Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology
phone +49 341 235-1467
fax +49 341 235-45 1467
04318 Leipzig, Germany
The Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology is investigating interdependencies between social action and its different environments. Given the increasing importance of urbanization processes for global change, the department’s research focuses on connections between environmental change and the development of urban landscapes. An applied research focus takes special account of the ambiguous character of urbanization processes, being both the possible reason for and the potential solution to environmental problems.
International Workshop from September 30 to Oktober 01
On September, 30, and October, 1, 2013, the workshop Evaluating Environmental Conditions and Quality of Life in Santiago de Chile based on the Concept of Urban Vulnerability took place at the UFZ. In the context of an ongoing mobility project with Chile three invited international experts, the Chilean and German project partners and other scientists from UFZ took part. During the two days, the presentation of the results and the discussions on the advancement of research concepts and methods were in the focus of the agenda. Finally, it was agreed upon a closer cooperation in future scientific activities.
⇒ HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SUMMER:
UFZ at international conference “Shrinking Cities in Europe”
The final event of the 4 year EU COST Action ‘Cities Regrowing Smaller’ (CIRES) took place at Zeche Zollverein in Essen. It was co-organized by the OECD Local Economic and Employment Development Program (LEED) and the Bertelsmann Foundation. Thereby, the focus was on the international perspective of research on shrinking cities. In this context, a conceptual framework, an empirical comparative analysis and deepening case studies have been presented among others. Highlights have been panel discussions with scholars, mayors and representatives of international organizations. Dieter Rink contributed to this by reporting about experiences from the recently finalized UFZ-project “Shrink Smart”. The extend of urban shrinkage was displayed by a large wall map which represents the core of the COST project’s quantitative work and was mainly developed by Manuel Wolff.
UFZ represented at the Joint AESOP-ACSP Congress, Dublin, July 15 to 19
The joint US-American and European planning conference with 1,200 scientists and practitioners was labeled “Planning for resilient cities and regions”. As the concept of resilience primarily focuses on questions of tolerance and reorganization of environmental systems under changing conditions such as climate change and environmental hazards, the objective of the conference was to transfer it to various current challenges of society – from global to local.
One of 16 tracks was dedicated to the topic ‘Urban dynamics in the context of growth and shrinkage' and included three sessions about shrinkage (regenerating shrinking cities, uneven development in shrinking cities, land-use and abandonment), two of them leaded by Annegret Haase and Katrin Großmann. Among the 15 discussed papers 5 were contributed by SUSOZ Department. The conference was preceded by a Research Café which was organized by the Department and which served as a platform of exchange between American and European scholars about the subject of shrinking cities.
Overall, the conference clearly showed the great interest in the topics shrinkage and cities in demographic change mainly due to the quality of the debates and the interdisciplinary examination of these issues. In addition, the consensus and overlap with adjacent topics (e.g. the role of the state and control in shrinking cities) was obvious. Likewise, the keynotes by Thomas Elmquist (Sustainability vs. resilience) and Susan Fainstein (Does resilience cover justice?) have shown that these subjects can be embedded into larger scientific discourse.
The UFZ helps out - cleanup efforts in Grimma!
Chloe Begg, Anna Kunath (both SUSOZ), Gunnar Dressler (OESA) and Volker Meyer (OEKON) are just four of the many helpers who volunteered last week in a massive cleanup effort in the Saxon city of Grimma.
After only 11 years since the Old City was devastated by serve flooding, Grimma has been overwhelmed by the power of the River Mulde again. There is a feeling of resignation from many residents and business owners. However, for some people courage and hope is not lost: "We will carry on. Grimma will not turn into a ghost town”. It will take a while until all the damage has been repaired but Grimma will hopefully be just as beautiful and lively as before the flood of 2013. Chloe, Anna and Gunnar are working in the EU-project addressing the issues of floods and flood risk management in the face of demographic change in case study cities in Saxony.
Dr. Christian Kuhlicke interviewed by ARD and Resonator
In addition, Christian Kuhlicke also spoke with Holger Klein from Resonator (the research podcast of the Helmholtz Association).
Overview of the activities at the department
In the Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology scientists from several social science disciplines cooperate. They conduct research about interactions between social actors and their environment. It is urgent and necessary to research these processes because of an increasing influence of urbanization processes and its impact for global change. These urbanization processes are seen as a possible reason for environmental problems (they are related to the development of urban landscape) and at the same time making an important contribution to the solution of these problems.
So the department is doing research to urgent challenges. The generation of action-oriented knowledge for a sustainable use of environmental resources is thus a top priority. According to this the departments’ research concentrates on analyzing the institutional circumstances and social acceptance of strategies in the field of environment policy in a local and regional context. Continuous exchange between the several practitioners from different political and administrative levels (e.g., via stakeholder-, neighbourhood- or expert-workshops, panel discussions, advisory opinions) provides for the application-orientation of the research work. Therefor the research of the department is settled between socio-economical dynamic of change and ecological design.
The department provides the opportunity of completing an internship of several weeks. Internships are offered within the frame of single projects. To guarantee an effective involvement please get informed about our current projects before applying. All project descriptions can be found on our homepage. To apply please send a cover letter giving precise information on your qualifications and availability as well as your CV and certificates to Melanie Heyde.
Internship places will be awarded according to the applicants' qualifications and our capacities. Internships are without payment. Please also note: Applications must be based on a prescribed placement for school students, a degree course, an internship prior to a degree programme, or some other form of basic or further training. Applicants keen to do an internship in order to improve their employment prospects need to submit a letter from their job centre indicating its approval.
Further possibilities of joining the UFZ as intern or student are listed here.