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Transdisciplinary Socio-Environment Research

 
Rapid global environmental change and social upheaval require deep societal transformation. Using transdisciplinary research in cooperation with actors from policy and practice, Freiburg's geography researchers are developing societal solutions with direct relevance for application, thus supporting civil society and public administration in proactively shaping transformation.
 
The complex manifestations and problem constellations of Global Change require fundamental rethinking of existing policies and planning approaches in order to facilitate social transformation and to avoid or mitigate negative effects. Freiburg's geographers engage with actors from policy, civil society and other scientific disciplines in order to develop effective and practical approaches that contribute to social transformation. Research projects investigate, for example, the impact of climate change on healthcare systems and co-creative urban planning approaches and their transformation potential.
 

Research Interests related to Transdisciplinary Socio-Environment Research


  • Municipal Transformative Communities for Alternative Economies Beyond Growth (MUTUAL)
    Project Manager
    Schmid B
    Start/End of Project
    since 01.01.2021 (unlimited)
    Description
    [project proposal currently under review]. MUTUAL investigates the potential of progressive trans-institutional alliances to foster growth-independent development pathways at the municipal scale. The project builds on empirical and theoretical insights on the ambivalence of economic growth as principal socio-economic orientation in the Global North: while growth plays a key role with respect to the relative short-term stability of current provisioning systems, its negative effects on ecological integrity and bad performance with respect to social equality increasingly come to the fore. To date, however, post-growth scholars focus overwhelmingly on organizations and small groups or on large-scale institutional restructuring, predominantly aimed at national and supra-national scales. Against this background, MUTUAL explores in what ways the cooperation of progressive formal-institutional and non-institutional actors at the municipal scale can lead to institutional innovations that alleviate growth pressures and facilitate further pro-environmental and -social action. Through four specific case studies, MUTUAL traces how such ‘municipal transformative communities’ establish synergistic dynamics between framework conditions and alternative economic practices to decrease the dependency of individuals, organizations, and institutions on market competition, monetary profitability, and financial resources. MUTUAL, thus, counteracts the lack of city-centered perspectives in, and the general spatial blindness of post-growth research as well as the neglect of growth dynamics in large parts of municipalist and urban transformations literature. Learning from and with municipal transformative communities, MUTUAL, finally, aims to identify expedient post-growth-oriented development pathways and broker these insights to a selected partner community.
    Contact Person
    Dr. Benedikt Schmid
    Phone: ++49(0)761 203-3566
    Email: benedikt.schmid@geographie.uni-freiburg.de