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Dynamics and Forms of Global Urbanisation

Hannes Taubenböck
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)

The largest migratory movement ever undertaken by humanity is in full progress. The direction of the population flow is from rural to urban regions. New metropolises emerge almost every day and existing cities are merging to form megacities with more than 80 million inhabitants. Remaining open spaces are seized by sprawling slums. Although humanity has reached the Information Age, there is a major knowledge gap regarding these urban phenomena.

In his lecture, Hannes Taubenböck from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) will illustrate the physical transformations of urban landscapes from a bird’s-eye view, using remote sensing data from space. The analysis of satellite data is a useful tool to document escalating urban growth in a global comparison, identifying the development and dimensions of megaregions and even pinpointing areas of urban poverty. The lecture will furthermore show how existing knowledge gaps can be closed with the help of Big Earth Data to make the impact of urbanisation processes on our planet tangible.

Dr. Hannes Taubenböck heads a working group at the DLR’s Earth Observation Center focused on global cities and urban populations. He is also a lecturer at the Institute of Geography at the University of Würzburg. Fascinated by the view from outer space – a view from a distance that can provide valuable insights – he works on documenting and understanding the increasingly dynamic urban transformation processes on our planet. 

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport, digitisation and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. In addition to its own research, as Germany’s space agency, DLR has been given responsibility by the federal government for the planning and implementation of the German space programme.

Lecture in German