-nature resonance" as a potential lever for sustainability transformations. In an era characterised by exceeded planetary boundaries and rapid urbanization, the material and immaterial (re-)connection of human and nonhuman nature is crucial to secure a good and care-oriented life in and outside of cities for all. Surprisingly, little is known so far about the types and qualities of human-nature connections in urban contexts and with a view to sustainability transformations.
The junior research group will develop the conceptual account "urban human-nature resonance" for 1) describing urban human-nature connection integratively, 2) assessing human-nature connection depth in terms of responsive human-nature relationships and 3) exploring human-nature connection impacts on sustainability transformation.
The interdisciplinary approach is based on relational values of ecosystem services, on the theory of resonance describing responsive human-nature relationships and on deep ecology. The project hypothesizes that resonating human-nature relations foster sustainability transformation by acknowledging that human wellbeing is depending on healthy ecosystems.
Four contextual research questions are in the focus of the project:
1) Which types of human-nature relationships can be found in cities?
2) How do human-nature relationships influence urban human-nature resonance?
3) To what degree does urban human-nature resonance have an impact on a respectful human-nature relationship in contrast to mute human-nature relationships?
4) Which responses support a respectful human-nature relationship?
To answer the research questions, the project includes conceptual and empirical research with a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. Three subprojects will explore urban human-nature resonance based on a multi-level approach. It will take into account collective actors (e.g., government agencies, NGOs), individual human-nature connections and urban human-food relationships as a thematic perspective. As an example of a Western and growth-oriented society, the empirical research aims at including big cities of Germany.
The research group develops system, transformation and target knowledge fostering the positive vision of urban human-nature partnerships. Based on its interdisciplinary approach, the project contributes to urban ecology research and sustainability transformation studies.