Theme leader, Urban social-ecological systems
Phone + 46 8 16 27 02

Staff profile

The work of Stephan Barthel attempts to understand environmental issues in metropolitan landscapes. Explorative studies has focused on social-ecological relations (human-environmental interactive relations) for learning, memory and meaning. Of late collaborations with PhD student Matteo Giusti has focused on the role of 'nature' in the physical environment for fostering a cognitive and emotional "connection with nature".

A recent publication focused on nature routines in urban landscapes and concluded that children who spend more time in nature environments hold more knowledge and are more strongly affiliated with nature. Hence it seems safe to raise the hypothesis whether where people dwell will affect their connection with nature.

He uses methods and theories form the natural and the social sciences, as well as from the humanities. He has been part of developing the discourse on urban social-ecological systems over the years. In collaboration with Mistra Urban Futures Stockholm he co-creates a new paradigm in urban sustainability: Social-Ecological Urbanism!

Pervious work includes comparative studies on common property rights to urban nature with studies in Cape Town, Stockholm, Berlin, and the Randstand region in the Netherlands. Stephan has also worked with with archeologists and historians in have using a resilience lens on urban environmental food histories on Constantinople and Cities of The Maya.

Future research will revolve around two main themes. 1) The first will look at the role physical and institutional factors in urban landscapes have for the development of "connection with nature" among urban populations. 2) The other will continue on developing thinking on social-ecological urbanism.

Concepts that Stephan has co-created over the years are:
Social-Ecological Memory (Published-2010)
Urban Green Commons (Published-2013)
Bio-cultural refugia (Published-2013)
Social-Ecological Urbanism (2013)

Since 2012 I am coordinating the 'Urban Theme' at SRC with Dr. Åsa Gren.


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Stockholm Resilience Centre

Stockholm University, Kräftriket 2B | Phone: +46 8 674 70 70 |
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