Governance & Sustainability Lab

The Governance & Sustainability Lab takes up the challenge of exploring political solutions and novel, more effective governance mechanisms to cope with the current ecological transitions and to steer global development towards sustainability.

The epistemological context for our research is the inseparability of nature and culture: Since prehistoric times, humans have altered their environment, which now reaches the planetary scale. The normative context of our research stems from the idea that governance is not only a question of institutional effectiveness, but also of legitimacy and social justice. Following these understandings governance, including spatial and environmental planning, is key for an in-depth understanding how society-nature dynamics are shaped and can be transformed.

Empirically we study how politics and power shape practises of resource and land use. Conceptually we take a critical perspective on apparently given ordering systems in environmental geography such as scales and spatial entities or the dualisms of nature and culture or urban versus rural. Currently there is a major research project on urban waterscapes ongoing ( Please see also the announcements of conferences and workshops. 

On an applied level we aim to inform the process of designing and implementing resource management strategies – in particular to enhance adaptive and transformative governance solutions to respond to societal challenges. We are actively contributing to national and international networks such as the ARL (Academy for Spatial Research and Planning) and the Future Earth Initiative.

In teaching, education and training we provide a comprehensive training in spatial and environmental planning in undergraduate courses. Theoretically we build a curriculum in the field of political geography and critical political ecology (mainly on the Master Level).