Research Group and project


Urban human-nature resonance for sustainability transformation

The interdisciplinary Leibniz-Junior Research Group URBNANCE develops and tests the novel conceptual account "urban human-nature resonance" as potential lever for sustainability transformation. In the era of exceeding planetary boundaries and rapid urbanization, the material and immaterial (re-)connection of society and people with nonhuman nature is crucial to secure a good and care-oriented life in and outside of cities for all. Surprisingly, we know little about the types and qualities of human-nature connections in an urban and sustainability transformative context.

Objectives and approaches of the junior research group

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 in the face of a need to limit resource consumption, responsive human-nature connection recognizes that caring for nature means caring for oneself.

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 will provide a fresh interdisciplinary approach to urban ecology research and sustainability transformation studies exploring urban human-nature connection qualities for a flourishing urban life.

The Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development is jointly funded by the federal government and the federal states.

FS Sachsen

This institute is co-financed by tax funds on the basis of the budget approved by the Saxon State Parliament.