Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (Frankfurt UAS) has appointed the first of a total of four sustainability professorships for the winter semester 2022/2023. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jan Dieterle started in October at Faculty 1. His professorship is dedicated to the topic of “Sustainable open space and urban design”. Thus, Dieterle deals with current topics and challenges at the interface of landscape architecture with architecture and urban design – also in a global context.
“Frankfurt UAS adopted its sustainability strategy in March 2021 and authentically lives its transformation process towards a sustainable university. As an interdisciplinary university of applied sciences, Frankfurt UAS has been delivering research results that help protect our fragile world for decades. Every year we graduate over 2,000 graduates who are passionate about sustainability and can be ambassadors for this issue in their future major roles. But we want to achieve even more. The sustainability professorships are therefore an important aspect of our strategy to develop solutions for a sustainable world in studies, teaching, further education, research and transfer,” summarises Vice President Prof. Dr. Susanne Rägle. The sustainability professorships provide scientific support for the work of the Sustainability Office and work on the further development of the sustainability strategy.
One professorship is filled per faculty. In January 2023, Prof. Dr. Timo von Wirth will start at the Department of Economics and Law, who will focus in particular on processes of socio-economic transformation and sustainable mobility. The Department of Social Work and Health will fill the sustainability professorship in April 2023 in the field of “Eco-Social Work and Care”. At the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, the professorship “Sustainable and Modern Drives/Mobility” is in the process of being filled.
The Professorship of Sustainable Open Space and Urban Design
The sustainable design of urban spaces for people, taking into account current challenges such as social justice and environmental justice, is one of the contents of Dieterle’s professorship. He is particularly concerned with linking climate change adaptation and mobility transformation with ecological and social processes. For this, climate- and water-sensitive concepts must also be examined for socially acceptable and economic components. “Sustainable concepts must always include local actors, without whom implementation and lasting function cannot be guaranteed. We often focus too much on technical solutions and ‘top-down strategies’ and forget that people’s behaviour and activities play the decisive role in the transformation to sustainability,” Dieterle explains. The lived practice has to change. The focus must therefore no longer be on the danger and its defence (“technical solution”), but on the affectedness and capacities of different population groups.
Interdisciplinarity is a major added value of the sustainability professorship
For Dieterle, the sustainability professorship is particularly appealing because he will be working in an interdisciplinary way: he will be involved in interdisciplinary courses of study and cooperate with professors from different disciplines. “Sustainable planning means thinking holistically, i.e. planning in an interdisciplinary or even transdisciplinary way,” Dieterle emphasises. Teaching plays an important role in this: “My goal is to train curious, motivated and enthusiastic students as experts in the design of future urban landscapes. I want to enable them to think and act in a future-oriented way, both to understand impacts of their own actions on the world and to positively influence the future development of cities and landscapes.” He is already practising this in the new Bachelor’s programme in Urban Planning (B.Eng.), which started in the winter semester of 2022/23.
Source: Press Release by Frankfurt UAS, 16 December 2022
Image: Kevin Rupp / Frankfurt UAS