Stephan Barthel does research on environmental issues in metropolitan landscapes, with focus on social features that have a bearing on the capacity to manage and design for urban biodiversity and ecosystem services. His publications are on historical land use and contemporary management, design and planning of green infrastructures in Stockholm and Berlin.
Comparative studies on common property rights to urban nature are under construction including studies in Cape Town and the Randstand region in the Netherlands. He also works with archeologists and historians, using a resilience lens on urban environmental histories on Constantinople and Cities of The Maya. Concepts that Stephan part of developing together with colleagues are
- Social-Ecological Memory (Published-2010)
- Innovative Memory (Published-2010)
- Urban Anthropocene (Published-2010)
- Urban Green Commons (2013)
- Pockets of Social-Ecological Memory (Published-2012)
- Biocultural refugia (2013)
Stephan uses research methods from physical sciences as well as social sciences, combining qualitative and quantitative approaches. He also tries to integrate systems thinking with social theories and the humanities in his attempts to better understand emergent properties of complex social-ecological systems.
Of late he also gained an interest in the relationship between the urban and the rural, focusing on food security and how urbanization interacts with the capacity to grow food. When discovering the importance of food and relations between the urban-rural it seems that the resilience function of interlinked bio-cultural diversity in landscapes of food production must be more fully understood.
Since 2012 Stephan is coordinating the 'Urban Theme' at SRC with Dr. Colding and Dr. Gren.