Planetary Urbanisation and the Challenge of Sustainable Development

Thursday, 13. September 2012 | 8:30 Uhr


Christian Schmid


ETH Zurich


Professor Christian Schmid from ETH Zurich addressed the development and supply of analytical and empirical fundamentals regarding buildings and societal development. Population density maps created by ETH Basel show that urbanization took place mainly in rural areas during the past years. Wilderness does not exist anymore – the Amazon region is inhabited, so are the Alps and the de-serts. In order to better understand urbanization and related processes, comparative analyses have been conducted that showed the pattern of urbanization, for example in Naples. Nature is an im-portant factor for urbanization; the knowledge, however, that the volcano might erupt and destroy a lot was not taken into account. The city surrounds the volcano. Half a million of people live in the dangerous area. If the volcano erupts, the inhabitants would have to escape within twelve hours. But with the developments of the city, they would need two to three days to be evacuated. Urbanization gives rise to a second nature. However, the first nature is moving; the second is stable and con-structed. The first nature is not respected. Schmid‘s analyses show an urbanization pattern that dif-fers from city to city. It becomes clear, for example, that Switzerland is totally urbanized – it is only an issue of definition.

Christian Schmid

Since 2004 co-director of the research project “SeDUT” (La Havanna – transport and sustainable urban development)

Since 2001 lecturer for sociology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Departement of Architecture.

Since 1999 scientific researcher at the ETH Studio Basel, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Departement of Architecture. Scientific director of the research project “Die Schweiz – ein städtebauliches Portrait” at ETH Studio Basel.

PhD at the Institute of Geography of the University of Jena: “Stadt, Raum und Gesellschaft – Henri Lefebvre und die Theorie der Produktion des Raumes” (city, space and society – Henri Lefebvre and the theory of the production of space).

Scientific assistant at the Institute of Geography, University of Berne, Department of Economic Geography and Regional Studies, 1997- 2001.

Scientific assistent at the chair of Natural and Social Science Interface (NSSI), Department of Environmental Sciences, ETH Zurich, 1996 -1997.

Interdisciplinary research project “La ville: villes de crise ou crise des villes”, Institute of Architecture of the University of, 1995–1996.

Fellowship at the Laboratoire de Géographie Urbaine, Université Paris X Nanterre, 1993–1994.

Comparative research on urban development in Frankfurt and Zurich. 1995

Research project “Stadt- und Transportoptimierung” (optimizing urban development and public transport), 1992.

“Zürich ohne Grenzen”: organisation of a two-term series of lectures on urban development at ETH Zurich. Co-editor of the book “Zürich ohne Grenzen”, pendo, Zürich, 1986 (with T. Ginsburg, H. Hitz und R. Wolff).

Scientific project “Theorien zur Stadtentwicklung”, GHM, Oldenburg, 1996 (theories of urban develoment) (with R. Hartmann, H. Hitz, R. Wolff).

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