Our Idea – Rethinking Land in the Anthropocene

Our Idea – Rethinking Land in the Anthropocene at the Faculty Agricultural Sciences and Landscape Architecture

In its flagship report “Rethinking Land in the Anthropocene”, published in 2020, the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) made it very clear that we are currently facing three major crises that will fundamentally change life on our planet: a climate crisis, a crisis of the food system, and a biodiversity crisis. These three crises are directly linked to how we currently use land (WBGU p. 15). Land use is an example of the way humankind treats the biosphere, much of which has already been fundamentally transformed (ibidem).

The report on Rethinking Land identifies multiple-benefit and governance strategies that can be adopted to tackle the aforementioned crises (video on the report, source: WBGU).

The Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Landscape Architecture and the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science offer different expertise and fields of research that can form part of these strategies, making a significant contribution to meeting the challenges posed by these three crises in the future. Preliminary work has been done to cluster the fields of research conducted at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Landscape Architecture, leading to the identification of the following four key areas:

  • Innovative agricultural system technologies
  • A viable economy and sustainable social structures
  • Sustainable food and nutrition
  • Sustainable urban and landscape development


The fictitious example of a topic in the diagram below illustrates a collaborative project involving several professors in the field of tension between the four key areas, where various dissertation topics can be positioned:

What can be understood by the innovative idea of “producing novel foods based on local material cycles at the urban edge and marketing them through housing associations”?

The collaborative project could address material cycles related to agricultural systems, society, food, the city, and urban planning. Here we present statements by four professors from the Talent Academy, explaining how the above fictional example can be understood in the field of tension between the four focus areas:



A dissertation topic should be positioned in this field of tension in such a way that it can be placed in a larger context, enabling it to support the transformation process. We are looking for people who want to develop and pursue innovative ideas in a dissertation project that addresses the aforementioned key areas at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Landscape Architecture. Their research projects should reflect the interconnectedness of these themes, taking into account and based on the multiple-benefit and governance strategies from the “Report on Rethinking Land in the Anthropocene”.


The second fictitious example, “Agroforestry – the biodiversity-enhancing cultivation of woody plants for the co-production of food and recreational space in a network of agriculture and urban populations”, illustrates how the four key areas can be interlinked under the theme of agroforestry:

Here you will find statements by professors from the Talent Academy who place the second fictional example in a transdisciplinary context from the perspective of the four key areas: