The working group investigates the dynamics of urbanization, transport systems, ground rents and alternative land use options. The research focus is on the relevance of path dependencies of spatial infrastructures for climate change mitigation and sustainability. On this basis, the group examines policy options of climate protection in spatial agglomerations at the urban, national and international level.
The group seeks a holistic-interdisciplinary understanding of what makes cities sustainable. Our key goal is to bring theory and empirical findings on urban climate change mitigation together. The following questions are key for the team: What kind of urban form renders cities sustainable in local and global environmental and social dimensions? How can urban public finance and land rent taxation contribute to low-carbon cities? And how does urbanization interact with global environmental change, such as l land use and food security?
In a recent study, the researchers showed how increasing urbanization consumes the world's best agricultural land. According to them, due to the rapid expansion of cities, by the year 2030 about 300,000 square kilometers of particularly fertile farmland will be lost globally. The food production of this area could feed over 300 million people a full year. Another study shows the potential of urban planning to avoid emissions by building low-carbon infrastructures. If transport systems, buildings and other infrastructures were designed climate-friendly, almost half of the future CO2 emissions could be saved, according to the researchers.
New focus on artificial intelligence
In cooperation with the chair of Sustainability Economics of Human Settlements at TU Berlin, the working group has developed the project "Artificial Intelligence for Urban Planning" (AI4UP). The aim is to use advances in machine learning and geospatial data science to develop novel solutions in this field. This can help cities mitigate and adapt to climate change. More info on AI4UP can be found here.