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International exchange on the sustainability of human environments


Potsdam Summer School Explores the Future of Cities

The rapid pace of change around the world is presenting humankind and human environments with tremendous challenges. What solutions and strategies can we employ to future-proof our cities in the age of climate change? Experts from 30 countries will meet to discuss these issues with leading sustainability researchers at the 2017 Potsdam Summer School on 4 – 13 September. Their findings will be presented to the public in a memorandum on 13 September.

From rising temperatures to ocean acidification and biodiversity loss, changes in the natural environment are having a massive impact on the futures of billions of people worldwide. The latest edition of the Potsdam Summer School will explore potential solutions to enhance the sustainability of human environments in a rapidly changing world.

Over the course of ten days, talented early-career researchers and young professionals will meet to discuss the challenges of the future. How can energy and transportation systems, water supply networks, and land use practices be adapted to address the impacts of population growth, climate change, and other mega-trends as well as delivering on the promise of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development? Developing viable solutions to these complex challenges requires diverse perspectives and knowledge that is grounded in experience.

Addressing global challenges through diverse perspectives

Selected from a pool of over three hundred and fifty applicants, Potsdam Summer School’s 42 participants are aged 25 – 45 years and come from diverse professional backgrounds and parts of the world. Bringing together a broad spectrum of knowledge, the participants will meet in Potsdam with leading international researchers in the field of sustainability to develop strategies for the future of human environments.

On 8 September, the Summer School participants will visit the garden-city borough of Drewitz in Potsdam, a local example of sustainable urban development. Journalists are invited to join this excursion between 2 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. (please register as slots are limited). On 13 September, the participants will present a memorandum detailing the findings of the 2017 Potsdam Summer School.

The fourth edition of the Potsdam Summer School is organised by the Alfred Wegener Institute – Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), the Helmholtz-Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), and the University of Potsdam in cooperation with the Capital City Potsdam.

Press representatives wishing to arrange an interview are kindly asked to contact:

Eva Söderman / Anja Krieger
Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)
Tel. +49 (0)331 288 22-340/479
E-Mail: /

Jonas Viering / Mareike Schodder
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Tel. +49 (0)331-288 2507

Josef Zens
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
Tel. +49 (0)331-288 1040

Folke Mehrtens
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI)
Tel. +49 (0)471-4831 2007

Silke Engel
University of Potsdam
Tel. +49 (0)331-977 1665

Sigrid Sommer
Landeshauptstadt Potsdam
Tel. +49 (0)331-289 1270

Weitere Informationen:

Eva Söderman | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

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