TRUST-/ARL Doctoral Programme: Anthology „Transformation processes in urban and rural areas”

In the light of the rising world population and contemporary economic and living standards, our society is increasingly confronted with globally relevant crises such as climate change, biodiversity loss and social inequality. To counteract these challenges, a thought-through, complete and long-term transformation towards sustainable development is required. In this regard, the spatial context - in which social, ecological and economic interdependencies are embedded - plays an essential role and is the focal point of this Call for Papers. For instance, changes in social space may influence the use of physical-material space and lead to economic benefits. Simultaneously, the evolution within the physical-material space can also alter the socially and economically determined spaces. Considering these complex and often insufficiently comprehended interactions of humans and the environment is of central importance in the analysis and planning for a successful organisation of spatial transformation processes towards sustainability.

With this background, the members of the TRUST-/ARL Doctoral Programme are approaching the following question from different academic and methodological perspectives, which will (also) be the focus of the anthology “Transformationsprozesse in Stadt und Land” (eng. Transformation processes in urban and rural areas”:

“How can spatial transformation be framed in the context of sustainable development?”

The anthology shall contribute to different spatially related questions of sustainable human-environment interactions and highlight challenges and potentials from different academic perspectives. In the light of the social, political, ecological and economic diversity, an inter- and transdisciplinary approach to the research question is inherent. The transfer of knowledge - accompanied by synergies and symbioses - between different disciplines is a basic prerequisite to generate innovative and new solutions for sustainable spatial transformation. For this reason, we explicitly encourage early career researchers and practitioners from various academic disciplines to share their research perspectives on the topic of “Transformation processes in urban and rural areas”.

The submissions to the anthology should contribute to a critical reflection on the aesthetic and ethical as well as psychological, political and planning discourses and practices of a spatial transformation. A special consideration should also be devoted to the requirements and implementation possibilities of a spatial transformation in diverse contexts. Thereby, empirical and theoretical articles are just as welcome as practical contributions or examinations of representations in literature, art and film. The contributions can comprise the following topics and questions:

Planning and Governance for Successful Transformation in the Context of Sustainable Spatial Development

The dynamics in different spaces might significantly influence social and spatial transformation processes in Europe. Alongside dynamics like demographic change, other ecological, social and economic development trends pose new challenges, e.g., providing services of general interest and ensuring the equality of living conditions. In this regard, it is essential to engage with the opportunities and challenges of stakeholder constellations, communication and cooperation at inter- and intra-communal levels, as well as to recognise the importance of hard and soft location factors for the development of spaces. Articles in this chapter should therefore examine potential solution approaches for a successful and purposeful organisation of spatial transformation, solely incorporating the aspects of governance and planning. The following questions could be considered:

  • Under what circumstances can hard and soft location factors be understood as drivers of spatial transformation processes?
  • Which governance approaches can successfully leverage transformation processes in the context of sustainable spatial development?
  • What influence does social involvement have on the organisation of social and spatial transformation processes?

Methods for Adaptation, Communication and Acceptance in Spatial Transformation

The climate crisis leads to landscape changes, both due to climatic changes (e.g. formation of mountain lakes due to glacier melt) and human intervention (e.g. expansion of renewable energies in the form of wind and solar parks). Such changes or transformations of landscapes, which can at times be conflictual, must be accompanied by open space planning expertise and societal involvement of diverse age groups and stakeholders in order to ensure sustainable landscape use. Part of the planning implementation also involves overcoming psychological barriers to achieve a feedback loop on climate change, as well as spreading awareness and increasing acceptance. Possible questions for contributions would be:

  • How can a climate-driven landscape transformation be accompanied and communicated in order to avoid conflicts and utilise possible synergies?
  • Which psychological influences play a role in generating awareness of a landscape transformation?
  • What are innovative approaches and acceptance-enhancing measures for integrating renewable energies into the landscape and society without overlooking sustainability criteria?

Spatial Transformation in Land Use to Strengthen Resilience to Environmental Changes

High deforestation rates and intensively used agricultural areas pose severe threats for the world’s population, e.g. climate change-related weather extremes such as droughts and heavy rainfall are increasing, biodiversity loss is progressing, and major ecosystem services are disappearing. These environmental changes increase farmers’ vulnerability to crop and income losses, and simultaneously also jeopardise the security of the global food system. In order to strengthen the resilience of the population against the negative consequences of environmental change, a transformative shift in land use must take place on a global scale. Based on this, the following questions arise:

  • What role does the transformation of land use systems currently play?
  • To what extent is a transformation of land use systems anchored in farmers’ resilience strategies?
  • What challenges emerge in implementing sustainable land-use systems and how can they be overcome?

This Call for Papers is primarily aimed at early career researchers and practitioners from the fields of economics, landscape architecture, architecture, urban and regional planning, sociology, psychology, environmental planning, geosciences, environmental sciences and related disciplines. Submissions of both theoretical and empirical papers are welcome, and should be written in English or German. We encourage applicants to submit a short abstract of no more than 250 words by 19 April 2022. Thereafter, the editors will make a shortlist and invite the authors of selected articles to be part of the anthology “Transformationsprozesse in Stadt und Land”. The contributions should not exceed 40,000 characters (incl. spaces and bibliography). The deadline for paper submission is 31 August 2022, followed by a double-blind review process. The publication is planned for the first half of 2023.

Please send the short description of the contribution (abstracts) by 19 April 2022 to the following e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Questions regarding the content or organisational matters will also be answered via this e-mail address.