Research Project

Landscape Architecture and Design

© Christian Werthmann

International Conference

Dangerous Landscapes
Re-Thinking Environmental Risk in Low-Income Communities

Climate change and rapid urbanization will increasingly expose humans around the globe to natural hazards. Future informal urbanization activities in dangerous terrain will particularily increase overall vulnerabilities to flooding and landslides in the rapidly growing regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Peri-urban and rural settlements will also face increased risks such as the intensification of droughts and a corresponding loss in livelihoods. Therefore, developing integrated risk reduction strategies in such regions will be one of the great challenges of the future.

The Herrenhausen Conference "Dangerous Landscapes" will specifically examine trans-disciplinary and emerging approaches to disaster risk reduction in low-income communities. The conference will address integrative and affordable forms of prevention and counteractions that could be adopted into everyday life of threatened communities. Given the expected immense increase in urbanization, prevention and response efforts are likely to overwhelm state agencies, aid organizations, and residents in the coming years. A broad array of experts from various disciplines is invited to join the conference, including researchers and practitioners of landscape and urban design, the humanities, the engineering sciences, as well as those involved in community-based organizations. The inputs will range from promising ideas to realized projects. Potentials of scalar applicability, bottom-up and top-down overlays, as well as linkages between high and low technologies will be explored. The collection of these contributions is intended to support an ever-evolving taxonomy for disaster preparedness in low-income communities.

Project period: 27.11.2017 –29.11.2017

Funded by: Volkswagenstiftung

Team: Prof. Christian Werthmann, Dr. Heike Schäfer

Cooperation partners: "Dangerous Landscapes" is part of the Herrenhausen Conference Series initiated by the Volkswagen Foundation. The steering committee is chaired by Christian Werthmann (Institute for Landscape Architecture) and consists of Ulrike Grote (Institute for Environmental Economics and World Trade) and Jörg Dietrich (Institute for Water Resources Management) as members of the TRUST Research Initiative (Transdisciplinary Rural Development Studies) at the Leibniz University of Hannover, and Miho Mazereeuw (Director of Urban Risk Lab at MIT) and Claudio Acioly (Head of Capacity Building at UN-Habitat) as international partners. The conference establishes a further link to a series of conferences initiated by the Informal Urbanism Hub as part of the UN-Habitat University Initiative (UNI).

The entire conference was recorded and published on the Landscape Architecture and Design (LAE) department's YouTube channel.