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International Conference "Creating the ‘Good Life’ in the City: Urban Spaces in Times of Change, Challenge and Crisis"

10.10.2022 - 12.10.2022

International Conference, co-organized by the Thematic Research Network Umwelten–Umbrüche–Umdenken, the Heidelberg "Worldmaking" subproject "Epochal Lifeworlds", the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society and the Environmental Humanities at the Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt

Engaging with approaches from the field of ‘Urban Ecology’ and other relevant disciplines, the conference will explore dynamics of urban transformation by looking into the ways in which different actors shape and negotiate these processes in order to realize the ‘good life’, thereby making cities spaces worth living in for all of their inhabitants – human and non-human alike. In order to foster intensive interdisciplinary dialogue, three panels open up different, yet interrelated perspectives: The first panel seeks to question an anthropocentric worldview by conceptualizing cities as places of multispecies interactions. The diversity of human and non-human actors, of social and natural environments within the city is not only crucial for its vitality, it also adds to the resilience of cities and communities – the topic of the second panel. The last panel then turns to the question of how urban spaces can be reimagined to enable the ‘good life’ for all inhabitants.


Heidelberg University

Conference Program:

October 10, 2022


Conference Introduction



Anne Rademacher (Environmental Studies, NYU): On Refuge and Ruin: Finding ‘Good Lives’ in Place and Practice

October 11, 2022


Panel 1: Nature Cultures: Negotiating Multispecies Interactions

Birgit Hoinle (Geography, Hohenheim University)

Buen Vivir/ Sumak Kawsay: About the (Cosmo-)Visions, Practices, and Political Proposal of the Andean Concept for a Good Life from an (Urban) Political Ecology Perspective


Marie-Christine Fuchs (Law, Saarland University)

The Concept of Rights of Nature in Latin America: Between Indigenous Traditions, Legal Utopia and Socio-Cultural Change in Times of Environmental Crisis


Panel 1 (continued)


Matthias Schumann (Chinese Studies, Heidelberg University)

A Space of Leisure and Ecological Instruction: The Shanghai Municipal Zoo in the 1930s


Harry den Hartog (Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University Shanghai)

Creating an Ecological Civilization along Shanghai’s Waterfronts


Panel 2: Managing Precariousness: Vulnerability & Resilience


Gonzalo Lizarralde (Architecture, Built Environment and Sustainability, Université de Montréal, Canada)

Unnatural Disasters: Why Most Responses to Risk and Climate Change Fail and Some Succeed


Roberto Pérez Rivero (Biology, Fundación Antonio Núñez Jiménez de la Naturaleza y el Hombre)

The Movement of Urban Agriculture: A Food Security Contribution in Difficult Times. Cuban Experiences


Panel 2 (continued)


Nicolene Steyn (Law, North-West University, South Africa)

Legal Perspectives on ICTs for Urban Resilience in the African Context


Robert R. Gioielli (History, University of Cincinnati)

The American Single-Family Home: A Social and Environmental History

October 12, 2022


On-site Lecture with Ulrike Gerhard (Geography Department, Heidelberg University) Experiencing the “Good Life” in Cities: Conflicting Sustainabilities in Heidelberg’s Most Celebrated Environmentally Friendly Neighborhood, the Bahnstadt


Panel 3: Rethinking Urban Spaces


Hou Shen (Environmental History, Peking University)

‘A New Ocean, a New City’: Qingdao and the Rise of Chinese Coastal Recreation


Christof Mauch (American Studies, RCC Munich)

America’s Greenest City: History, Politics and the Radical Makeover of Portland, Oregon


Panel 3 (continued)


Gareth Doherty (Landscape Architecture, Harvard University)

Landscape Fieldwork


Eveline Dürr (Social & Cultural Anthropology, LMU Munich)

The ‘Good Life’ as Practice and Research Agenda


Panel 3 (continued)


Elisa Bertuzzo (Spatial Strategies, Berlin HFG Weissensee)

Urban Concomitances: Weaving Political Urban Ecology Claims and the Cohabitation Question


Daphne Xu (Anthropology/Urban Planning, Canada)

Experiments in Keeping Pace with Place: Screening and Conversation with Filmmaker Daphne Xu


Final Discussion & Closing Remarks

The conference is complemented by an interdisciplinary doctoral fall school "Urban Ecologies".

For more information, visit https://trnumwelten.hypotheses.org/veranstaltungshinweise .
Contact: urban-ecologies[at]hcts.uni-heidelberg.de