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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Changing urban-rural linkages

The research group „Changing urban-rural linkages“, led by Prof. Jonas Østergaard Nielsen, investigates intertwinement of environmental, societal and cultural dynamics in both rural and urban areas.

Fig.: Jonas Nielsen

The intertwinement of environmental, societal and cultural dynamics as well as the global and local and rural and urban will constitute the main theoretical focus of the Research Group (RG). Empirically the RG will concentrate on changing urban-rural linkages across the world. Peri-urban settlements, urban gardening, and sustainable cities constitute topics which the group will engage with. A central hypothesis of the RG is that such phenomena cannot be understood as either urban or rural, social or environmental, or global or local, but rather as sites where the boundaries between such categories dissolve.

Researching this blurring of boundaries require knowledge of historical and environmental developments as well as how policy makers, city planners, environmental experts, development projects, civil society, and local residents understand, inhabits and transform these sites and how these processes are entangled in local and global social, political, economic, spatial and environmental transformations.

Fieldwork is an integral part of the RG. While mainly qualitative an important aspect of the JRG is mixed-methods and interviews and participant observations is supplemented by archival work, GPS measurements, and/or other spatial, demographic, policy and/or environmental data necessary for the research. The compatibility of methodologies combined with the geographical scope of the RG allows comparative work and generic insights.

Current projects

Former projects


Jonas Nielsen
Photo: Jonas Nielsen

Research Group Leader


Prof. Dr. Jonas Østergaard Nielsen, Research Group Leader
Phone: +49 (030) 2093-66341
E-Mail: jonas.ostergaard.nielsen@hu-berlin.de