Matthew Gandy in Berlin
Support from Humboldt Foundation and Marie-Curie Fellowship
Professor Matthew Gandy is currently a visiting professor at the Institute of Ecology (IfÖ) at Berlin’s Technical University. His work there, supported by the Humboldt Foundation, focuses on the history of urban nature in Berlin with particular emphasis on the former West Berlin. The IfÖ was founded by Professor Herbert Sukopp in 1972 and is one of the world’s leading centres for the study of urban nature. As part of his research Matthew has been interviewing Berlin scientists including Herbert Sukopp, Ludwig Trepl and other leading figures in urban environmental research. A key focus has been the unusual ecology of wastelands, including “rubble sites” and other marginal spaces within the post-war “island city” of West Berlin.
Matthew has also been awarded a two-year Marie-Curie Fellowship, jointly funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation and the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme. This will be held from July 2013 at the University of the Arts in Berlin, to work on a project: “Zoöpolis: cultural and historical aspects of urban wastelands”. Using Berlin as an empirical and intellectual starting point the project will explore the changing meaning and significance of urban nature with particular emphasis on the post-war era.
Potsdamerstraß study site of the IfÖ in 1968. Photograph by Ursula Hennig