CFAES Give Today

Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics


Professor Elena Irwin Participates in “Rethinking Global Land Use in an Urban Era” at the Ernst Strüngmann Forum in Frankfurt, Germany

Sep. 25, 2012

AEDE Professor
Elena Irwin
Photo Credit: AEDE
As reported by the United Nations, by 2050, the world population is expected to increase by 2.3 billion and most of these new inhabitants will reside in urban areas. Land use, locally, regionally and globally, is rapidly changing due to the growing urbanization of the world, the emergence of new land use agents and the growing interconnectedness of the world economy. Over the past few decades, land change science, which studies the dynamics of land use, has emerged as a fundamental field, important to the study of global environmental change and sustainability. However, much work remains to be done to fully understand how land use dynamics can be used to proactively encourage sustainable development in the coming years. 

AEDE Professor Elena Irwin, who specializes in land use economics and human-natural systems, remains an important voice in the academic discussion of land use dynamics. As such, from September 23-28, 2012, Irwin is participating in a high-level discussion focused on “Rethinking Global Land Use in an Urban Era” in Frankfurt, Germany organized by the Ernst Strüngmann Forum.
“Rethinking Global Land Use in an Urban Era” includes over 40 leading international scholars from the natural and social science realms, as well as from various policy and practice communities. Through the Forum, the researchers are given an opportunity to discuss and develop future visions for land use research. The Forum aims to give researchers space to engage on the following topics:
  • Understand the growing competition for access to, and the use of, productive land given finite land resources;
  • Identify the new forms of distal land connection in the 21st century and their implications for global land use and society;
  • Identify the effects of increasing global land connections and competition on local land use decisions and emergent global land governance;
  • Identify new agents and practices in global land use; and
  • Make explicit the normative evaluations (efficiency, equity, justice, etc.) as applied to land use.
“Rethinking Global Land Use in an Urban Era” divides its participants into four discussion groups; these groups focus on a particular theme each: finite land resources and competition; distal land connections; decision-making, governance and institutions; and reconceptualizing urban land use. Discussion amongst groups and cross-fertilization of ideas during the course of the week-long event are greatly encouraged. Irwin was chosen by the Forum’s steering committee specifically for her participation in the group focused on finite land resources and competition due to her extensive research in this field.
The Ernst Strüngmann Forum is dedicated to the promotion of interdisciplinary communication and research. The meetings hosted by the organization, which focus on topics as diverse as cultural evolution to disease eradication, provide a creative environment where top international scientists and thinkers are able to engage on topics that transcend classical disciplinary boundaries. The output of each Forum meeting is a book published by MIT press, which is generally published approximately one year after a Forum meets.
September 25, 2012