Dangerous Landscapes - Re-Thinking Environmental Risk in Low-Income Communities

Herrenhausen Palace
Researchers and Professionals

The Herrenhausen Conference on November 27-29, 2017 is an interdisciplinary platform for developing risk reduction strategies for low-income communities threatened by natural hazards.

The number of uncontrolled settlements on dangerous terrain will increase further. (Photo: Marcus Hanke)
The number of uncontrolled settlements on dangerous terrain will increase further. (Photo: Marcus Hanke)

Link: Event Report

Climate change and rapid urbanization will expose more and more humans around the globe to natural hazards. Future informal urbanization activities in dangerous terrain will increase overall vulnerabilities especially for flooding and landslides in the fast growing regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Peri-urban and rural settlements will also face increased risks such as the intensification of droughts and a corresponding loss in livelihoods. Therefore, developing integrated risk reduction strategies in such regions will be one of the great challenges of the future. The Herrenhausen Conference "Dangerous Landscapes" will specifically examine trans-disciplinary and emerging approaches to disaster risk reduction in low-income communities. The conference will address integrative and affordable forms of prevention and counteractions that could be integrated into everyday life of threatened communities. Given the massive increase expected in urbanization, prevention and response efforts are likely to overwhelm state agencies, aid organizations, and residents in the coming years.

A broad array of experts from various disciplines is invited to join the conference, including researchers and practitioners of landscape and urban design, the humanities, the engineering sciences, as well as those involved in community-based organizations. The inputs will range from promising ideas to realized projects. Potentials of scalar applicability, bottom-up and top-down overlays, as well as linkages between high and low technologies will be explored. The collection of these contributions shall contribute to an ever-evolving taxonomy for disaster preparation in low-income communities.

"Dangerous Landscapes" is part of the Herrenhausen Conference Series initiated by the Volkswagen Foundation. The steering committee is chaired by Christian Werthmann (Institute for Landscape Architecture) and consists of Ulrike Grote(Institute for Environmental Economics and World Trade) and Jörg Dietrich(Institute for Water Resources Management) as members of the TRUST Research Initiative (Transdisciplinary Rural Development Studies) at the Leibniz University of Hannover, and Miho Mazereeuw (Director of Urban Risk Lab at MIT) and Claudio Acioly (Head of Capacity Building at UN-Habitat) as international partners. The conference establishes a further link to a series of conferences initiated by the Informal Urbanism Hub as part of the UN-Habitat University Initiative (UNI).

Herrenhausen Conference 
"Dangerous Landscapes - Re-Thinking Environmental Risk in Low-Income Communities" 
November 27-29, 2017
Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover, Germany


A detailed program can be found in the column on the right.
Cluster 1: Towards a Deeper Understanding of Risk
Cluster 2: Community-based Knowledge and Coping Strategies
Cluster 3: Landscape-based Disaster Risk Management
Cluster 4: Weaving and Wiring

Confirmed Speakers Include

Alejandro Echeverri, Medellín; Gerardo Gazmuri, Haiti; Undine Giseke, Berlin; David Gouverneur, Philadelphia; Johann-Christian Hannemann, Munich; Kate Harawa, Glasgow; Dan Lewis, Nairobi; Michel Matera, Maputo; Miho Mazereeuw, Cambridge, MA; Sarah Nandudu, Kampala, Chelina Odbert, Nairobi, Ronak B. Patel, Stanford, Jörg Rekittke, Melbourne, Wolfgang Rieger, Munich; Jakob Ryhner, Bonn; David Sanderson, Sydney; Torsten Schlurmann, Hanover; Rajendra Singh, Rajasthan; Hannes Taubenböck, Pfaffenhofen; Phil Thompson, Cambridge, MA; Koko Warner, Bonn; Fernando Zapata, Medellín.


There are no fees for attendance but registration is essential. If you would like to attend the conference, please register by clicking on the registration link in the column on the right.


The conference language is English.

Venue and public transport

The conference is held at Herrenhausen Palace, a modern conference center in Hanover, Germany. You can reach the venue by tram: Take line 4 or 5 and get off at "Herrenhäuser Gärten".

Accommodation for participants

Please note that you are responsible for booking your accommodation. As Hannover is a city that hosts many fairs, we recommend booking a hotel as soon as you register.


Please cancel your registration if you cannot attend the conference. We can offer your place to another person if you cannot attend. Simply use the registration tool to cancel or send us an email.

Herrenhausen Conferences

With its Herrenhausen Conferences the Volkswagen Foundation provides international experts as well as junior researchers with a platform for an intense interdisciplinary dialogue on exciting new areas of research and innovative methodological approaches. The main focus of the conferences does lie on the current challenges faced by each research area rather than on further in-depth discussions and analyses of individual well-established topics. We are interested in unanswered questions and unsolved problems - and in the respective research field's relevance for society.