Claudia R. Binder nominated to head chair for urban ecology

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Claudia R. Binder nominated to head chair for urban ecology

25.09.15 - Tapping into the potential of cities to promote high quality of life with a low ecological footprint is more crucial than ever in an increasingly urbanized world. As director of EPFL’s Swiss Mobiliar Chair for Urban Ecology, Claudia R. Binder will integrate expertise from across EPFL and develop new tools in the burgeoning field of urban ecology and sustainable living.

Cities are home to more than half of the world’s population, making them an ineluctable gateway to promote human wellbeing and environmental sustainability. Last year, with the support of Swiss Mobiliar, EPFL created a new academic chair in the emerging field of urban ecology and sustainable living. This week, Claudia Binder was nominated to direct the new chair, which will be hosted at EPFL’s main campus in Lausanne. The chair will draw on broad interdisciplinary expertise already present on campus, and develop new research avenues at the crossroads between architecture and design, civil engineering, social and environmental sciences.

"Cities and urban areas concentrate both the problems and the solutions to sustainability challenges in a world that will soon host 8 billion inhabitants," says Marilyne Andersen, dean of EPFL’s School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC), which will host the new chair. "Providing high urban and living quality with a small ecological footprint is also of critical importance here in Switzerland, where almost 85% of the population resides in urban areas," she says. Living together sustainably will require densifying our urban centers and leveraging the positive impacts of our increased proximity. But, she adds, we cannot let this come at the detriment of our natural environment.

Claudia R. Binder will join EPFL in the spring of 2016 from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, where she is currently Professor of Human Environmental Relations. Binder’s novel approach to the transformation of urban and peri-urban systems, which combines sociological and environmental research, allows her to work across disciplines and is complementary to existing research on campus.

"At Swiss Mobiliar, we recognize the important role that cities will play in shaping the well-being of city-dwellers in the future. We are both proud and excited to be involved in this pioneering research endeavor, and we look forward to a fruitful collaboration with EPFL and with Professor Binder in particular," says Markus Hongler, CEO of Swiss Mobiliar."

The partnership with EPFL is part of Mobiliar’s social commitment. "Our cooperative tradition represents a responsible and future-oriented engagement with social values. We are convinced that sustainable solutions can only come about through the interlinking and bundling of different competencies," explains Dorothea Strauss, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Mobiliar.


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