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 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.

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 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.

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

FS Sachsen

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