Geographical utilization and urbanization
Head: Dr. Felix Creutzig
This working group explores 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. The group will examine policy options for climate change mitigation in spatial agglomerations at the urban, national and international levels.
Climate change is a global challenge. But all greenhouse gas emissions come from specific places. That means that solutions to climate change require an understanding of what can be done at these specific places, mostly where people live – in cities and human settlements!
Our 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. That means, on the one hand, to use insights from urban economics. That means on the other hand to rely on data on geospatial data on greenhouse gas emissions, household surveys, and sustainability dimensions wherever possible. The following questions are key for our team: First, what kind of urban form renders cities sustainable in local and global environmental and social dimensions. And how can cities be transformed in time towards more sustainable built environments, avoiding carbon lock-in? Second, how can urban public finance and land rent taxation contribute to low-carbon cities? And, finally: how does urbanization interaction with global environmental change, such as global land use and food security?
By answering these questions, and by developing appropriate methods and metrics, we aim to contribute to establishing a crucial governance-relevant discipline.