News & Highlights

New Publication on the challenges of climate change

Santiago de Chile The Helmholtz International Research Group CLAVE, a cooperation between the UFZ and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, has published a book on "Climate change, urban vulnerability and adaptation at the municipal level. Santiago de Chile and other cities in Latin America". It emphasizes the challenges of climate change and related impacts in different municipalities of the Metropolitan Region of Santiago de Chile. It reveals the interlinkages of socio-environmental fragmentation and urban vulnerability and points out the institutional adaptive capacity at the municipal level. It highlights adaptation needs according to the assessed vulnerability, which were developed in strong colaboration with the municipalities. Perspectives of other Latin American Metropolitan Regions complement with an international dimension.

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PhD Kerstin Krellenberg

New Competence Center: Children-Environment-Health

Prof. Dr. Kiess und Prof. Dr. Teutsch signing the MoU On November the 2nd, 2017, a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of the Competence Center Children-Environment-Health was signed by the University of Leipzig and the UFZ in presence of the State Minister for Science and Art of Saxony Eva-Maria Stange. The State Minister, the Rector of the University of Leipzig Beate Schücking and the Scientific Director of the UFZ Georg Teutsch underlined the outstanding possibilities of interdisciplinary cooperation for the promotion of child health and the resulting unique position of Leipzig's research site. It was emphasized that in addition to medical and epidemiological factors, the environmental impact and the social environmental conditions in the neighbourhood, in which children grow up, must be included in the investigation. With its expertise the Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology will contribute.

Prof. Dr. Sigrun Kabisch

Chinese delegation visiting UFZ

group photo From October 24-25, 2017, a delegation of 7 people from Zhejiang University, Department of Land Management, Hangzhou, visited the UFZ to present own findings, to inform about current urban research in the Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology and explore cooperations. During a workshop the different interdisciplinary urban research approaches at the UFZ were presented. Dr. Florian Koch gave an introduction to the IP Urban Transformations . Prof. Dr. Uwe Schlink presented a micrometeorological modeling approach and its 3D visualization using the example of a revitalized brownfield in the area of the “Bayerischer Bahnhof”. In addition to findings on air quality in Medellin, Colombia, from Dr. Andrea Müller , the three PhD students Jingxia Wang , Maximilian Ueberham and Daniel Hertel also presented their respective urban-related research approaches. This covered a broad spectrum ranging from land use and urban climate to city-wide and personal health effects. 3D visualization
From the Chinese delegation, the head of the Department of Land Management, Prof. Dr. Wu Yuzhe gave a brief overview about the university structure and its Department. Subsequently, four students presented the results of their bachelor theses in the field of urban land management. The focus was on influences that affect the home and apartment situation in Hangzhou. In particular, possible linkages between urban research in Hangzhou and Leipzig were discussed. After visiting the UFZ, the delegation used the opportunity to discover the entire science park and to visit Leipzig with representatives of urban planning.

Daniel Hertel

Guest scientist from Chennai, India

Gangadhar Undi Swami (MS) Gangadhar Undi Swami (MS) from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) in Chennai, India, is our guest during September 2017. In the frame of his PhD project he investigates the “Urban vulnerability due to air quality, climatic conditions and health risk assessment”. Integrating measurements made at fixed locations and gathered by mobile individuals with urban micro-meteorological simulations, Mr. Undi studies the association between urban heat island (UHI) and the formation of secondary air pollutants, such as ozone.

Gangadhar Undi Swami
Prof. Uwe Schlink

Afrikanische Stipendiaten zu Gast am UFZ

African students holding scholarships of the German VW Stiftung came to visit UFZ and our department on July 19, 2017. They were participants of the „Africa Initiative“-Project: Knowledge for Tomorrow – Cooperative Research Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa“. The delegation of 12 people was headed by Prof. Stützel of the Leibnitz Universität Hannover and had a major interest in UFZ's cooperations with African partners.

In her welcoming speech Prof. Kabisch presented the main research foci of the UFZ. She then presented the results and experiences of the CLUVA research project that addressed the results of climate change in urban Africa. The next talk was given by Dr. Annemarie Müller, who gave an overview about methods in disaster risk research. Additional ongoing projects with African partners were introduced by Dr. Kathleen Hermans (CLE), who looks at land-use changes and migration and by Dr. Gunnar Dreßler (ÖSA) who investigates pasture use in dryland grazing systems under change. The connection between social and natural scientific research questions in all of the presentations was particularly interesting. A central question was about the role of migration: one the one hand as a solution, on the other hand as a challenge. The transferability of scientific results into practice was also discussed.

Prof. Sigrun Kabisch

DAAD-Guest scientist from Mazandaran, Iran

Prof. Dr. Sadegh Salehi From June to Mid-September Prof. Dr. Sadegh Salehi of the University of Mazandaran (Iran) is DAAD-guest scientist at UFZ's Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology. During his stay he plans to finalize research on renewable energy consumption and waste management. He also plans to prepare a project proposal for mutual scientific collaboration between UFZ and some Iranian universities. Water management and climate change issues are included in this project.

Prof. Sadegh Salehi
Prof. Matthias Groß

Guest scientist from Santiago de Chile

Francisco de la Barrera Our department had a warm welcome for Francisco de la Barrera from Santiago de Chile, Pontifícia Universidad Católica, Institute for Geography. He stayed with us from June 18 to 21, 2017, for scientific exchange. His field of interest is at the cutting edge between urban growth patterns and their pressure on the natural ecosystems, especially along the Andean foothills. During his stay we discussed new fields of research in the frame of international calls focusing on sustainable innovations for urban development.

Dr. Ellen Banzhaf

Guest scientist from Ecuador

Gruppenfoto mit P. Cabrera-Barona, E. Banzhaf, S. Kabisch, F.Koch Our department had a warm welcome for Pablo Cabrera-Barona from Ecuador who presently works at University of Salzburg, Austria. Based on his background on ecology and planning, he stayed with us on June 14 and 15 for scientific exchange. In the working group Geomatics he presented his research methodology and respective results on „Health Inequalities with Emphasis on Deprivation and Healthcare Accessibility”. In the Integrated Project Urban Transformations he discussed the topic „From the ‘Good Living‘ to the ‘Common Good’ – an economic-spatial perspective” with us.

Dr. Ellen Banzhaf

Positioning paper published: Urban greening and social justice

Together with an interdisciplinary team of international social and environmental scientists, colleagues from the department of urban and environmental sociology as well as the IP Urban Transformations published a positioning paper on the topic of urban greening and social justice (Source: Haase, D., Kabisch, S., Haase, A. et al. 2017. Greening cities – To be socially inclusive? About the alleged paradox of society and ecology in cities. Habitat International Volume 64, June 2017, Pages 41–48 DOI: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2017.04.005).
Picture of the workshop. Source: A. Haase The paper discusses current challenges of a sustainable and green urban development set against the background of growing socio-spatial inequalities in cities and unsolved justice issues. The authors suggest six concrete prerequisites for a green and socially inclusive development, e.g. the acknowledgement of existing trade-offs between social and ecological processes, the inclusion of different opinions, wants and needs into planning, a focus on multi-actor governance as well as a political contextualization of the debate. The publication draws on results of an international workshop at UFZ on 1 June 2015 with 25 participants.

Haase et al 2017 - Abstract

Dr. Annegret Haase

UFZ is partner in the project TEACHENER

Logo TEACHENER The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, UFZ with the Departments Urban and Environmental Sociology and Monitoring and Exploration Technologies is one of the seven partners in TEACHENER, a project co-financed by the Erasmus+ strategic partnerships programme of the European Commission, which aims on integrating social sciences and humanities into teaching about energy. TEACHENER is a 3-year project which started on 1st September 2016. It is coordinated by Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun (Poland) and will be implemented by seven partners in four EU countries: Poland, Germany, Czech Republic and Spain.

TEACHENER aims to fill the gap between social sciences and humanities and energy teaching at universities in Europe, by transposing social sciences and humanities knowledge to the domain of higher technical education. The partners will design an “Edu-Kit”, a flexible set of teaching modules covering various topics associated with social aspects of energy, and will test these teaching modules at technical higher education institutions and during two Student Winter Schools. Through TEACHENER, graduates of technical energy studies will gain interdisciplinary skills, knowledge and competencies in social sciences and humanities, enabling them to better respond to the needs of the labour market related to the shift to knowledge society and a fair energy transition with new or adapted job profiles. The coordinator of the TEACHENER project at UFZ is Dr. Alena Bleicher together with Dr. Thomas Vienken .


Guest scientists from China and Colombia

Prof. Dr. José Fernando Jiménez Mejía and Mr. Mauricio Ramírez Arias from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia are scientific partners in the DAAD project “Risk assessment of airborne particulate matter”. Gruppenfoto mit Gästen aus China und Kolumbien During their visit at the UFZ from June to August, both colleagues studied the impact of urban structure and local meteorology on air quality and urban climate in Medellin by means of regional and micrometeorological modelling.

Dr. Sheng Zheng, Department of Land Management, Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, was our guest scientist in July, 2016. He investigates with spatiotemporal geostatistics the urban air quality and vulnerability during extreme environmental situations. Integrating data from ground-based measurements, satellite remote sensing, land use and meteorology parameters will contribute to an improved understanding of urban air pollution. This cooperation between UFZ and Zhejiang University is planned to be intensified in further projects.

Prof. Uwe Schlink
Maximilian Ueberham
Daniel Hertel

Research stay at the German Institute for Japan Studies, Tokyo

Dr. Conrad Kunze visited at the German Institute for Japan Studies in Tokyo as a visiting scientist. During the stay he learned more on local approaches of promoting renewable energy in Dr Conrad Kunze in Tokyo collaboration with Japanese and international scientists and practitioners. He participated in the creation of a comparative study of renewable energy politics and practices in Japan and Germany.


Dr. Conrad Kunze

Further information:
German Institute for Japan Studies

Research stay in Medellin, Colombia

During a 14-day research stay within the DAAD-project „Urban Risk Environment“ in Medellin, Colombia (Feb. 2016) several mobile measurements have been undertaken to study the individual exposure towards Fellows of the DAAD project "Urban Risk Environment" temperature, humidity, particulate matter and noise. By combining the environmental data with GPS-position and time, it is possible to reveal spatial-temporal differences in the complex urban context. With an integration of land use data, meteorology, data from stationary measurements and urban climate modelling it is intended to gain a more complete understanding of the exposure patterns of citizens. The project includes the exchange of scientists until end of 2016. The colleagues from the „Laboratorio de Calidad del Aire“ at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNAL) will visit the UFZ in summer 2016. The cooperation with the UNAL is planned to be intensified in further projects.

Prof. Uwe Schlink
Maximilian Ueberham
Daniel Hertel

Final meeting of the fellows from A. von Humboldt-Foundation

On January 13th, the Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks welcomed the fellows of the international scholarship for climate and resource protection in Berlin. Since 2010, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation awards scholarships for international Abdelrhman Mahmoud Shaaban Mohamdeen with Barbara Hendricks climate and resource protection, which are funded by the International Climate Initiative of the Federal Ministry. The objective is the exchange of knowledge, methods and techniques.
Mr. Abdelrhman Mohamdeen attended and presented the results of his work in the project "Micrometeorological studies of urban air in Cairo for the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change ", which was supervised by Prof. Dr. Uwe Schlink in the Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology during the last 9 months. The study aims to understand the climatic conditions in three different urban morphologies in one of the Subtropical-Megacities, Cairo.
The technique used in this project shows very interesting preliminary results, and is going to be replicated in four different cities on different continents. The purpose is to strengthen the practical implementation of environmental research, and to support decision makers with better and clearer visions.

Further information: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)

Contact: Prof. Uwe Schlink

UFZ - Exhibition to the 1000 years jubilee of the City of Leipzig

The long-lasting cooperation between the City of Leipzig and our department led to this year's November exhibition at Neues Rathaus, Leipzig:

Ausstellung: Leipzigs Wandel im Spiegel der Stadtforschung am UFZ The dynamics of Leipzig reflected by urban research at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research.

In the context of the 1000-year anniversary of the City, the IP Urban Transformations developed the multi-media exhibition which is now shown at UFZ in Leipzig, Building 1.0, until end of January 2016.

Contact: Prof. Dieter Rink and Dr. Ellen Banzhaf

As a long-lasting product, the most relevant parts of this specific urban research on environmental development will be published in a brochure.

Contact: Prof. Sigrun Kabisch