15 December, 2015

Taylor & Francis gives free access to articles in support of UN Millennium Development Goals

Adopted by world leaders in the year 2000 and set to be achieved by 2015, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) represent the most important promise ever made to the world’s most vulnerable people. Promoted by the MDG Advocacy Group, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aimed to:
  1. Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
  2. Achieve Universal Primary Education
  3. Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
  4. Reduce Child Mortality
  5. Improve Maternal Health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other Diseases
  7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability; and
  8. Global Partnership for Development
As described by Taylor & Francis, the main targets of Goal 7 were to integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the loss of environmental resources; reduce biodiversity loss; lower the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation; and to instigate a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers. In efforts to endorse Goal 7, T&F has given free access to a selection of articles related to Urban Sustainable Development  chosen from its wider portfolio.

Congratulations to Tim Freytag, Stefan Gössling & Samuel Mössner whose paper entitled, Living the green city: Freiburg's Solarsiedlung between narratives and practices of sustainable urban development was included in this list, and is currently free to download.

This was a paper published in Constance Carr's (UniLu) and Julia Affolderbach's (U Hull) (2014) Special Issue of Local Environment, entitled, "Rescaling Sustainability".

Thanks to Rob Krueger (WPI & UniLu) and Julian Agyeman (Tufts U) who made this possible.

07 December, 2015

Post-doc position in Global Urban Studies

The University of Luxembourg seeks to hire outstanding researchers within its Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE)

Post-doctoral Researcher in Global Urban Studies (M/F)
  • Réf.: F3R-IPS-PFN-15GLOB
  • Full-time, 40 hrs/week
  • 3-years contract
  • Start date: 1 March 2016
The scientific collaborator position is part of the new FNR-funded research project GLOBAL that aims to study the processes and strategies of the internationalization of cities, making such cities becoming “relational”. In empirical terms, the project is based on three case studies to be conducted in Luxembourg-City, Luxembourg, Geneva, Switzerland and in the city-state of Singapore. (See blog post below). The successful applicant will be affiliated with the Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning within the Research Unit "Identités. Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces" (IPSE). The candidate will contribute to the research activities in urban studies led by Prof. Dr. Markus Hesse.

Under the direction of Prof. Dr. Markus Hesse, the successful candidate will
  • Participate in further developing the research concept of GLOBAL, most notably the approach of “relational cities”,
  • Prepare the data-basis of the research on the internationalisation of cities in general and the three case study places in particular (literature, secondary data, archival data, press releases, grey literature),
  • Contribute to the data collection in the case studies of GLOBAL, most notably by preparing and (partly) conducting the primary research activities,
  • Take care of related field research activities in one of the three case studies areas, including on-site visits, preparatory arrangements and interviews/focus groups,
  • Provide accurate data collection, assessment and interpretation, particularly with respect to non-standardised methods, and among others by means of software assistance (i.e. MaxQDA),
  • Prepare the scientific reports on the related subject matter,
  • Disseminate findings through blog entries and peer-reviewed publications, and also presenting the project’s findings at relevant scientific conferences.

Desired candidates will have:
  • A completed PhD related to the field of human geography, sociology, other social sciences, or planning;
  • Professional experience, i.e. research practice of at least three years following the termination of the doctorate
  • A publication record that includes single and co-authored peer-reviewed publications and book chapters on the subject matter
  • Fluent written and spoken language skills in English and further competencies in either German or French;
  • A network of established research contacts at national and international levels;
  • Ability to work independently and within an interdisciplinary team.
We offer
  • A collaborative research environment in the social sciences and humanities in general and in geography and spatial planning in particular;
  • Opportunity to participate in the development of interdisciplinary research structures, both within and beyond IPSE;
  • Possibility to become part of a highly committed, highly international and dynamically developing Institute of about 30 people.
Applications are welcome in German or in English and must include the following:
  • A letter of motivation;
  • A detailed CV including research experience and publication record;
  • A copy of the PhD diploma;
  • At least two names and addresses of potential referees.

Deadline for applications: December 31st, 2015
Information and application procedures here: http://emea3.mrted.ly/we83

Contact: Prof. Dr. Markus Hesse (markus.hesse@uni.lu), Tél. +352 46 66 44-9627.

New Project Launch

GLOBAL research project to be commenced soon
This is to announce a new research project that will be conducted by our group: "GLOBAL: Relational cities and enclave urbanism in the 'Singapores of the West'. How niche-sovereignty strategies and political economy help minor metropolises to globalise. The cases of Geneva (CH) and Luxembourg (L)”.

The project is funded by the Fonds National de la Recherche (FNR), Luxembourg, and will commence on 1st March 2016. It has a duration of three years. GLOBAL complements previous research undertaken in the domains of sustainable development in general and regional governance in particular (see the research projects SUSTAINLUX and SUSTAIN_GOV), and it adds to our research trajectory on the link between city-regions and flows. These flows include not only material flows, but also the circulation of money or political ideas, and it specifically aims to link concepts of relational cities with a new understanding of how urban space is organised and governed.

The project addresses three main issues. First, the research will deal with the increasing degree of global integration of local places, an integration that is not related to their economic or population size but which is an outcome of their specialisation and the politics of niche-sovereignty. This will be done by drawing on the idea of relational cities and the example of three cities: Luxembourg, Geneva and Singapore. Second, the project will emphasise the urban-regional implications of the integration of these cities into global processes, with particular attention being paid to the emergence of specialised locales that are rather distinct and, in locational terms, separated from others. Here, it is the concept of enclave urbanism that will be mobilised to frame the development and implications of actually existing enclaves in the three relational cities investigated. And third, the project will interrogate the links between the macro-scale notion of the relational city and the meso-level concept of enclave urbanism by exploring how both of these imply similar governance attitudes and practices. This will be done by juxtaposing the traditions, beliefs and dilemmas of the key actors involved in both the original development of the case study cities as relational and of those responsible for the generation of enclave urbanism.

By investigating three enclave spaces in each of the three relational cities, the project will both strengthen the central concepts, develop a theoretical link between them on the basis of governance practices and generate insights on the three cities and their urban systems. In so doing, it will also contribute to detect both the “other” in globalisation, which is its local or regional imprint, and also the processes and dynamics that are going on “out there”, and study the manifold forms in which these two are linked together.

We are seeking an experienced post-doc for collaborating in this research project over the next three years, to become a member of the Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning at the University of Luxembourg. Please find more information about the post here: http://emea3.mrted.ly/we83

Lecture - Luís Moreira de Sousa, “Frontiers in Energy Systems and Policy”

Speaker: Luís Moreira de Sousa, Researcher and Journal Associate Editor “Frontiers in Energy Systems and Policy”.
Event date: Tuesday, 08 December 2015, 19:00 - 20:30
Place: Campus Limpertsberg, Bâtiment des Sciences, Auditoire BS 0.03
162a, avenue de la Faïencerie
L-1511 Luxembourg


The Transition Towns movement started as a spontaneous reaction to the prospect of "Peak Oil" by an eight grade class in the Irish city of Kinsale in late 2005. Employing scientific resilience practices and dispensing a clear philosophical background, the movement grew incredibly fast, engulfing similar initiatives along the way, to reach over 1 000 communities around the world.   However, similarities and symbiosis with Green Anarchism and successor ideologies still pose a challenge to individuals that may not identify themselves with these previous philosophies. In this context, initiatives such as Energy Cooperatives provide an alternative path to engage the wider community in the inevitable energy transition process.

This public lecture provides perspectives on the establishment of a citizens energy cooperative in Luxembourg.  Through Energy Cooperatives citizens invest financially on high technology to effectively earn dividends, but still within a framework of democracy, equality and transition.  The project of the Luxembourg transition town movement illustrates the transformative potential of energy cooperatives in a fairly favourable legal and regulatory environment.

To conclude trends of the establishment of energy cooperatives in Europe are critically discussed:  Energy Cooperatives in Europe grew initially on the back of hefty feed-in-tariffs provided to technologies such as Photo-Voltaics, in what were essentially easy money processes. A rapid decline in renewable energy technology prices has since entirely changed the landscape. Today, not only have these feed-in-tariffs been scrapped, governments and industry now regard cheap renewable energies as a growing threat. With import duties imposed by the European Commission and heavy taxes approved by multiple member states, the energy transition is in practice being halted.   European energy cooperatives face today a sizeable challenge, in particular for its political dimension. However, with millions of citizens involved, these cooperatives can actually acquire a fundamental role in guaranteeing a thorough energy transition and the long term resilience of the European economy.

Guest Lecturer: Luís Moreira de Sousa is a researcher with a background on Computer Science. He has worked in different national and European research projects, mostly applying open source tools in Geography and related fields. In 2005 he started the first Portuguese language website dedicated to "Peak Oil" (www.picodopetroleo.net). In 2006 he would be a founding member of the Portuguese branch of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas (ASPO). Still that year he integrated the team that founded the European branch of the electronic energy forum TheOilDrum.com - to which he contributed until its closure in 2013. Since 2013 Luís has been an associate editor at the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Energy Systems and Policy. He writes regularly on Energy at his blog (attheedgeoftime.blogspot.com).

Lecture: Leymah Gbowee, winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize

The University of Luxembourg and the RISC Consortium, in association with the European Commission, the United Nations Development Programme and the Luxembourgish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is proud to host Ms. Leymah Gbowee, winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize who will give a Kapuscinski Development Lecture on December 9, 2015. This lecture is part of the closing ceremony of the Luxembourgish Presidency of the EU and it will take place at the European Conference Centre in Kirschberg (Salle C) from 14:30 to 16:00.

The lecture is open to the public but registration is required by December 8 because badges will be issued to all who attend. It can be completed by providing a name and e-mail address at the following website: http://kapuscinskilectures.eu

This is a unique opportunity to hear a remarkable peacemaker speak in Luxembourg. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Prof. Harlan Koff