Looking back: IOER Annual Conference 2021

Under the heading "Space & Transformation", the Annual Conference of the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) on 23 and 24 September 2021 took a look at aspects of societal change and the role that space and spatial sciences play in it. The conference took place in a new format. It was flanked by further events for young researchers and a broad public.

More than 100 actors from science and practice took part in the IOER Annual Conference at the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden on 23 and 24 September. Under the heading "Space & Transformation", they addressed questions of societal change. What role do space and spatial developments as well as spatial planning play in the change towards more sustainability that is urgently needed? This was the central question of the conference.

Suitable input was given by keynote lectures from the IOER and renowned scientists from the transformation and spatial sciences. In addition to Prof. Dr. Marc Wolfram, Director of the IOER and Dr. Jessica Hemingway from the IOER, Prof. Dr. Antje Bruns from the Trier University and Prof. Dr. Bernhard Truffer from Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) spoke about different aspects of the conference topic.

For the first time, the IOER annual conference took place over two days and offered national and international participants the opportunity to present their research and practical work in the topic area. The opportunity was provided by 25 sessions, ranging from the classic lecture format to innovative speed talk sessions and a simulation game. Presentations and discussions were held on four thematic strands:

  • Human-nature-connection in urban and suburban areas
  • Transformative capacity, transition governance and spatial planning
  • Metabolisms and circularity in cities and regions
  • Spatial visualization and modelling of transformations

With open air excursions and workshops, the IOER Annual conference offered further new programme formats. For example, two citizen science projects were presented during excursions to the Großer Garten. On the one hand, researchers from the IOER presented the meinGrün web app, which has been developed over the past three years with the support of the population and the pilot cities of Heidelberg and Dresden. Researchers from the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences also presented an app developed by citizen scientists at their workshop "Counting Night Lights". During a guided herb tour with Tom Zschaage from Dresden, conference participants could discover which wild herbs can be found in the Großer Garten.

Photos: Anna-Maria Schielicke/IOER Media
More photo impressions can be found on IOER's Annual Conference website

Side events for researchers and interested people

The IOER Annual Conference was flanked by other events – for young researchers on the one hand and local actors from politics, administration, business and civil society as well as a broad public on the other.

On September 21, the IOER together with the Leibniz Research Network "Knowledge for Sustainable Development" organised a synthesis workshop on the topic of “How citizens, municipalities and science jointly test and design spaces for the future”. At this workshop, representatives of the eight Cities of the Future (funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in phase 3 of the "City of the Future" competition) exchanged ideas and visions. Members of the Network "Real World Laboratories for Sustainability" also took part in the event.

On the eve of IOER's Annual Conference, the Autumn School of the Dresden Leibniz Graduate School (DLGS) brought together young scientists. They presented and discussed their research on the topic of "Space & Transformation". They also had the opportunity to exchange ideas with experienced scientists, including Julia Leventon (CzechGlobe), James Evans (Manchester University) and Marc Wolfram (IOER).

On the evening of the 22 September, interested people were invited to the discussion series "Looking backwards or forward to the future? Choosing how we want to live in Dresden". For the fifth year in a row, the event series explored the question of what the city might look like in 2030 and beyond. On the eve of the IOER Annual Conference, the focus was on the question "Who owns the city?”. The keynote speech was given by Anna Ditges, director of the documentary "Who owns the city - citizens on the move". Other participants in the panel discussion were Stefan Szuggat, head of the Dresden City Planning Office, and Sarah Urban from Konglomerat e. V. Dresden. A video recording of the event will soon be available on the website of the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum: https://www.dhmd.de/digitales/mediathek-veranstaltungsarchiv/zurueck-oder-zukunft/

Save the date and background

The next IOER Annual Conference will take place on 22 and 23 September 2022.

The IOER Annual Conference is a place for inter- and transdisciplinary exchange. It addresses its questions to both scientists and practitioners. In addition to staff members from the research areas of IOER, important protagonists of national and European transformation and spatial research provide impulses for IOER's Annual Conference.

The Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development is jointly funded by the federal government and the federal states.

FS Sachsen

This institute is co-financed by tax funds on the basis of the budget approved by the Saxon State Parliament.