Our research focuses on spatial dimensions of social reality. With this focus, we follow two guiding questions:

- In which structures and practices are economic, social and political developments implemented in space and time?

- How to produce spatial terms and local conditions; how to adopt and to perceive both?

We examine these questions in the following three sectors:

Economy and resources

Culture and Identities

Communication and knowledge

We are extending our focus “From Local to Global” on different scales and in different research areas. Urban research is our particular main emphasis.


Further reading...

Physical geography is a spatial and environmental science investigating natural and anthropogenic changes of abiotic and biotic systems and related processes at different temporal and spatial scales. Important factors are the spatial distribution and integration of involved phenomena (geographical approach), their functional linkages (geoecological approach) as well as their formation and variation through time (historical approach).

Geomorphology systematically describes the surface of the Earth and investigates processes of their formation. Major factors controlling these processes are climate and humans. A distinct differentiation between climatic and anthropogenic forcing is impossible for modern environmental systems in Central Europe because both components overlap. To determine the climatic component, it is necessary to use time series from the Earth's history, i.e. from a time before humans began to interact with their habitat. Only then can climatic and environmental information be captured that is not affected by anthropogenic processes . In addition to palaeoenvironmental archives from Central Europe, modern natural archives from remote areas such as high mountains and polar regions can be analyzed that are still today controlled by climate. Excellent archives for the reconstruction of palaeoenvironmental conditions are records with annually laminated sediments (varves; see Varve Image Portal) as they provide continuous records with annual to seasonal resolution.


Further reading...

Empirical research revolves around questions such as sustainable development on the international scale, with projects on adaptation in the wake of climate change, migration as well as changes in the environment, land use and water catchment areas. This research with a regional focus on Indonesia, Ghana and New Zealand is embedded in the artec Research Center for Sustainability. Details of current research projects can be found under


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