Spatial sustainability sciences: Outline of an emerging field

4. aprile 2024, 16:00 Uhr - 17:00 Uhr

Eawag Dübendorf, room FC C20 & online

Prof. Marc Wolfram, Ph.D.
Director of Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER)
Chair of Spatial Development and Transformation, Dresden University of Technology (TUD)
Chair of Dresden Leibniz Graduate School (DLGS)
Editor-in-Chief: Urban Transformations Journal
Board member: International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS)

The seminar is open to the public. To join online, please contact for access details.


Sustainability sciences have emerged around the turn of the millennium in response to the grand challenges and wicked problems of societies and the Earth system. While genuinely a broad inter- and transdisciplinary field that spans across the natural-, engineering- and social sciences as well as the humanities, spatial aspects have implicitly played a role from the outset. The last decade has progressively seen contributions from various strands of the spatial disciplines (geography, urban and regional studies, planning, architecture) that have further underpinned certain roles and the relevance of a spatial perspective conceptually and empirically. However, considering ontological interpretations of space as well as calls for onto-epistemic multiplicity as an essential prerequisite for impactful sustainability sciences, the full potential of such a perspective still remains to be explored.

Against this backdrop the talk provides a brief insight into the research approach and selected current works of the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development ( Founded in 1992 as a research centre in the spatial sciences with a focus on environmental impacts it has increasingly engaged with questions of sustainability and transformation in a highly inter- and transdisciplinary mode of knowledge co-production and -transfer. In 2021 the institute repositioned its mission in the spatial sustainability sciences and is leading major initiatives in this direction at present. Projects dealing with key sustainability challenges regarding climate, biodiversity, water, materials and food serve to illustrate the integrative capacity and critical leverage of a spatial lens in the sustainability sciences.