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Environmental social science and geography

Understanding the Relationship between Society and the Environment

In this section, we conduct research, provide consultancy, and teach in the fields of environmental sociology, environmental economics, environmental geography, and policy and governance analysis. We integrate these disciplines and often work interdisciplinarily with natural scientists to describe and find solutions to environmental problems and challenges in water environments, water resources, air pollution, climate, soil, urban environments, and land and nature management. The main focus of our research is promoting the transition to sustainable societies.

Through social science environmental research, we shed light on how societal development affects the environment and how environmental regulation and management impact both daily life and the economy. An important question for us is how decision-makers can best implement environmental regulation. Therefore, we continually develop and improve our theoretical and methodological foundation for empirical analyses.

We conduct environmental and geographic analyses that emphasize societal activities at different levels and encompass changes in land use and landscape functions. These analyses enable us to study geographically specific impacts on people and the environment and geographically localised effects of policy measures, such as planning and regulation. We analyse not only historical developments and current conditions but also provide perspectives for future scenarios.

Our research helps establish a scientifically sound basis for future environmental and nature policy decisions at local, national, and international levels. We also contribute to teaching at various levels and disseminating knowledge about the environment and society to the public and decision-makers. Moreover, we advise cities, ministries, EU institutions, and other central actors. Finally, our extensive portfolio of research projects provides us with broad national and international networks, making us attractive partners for new research initiatives.