Urban human-nature resonance for sustainability transformation


Presentation at the seminar "Future Geographies of Food"

On Friday, April 28, Mabel gave a talk to geography students as part of the seminar "Future Geographies of Food". In her presentation, titled "Urban Human-Food Relations and the Sustainability Transformation. The Role of Urban Initiatives and Institutions," she presented the results of the first phase of her project to conceptualize human-food resonance. Among other things, the presentation focused on the role of public catering as urban institutions, which Mabel will further explore in her second phase of the project, in order to investigate the structures of canteens that promote or hinder resonance.

02 May 2023

Cooperation agreement with ABiK Leipzig

To foster resonating human-nature relationships in cities, ideas from mindfulness can play a crucial role. On February 23, Martina and Susanne from the URBNANCE-team discussed with Susanne Krämer and Julias Hartmann of the ABiK project (a project to integrate mindfulness into education and academia) at the University of Leipzig how URBNANCE and ABiK can cooperate. The goal is to bundle energies, to network better and to learn from each other: The result is a one-year cooperation agreement.

15 March 2023


How we nourish ourselves and produce food is a major leverage point for promoting sustainability transformation. Urban agriculture can make an important contribution to this. By promoting food supply in the city, transport distances can be shortened and human-food relationships of the urban population can be strengthened. These and other benefits as well as limitations of urban agriculture are discussed in a recent feature on SWR2 Wissen, to which Martina from the URBNANCE team was invited to provide insights into the current research. 


03 March 2023

Conceptual paper on human-nature resonance published

According to Hartmut Rosa's theory, resonance arises from an interplay of being touched, responding and transforming. But what do these resonance qualities mean for our human-nature relationships in times of social-ecological crises? How can the resonance theory be translated for sustainability science to better understand what internal and external levers of transformation are needed to foster vibrant human-nature partnerships? Martina from the URBNANCE-team answers these questions in the conceptual article Human-nature resonance in times of social-ecological crisis – a relational account for sustainability transformation, which got now published in Ecosystems and People. The article will serve as a basis for our further work to explore individual and collective human-nature resonance as well as human-food relations in an urban context in more depth.

14 February 2023

URBNANCE goes Deutschlandfunk

Traditional nature conservation and its focus on the establishment of nature reserves makes an important contribution to the protection of nature and biodiversity. However, in the face of a drastic decline in biodiversity and a worsening ecological crisis despite current conservation measures, we need further strategies and visions on how to advance a deep shift towards human-nature partnerships. In a recent feature on Deutschlandfunk, Martina from the URBNANCE team, together with colleagues Bram Büscher and Bernhard Gißibl, presented ideas for a conservation revolution. 

23 January 2023

The URBNANCE team is looking for a research assistant to support a PhD project.

The range of tasks includes:

  • Organizational support of a multi-week panel study in Dresden including a pre-test and contacting test persons
  • Interface work with IT administration
  • Support in interdisciplinary literature research and presentation preparation

You can find the job description here.

19 January 2023

Special Issue on healthy human-nature relations published

For fostering human-nature resonance we need to acknowledge that a healthy society is depend on healthy ecosystems. In this context, Martina Artmann was co-editing the Special Issue "Shaping healthier cities—Ecosystem services and health for responsive human–nature relations" together with Stefano Salata, Diogo Guedes Vidal, Fátima Alves, and Ana Isabel Ribeiro. Now the editorial has been published in Frontiers in Environmental Science summarizing the main findings of the Special Issue emphasizing the need for future research on pluralistic valuations of ecosystem services for healthy human–nature ties endorsing a good life for human and non-human Earth dwellers.

17 January 2023

Interview with Perpective Daily

At the end of the year, Susanne did an interview with Désiree Schneider from Perpective Daily on December 1st. The one-hour background conversation was about how individuals can actively connect to nature again. The journalist of the ad-free online magazine, which has already been awarded as a Culture and Creative Pilot of the Federal Government in 2015, with the quality seal "Werkstatt N" in 2016 and with the "Project Sustainability" in 2017 by the German Council for Sustainable Development, became aware of URBNANCE's research through the Leibniz format Book A Scientist.

14 December 2022

URBNANCE-Christmas Party 2022

The year 2022 comes to an end and we are looking back to many activities, new insights and learnings. To end the year in a responsive manner, we shared and reflected our research, networking, and transfer highlights of this year in a cozy online atmosphere. We crowned the Christmas quiz king 2022 and created, based on an idea by Susanne, a digital mandala with items representing our personal 2022. For 2023, we are looking forward to further exchange, mutual support and flow. The URBNANCE-team wishes you a Merry Christmas and in the sense of deceleration and resonance a relaxing hibernation.

07 December 2022

URBNANCE & conviviality in societal relations to nature

From Oct. 21 to Oct. 22, 2022, Martina participated in the workshop "Living Together in the Anthropocene. Post-Capitalist Futures of Conservation" in Munich. The occasion for the workshop is the book to be published in German translation in autumn 2022 The Ecological Revolution. A Post-Capitalist Manifesto for Nature Conservation by environmental sociologists Bram Büscher and Robert Fletcher, who teach at Wageningen University. Discussions during the workshop revealed that what is needed most is a promotion of relational values and positive visions of alternative futures beyond capitalist value systems for a transformation toward sustainability. Visions like our work on urban human-nature partnerships can make an important contribution in this regard.

03 November 2022

URBNANCE at Book a Scientist

Your speed date with science: Scientific questions formulated in an understandable way, that is the idea behind Book a Scientist. Susanne is also participating in this year's virtual edition and will be happy to answer your questions on the topic of reconnecting humans with nature and whether this can trigger changes towards sustainability. Register now at https://www.leibniz-gemeinschaft.de/ueber-uns/neues/veranstaltungen/book-a-scientist for a personal conversation and possibly new thought-provoking ideas.




17 October 2022

URBNANCE at the IOER Annual Conference 2022

This year's annual conference of the IOER with the title "Space and Transformation: Livable Futures" was dedicated to space-related transformation topics and issues. Thereby, the cohabitation and relationship between humans and non-human nature were addressed in various presentations and sessions. For the first time, the URBNANCE team, moderated by Philip and Susanne, performed a role play entitled "Dresden 2050 - Visions of a sister city with nature for sustainability transformations". The participants took on the roles of earthworms, bumblebees and oaks envisioning a good urban life in the future. In the afternoon, Mabel and Susanne moderated a session in the "liveable landscapes" track discussing possible differences in human-nature relationships in urban and rural regions.

29 September 2022

URBNANCE goes Kassel

From 14th to 16th September 2022, Martina, Philip, and Susanne participated at the 9th workshop of the Working Group for Landscape Research in Kassel. Under the umbrella "Landscapes for Future", the aim of the workshop was to discuss solutions and pathways how to foster the transformation towards sustainable landscapes. URBNANCE contributed hereby by presenting a conceptual vision of a human-nature partnership as possible target knowledge and a designed role play as practical tool for experiencing this partnership.

Through a relatively small audience, connections and deep discussions with other workshop participants from various disciplines were easily possible. By means of interactive elements, various senses were addressed, and vegan/vegetarian food made the trip a successful experience.

21 September 2022

Plea for more affection in politics - An essay about the continuation of the 9-Euro-Ticket

With the end of the 9-Euro-Ticket, a broad alliance of actors is advocating for a continuation of the ticket. At the Freitag community, Susanne wrote a plea on this, based on a self-experiment of crossing Germany with the offer and resonating in many ways.

31 August 2022

URBNANCE book review of the new book by Harald Lesch & Klaus Kamphausen published

Martina Artmann (Head of the URBNANCE Junior-Research Group) was invited to write a review of "Over the Orinoco the moon shines" (in German "Über dem Orinoco scheint der Mond"), the new book by Harald Lesch & Klaus Kamphausen. The review of the inspiring book can be read at BIOspektrum.

31 August 2022

Invitation to Open Air Summer film nights: Our relationship with nature - from crisis to resonance

With our three-part open air film series on every first friday on summermonths, we invite you to glimpse nature in its different facets and to reconnect with it. Films tell stories, they touch and move.  As city dwellers, experiencing nature, being touched by its beauty, but also caring for it and seeing yourself as part of it, often proves difficult. The open air summer film nights are presented by the Leibniz-Junior Research Group URBNANCE (Urban Human-Nature Resonance for Sustainability Transformation) of the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) in cooperation with UFER-Projekte Dresden e.V. at the Alte Gärtnerei in Dresden-Pieschen.

We are looking forward to your coming! Further information is in our invitation.

29 August 2022

Forming resonating relations with the advisory partners during our first midterm workshop

Back in 2020 when URBNANCE just started, the exchange via inspiring rounds of discussions and welcoming new team members into the project were still visions of the future. That changed however starting with getting the advisory partners on board, new PhD students coming into the picture in 2021 and lastly welcoming new research assistants into this bigger collective of interested researchers. Those people came together during our first mid-term workshop in July 2022 at the IOER in Dresden. After several online meetings due to the pandemic, meeting everyone in real life led to the development of stronger resonant bonds.

The first workshop day did thereby involve presentations around the current work of the project lead Martina as well as the three PhDs Susanne, Philip and Mabel who are always supported by their research assistance Henrike, Maeve and Steffi. On the second day, we connected again with our body and heart starting with a meditation led by Susanne and an interactive session of ward talks. Thanks to those illuminating conversations, the team is filled with inspiring thoughts and energy motivated to move on to their next chapters of resonance.

4 August 2022

URBNANCE at the ISDRS 2022

In the course of the ISDRS 2022, focusing this year on "sustainable development and courage. Culture, art and human rights", the URBNANCE-team presented a talk on "human-nature partnership ‒ a normative framing for relational sustainability science?". Besides presenting the theoretical framework of human-nature partnerships, we gave insights into our ideas of affective turning points and interventions fostering resonance such as our multi-species urban planning game, rituals for urban citizens and the role of urban structures for responsive food relations. Thereby, our contribution corresponded with the key-note debates, reflecting about the role of art and inner transformations as levers for responding heart- and mindful to the social-ecological crisis.

20 June 2022

Human-Nature Partnerships at EXPO 2025 in Osaka?

Koelnmesse invited participants on 13 June 2022 to discuss ideas for the design of the German pavilion at EXPO 2025 in Japan under the central theme of "connecting lives". Representing Martina, Philip brought the idea of Human-Nature Partnerships into the competition.

If the application is successful, the URBNANCE team would like to work with artists to develop an exhibit for the World Expo that will touch visitors in Osaka. The focus will be on understanding, feeling and acknowledging our interconnectedness with nature and relational capacities such as empathy, compassion and care. Whether this project will find favour will become clear in 2023, when the idea will be made available to the competitors as part of the EU-wide tender for the design of the German pavilion.

20. June 2022

URBNANCE in Interview

In the course of the IOER Annual Conference 2021, Mabel and Susanne gave some insights into the URBNANCE-project. They talked also about their dissertations and discussed about the role of spiritualty and food for sustainability transformation.

Link to the Interview

13 June 2022

URBNANCE at the Dresden Nexus-Konferenz

From 23-25 May 2022, the Dresden Nexus Conference (DNC 2022) took part as an online conference focusing on “Biodiversity - Stewardship for vital resources”. Together with Alina Hossu (University of Bucharest, Romania), Martina Artmann (head of URBNANCE) hosted a session on “Relational Values and Planning of Urban Nature and Biodiversity” with speakers from Romania, Turkey, and Japan. Main conclusions from the session are:

  • Strengthening of human-nature connection and avoiding the loss of nature experience in cities is crucial due to the benefits not only for nature (by conserving it), but also for humans due to the favorable health and emotional outcomes.
  • The choice of methods for values assessment is challenging. Qualitative data from surveys is complemented by quantitative approaches to have a deeper understanding on factors affecting human-nature connections. Therefore, approaches for knowledge co-creation and co-productive are needed to enable the identification of values and the "real" interactions people have with the environment.
  • A need that has been pointed out is the integration of local communities (including vulnerable groups) and their values about their relationship with nature into planning, especially to strengthen urban sustainability.

URBNANCE at the 7th NEST Conference for Early Career Researchers

NEST is the PhD network within the Sustainability Transition Research Network (STRN), which organizes an annual conference. This year it took place in Lyon with a mix of online and offline formats. Mabel, Philip and Susanne travelled by train to France to present their research projects and meet other projects.  Besides the exchange and inspiration, the ENS university campus with large green spaces and sheep remain in their memories.

17 May 2022

The URBNANCE-team is looking for a student assistant

To support the project lead.

The range of tasks includes:

  • Preparation and organization of workshops
  • Supporting literature research/analysis and empirical work
  • Communication of the project content (e.g. via social media)

More information about the offer for student assistants (in German)

29 April 2022

URBNANCE at the Edible Cities Network Conference 2022

As part of the Edible Cities Network Conference 2022 on February 16, Martina Artmann (URBNANCE Junior Research Group Lead) gave a keynote presentation on sustainable human-food relationships. The presentation and subsequent discussion with representatives from the field, research, and city administration can be viewed online.

28 April 2022

Start of the workshop series - Exploring and strengthening urban human-food relations

At the beginning of April, the focus group workshops for the sub-project urban human-food resonance will start. For this purpose, interested urban residents who follow a sustainable diet are invited to shed more light on their individual reasons, motivations, and values. Registration for the workshops, which will take place at the Palais Café and Garden, is open until 25 March 2022. More information about the dates and how to contact us is provided in the flyer.

15 March 2022

URBNANCE at the AESOP conference on just cities

On February 24-25, 2022, the annual AESOP meeting of the thematic group on ethics, values, and planning was held online. The conference addressed issues related to operationalizing the just city. The URBNANCE team was also represented at the conference. In addition to presentations on social justice and environmental justice, URBNANCE addressed the often under-lit importance of ecological justice in strengthening sustainable human-nature partnerships in cities.

4 March 2022

First internal workshop 2022

The URBNANCE team started the month of February with a workshop organized by Henrike and Susanne: content-related aspects of the research fields were shared, discussed, and uniformly defined within the group. In addition, the team used a Team Canvas to specify common goals, values, and rules for further collaboration. The research assistants Stefanie and Henrike also took part for the first time. The workshop also strengthened the team's human-nature resonance through the collaborative creation of a nature mandala.

14 February 2022

Second meeting with the URBNANCE Advisory Partners

In December the second meeting with the URBNANCE Advisory Partners took place. The meeting served to introduce the now complete URBNANCE team and to present and discuss the ideas of the three dissertations on individual and collective urban human-nature resonance and human-food resonance in the city. The URBNANCE team is looking forward to welcoming the partners to the URBNANCE workshop in Dresden in summer 2022.

8 December 2021

New insights into the scientific process of the URBNANCE team

After the past months and the work on the research exposés, major milestone has been reached and Susanne and Mabel have developed their research plan for the next three years. Thereby, Susanne's PhD focuses on Ritualistic reconnection through urban human-nature resonance with content from the following triad of theoretical subfields: indigenous worldviews, mindfulness, and spiritual rituals. In addition, Mabel's dissertation with the title Reconnecting with the food we eat urban human-food resonance will concentrate on approaches from the neo-materialist family of theories, the care concept and inner transformation in consideration of the resonance axes of Hartmut Rosa.

8 December 2021

URBNANCE invites abstracts to the Dresden Nexus Conference

Alina Hossu (University of Bucharest, Romania) and Martina Artmann (head of the URBNANCE research group) are happy to invite interested colleagues to submit an abstract to their session on "Relational values and planning of urban nature and biodiversity". The session is part of the Dresden Nexus Conference "DNC2022: Biodiversity - Stewardship for Vital Resources", which will take place between 23-25 May 2022 as an online event. Deadline for abstract submission is 10 Feb 2022.

25 November 2021

The URBNANCE-team is looking for three student assistant

supporting the PhD projects on (in German):

3 November 2021

IOER Annual Conference 2021: "How to Resonate? Roots for an Intact Urban Human-Nature Relationship"

At the IOER annual conference 2021, the URBNANCE team met for the first time with actors from science and practice.

In a speed talk, Susanne and Mabel gave a brief insight into Hartmut Rosa's resonance theory and the central problems and questions of the URBNANCE project. The subsequent lively and interactive discussion, in which Philip also participated, nourished the team with new inspiring input. Beyond that, Philip was also mainly responsible for the organisation of the conference. 

13 October 2021

A photo exhibition for the URBNANCE project

As part of the cultural program of the IOER summer party on the 9th September 2021 we presented Susanne Müller’s photo exhibition “Nature meets Town”. The exhibition was created in 2017 and shows 13 urban nature-related pictures taken in various countries and towns. It invites the contemplator to think in an integrated manner about socio-ecological living together.

The aim of the URBANCE team is to study urban human-nature resonance and by referring to Hartmut Rosa’s resonance theory we were interested in whether the contemplators were affected by the pictures showing nature moments. Hereby we invited them to interact with the artwork via post-its.

We thank all colleagues for their active participation!

13 October 2021

New URBNANCE essay published at the "The Nature of Cities"

In the essay, Martina Artmann (head of the URBNANCE research group) and her sister Katharina share thoughts and ideas on how to foster vibrant relationships between people and nature in the city. The essay focuses primarily on the importance of sustainable human-food relationships as well as spiritual practices such as meditation and ritual cacao ceremonies.

Let's rediscover that we are multidimensional beings and that we can connect with the world not only via our mind but with our heart, body and soul.

Artmann, Martina; Artmann, Katharina (2021): Soul and the City: Re-Establishing our Relational Capacity Beyond COVID-19. In: The Nature of Cities (2021).

13 October 2021

Welcome: PhD students start their work in the URBNANCE project

The IOER is happy to welcome the new three PhD students in the junior-research group starting their work in July 2021.

Philip Harms, Mabel Killinger and Susanne Müller will research in the next three years which types of human-nature resonance can be found in cities on different levels and which of these foster responses towards sustainability transformation.

The team is looking forward to inspiring exchange and to significantly contribute with their work to the new IOER Leitbild.

27 July 2021

URBNANCE at the 3rd World Congress of the Society for Urban Ecology

In the course of the 3rd World Congress of the Society for Urban Ecology (7-9 July 2021), Martina Artmann (head of the URBNANCE-research group) hosted together with Chris Ives (University of Nottingham) und Markus Egermann (IOER Dresden) a session on the topic „Urban Ecology in the Context of Sustainability Transformations – from Concepts to Interventions“. Based on six international presentations reflected session participants benefits of linking urban ecology and sustainability transformation research and how this task can be pursued in future. As an example for a transformation-oriented project having a link with urban ecology research, Martina Artmann presented the URBNANCE research group. The session aims to initiate further exchange and research activities on this topic. Interested researchers are warmly invited to contact Martina Artmann.

27 July 2021

URBNANCE at "The Nature of Cities Festival"

In the course of the digital "The Nature of Cities Festivals" URBNANCE hosted a session on "Soul in the city – connecting our inner and external nature."

Together with the session attendees, Martina Artmann (head of the junior-research group) and her sister Katharina Artmann (Grafic designer and flowartist) created a multi-dimensional space to explore the inner and external nature of cities. Through a short presentation, meditation and interactive breakout rooms the participants of the session explored how to overcome the human/nature dichotomy. The session showed that transdisciplinary approaches such as mystical and embodied experiences, journaling, mindfulness practices or storytelling can help to nourish our soul in the city and to experience urban nature as a sentient, soulful member of our kin.

26 February 2021

Paper on urban human-food relationship published

project on edible Cities is presented. Based on an embodied framework, the study identified various external and internal dimensions of human-food connection of urban gardeners in Munich (Germany) and assessed their link with pro-environmental food behaviour. The results of this study will support the conceptualization of urban human-food resonance for the URBNANCE project.

Artmann, M.; Sartison, K.; Ives, C.D. (2021): Urban gardening as a means for fostering embodied urban human–food connection? A case study on urban vegetable gardens in Germany. Sustainability Science.

26 February 2021

First meeting with the URBNANCE Advisory Partners

Together with the URBNANCE Advisory Partners we discussed the current status of the project currently focusing on the conceptualization of urban human-nature resonance. In this regard, we reflected how far human-nature resonance can be understood as a

  • mutual symbiosis between human and nonhuman nature
  • multilevel approach
  • lever for sustainability transformation

Also potential empirical approaches for the future PhD projects analyzing and evaluating urban human-nature resonance have been discussed.



5 November 2021