Metropolitan regions, understood here as coupled human-environment systems comprised of urban agglomerations and their peri-urban hinterlands, are subject to both challenges and opportunities for attaining the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. With the global megatrend of urbanization expected to further increase the urban share of the world populationfrom about 55 percent in 2018 to 68 percent by 2050, substantial transformations of metropolitan regions are urgently needed to attain those goals. Understanding transformations of metropolitan regions, and navigating those transformations towards more sustainable pathways, is therefore of utmost societal relevance.
Our mission is to advance the scientific understanding of spatial transformations of metropolitan regions, and to generate strategies for navigating those transformations towards more sustainable pathways in collaboration with knowledge holders from science, practice, and policy.
We strive for excellence in research in the interdisciplinary field of geography to emerge as an internationally visible center for research on metropolitan transformations, to provide best-available teaching to support the efforts of our students to learn relevant theories, methods, and practical applications, and to serve society by contributing to a sustainable transformation of metropolitan regions. We understand sustainable transformations as pathways of change in metropolitan regions that advance the goals of sustainable development, especially Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11), Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6), Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), Climate Action (SDG 13), Life on Land (SDG 15), and Quality Education (SDG 4).
We actively contribute to major research and innovation initiatives at the Ruhr University Bochum (e.g. Digitalization Strategy, Internationalization Strategy, Research-based Learning) and in the University Alliance Ruhr (e.g. the Competence Field Metropolitan Research, Alliance for East Asia Ruhr). Our research and teaching is in line with major international research efforts as stipulated, among others, by the Global Land Program (GLP) and the Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) of Future Earth. Our work is inherently international, focusing on the transformation of metropolitan regions in Europe, Asia and beyond, involving intensive collaborations with colleagues worldwide.
We perceive our co-generation of excellent research not only as an end in itself but as the basis for delivering societal impact and contributing to the advancement of multiple transformations towards more sustainable metropolitan development.
We do so by embedding our research in local initiatives, including efforts towards a sustainable campus of the Ruhr University, and the facilitation of Living Labs for sustainable transformations for neighborhoods, cities, and metropolitan regions. A key contribution in this regard is also our focus on geography didactic and researchbased teaching, aiming to enhance geographical literacy and understanding among students in high school, university and further education in the context of lifelong learning and educating future teachers around issues of sustainable development.