Field of Work
One focus of Prof. Birkmann's work is the analysis of the resilience of spaces, infrastructures and social groups to extreme events. In addition to issues of regional planning and spatial governance, he has conducted research in recent years particularly on the complex of topics related to vulnerability and risk research and adaptation to climate change. He is the coordinating lead author for the 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which was presented to governments in March 2022. Together with Prof. Holger Schüttrumpf of RWTH Aachen University, he is currently coordinating scientific support for reconstruction following the floods in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate in a BMBF project.
Birkmann's research projects include new methods for dealing with the challenges of social change and environmental change in selected regions and cities of the global North and South. In current research projects, for example, he is investigating the resilience and adaptive capacities of cities to heavy precipitation and heat stress, as well as spatial development trends in Baden-Württemberg, among other places.
Jörn Birkmann, born in Bielefeld in 1972, studied regional planning at the University of Dortmund. He obtained his doctorate on the topic of "Monitoring Sustainable Spatial Development", “Monitoring sustainable regional development”, for which he won the dissertation award of the University of Dortmund. From 2004 to 2014, Birkmann worked at the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University, which is headquartered in Tokyo. In 2009, Birkmann habilitated in geography at the University of Bonn, and in 2012/13 he held a substitute professorship at Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität in Munich.
Since October 2014, he has headed the Institute of Regional Development Planning (IREUS) at the University of Stuttgart. He is a full member of the Academy for Territorial Development (ARL) and coordinating lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
In 2020, the European Research Council awarded Birkmann one of the prestigious ERC Synergy Grants. His project, entitled "Coupling dynamic cities and climate" (urbisphere), investigates the dynamics and interactions between cities and urban development as well as climate and climate change.