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Human Geography

How the world’s human and material resources are developed within different societies is the classic core issue of human geography. The Department of Human Geography currently specialises in the research fields of economic geography, human ecology, cities, environments, landscapes and development geography.

Field work in Nigeria.

Research Fields

Economic geography is a central research field at the department. The optimal localisation of industry and services has generated important research questions. Current research focuses on innovation, competitiveness and regional development and makes important contributions to the understanding of how growth and welfare are produced. Economic geography is an internationally successful environment which, in cooperation with CIRCLE (Centre for Innovation, Research and Competence in the Learning Economy) conducts research into technology-driven growth patterns and crises, among other things. Other research specialisations seek to explain what makes regions specialise and how so-called clusters arise and fade. The research is put to practical use through the analysis of the possibilities of growth policy and of how individuals renew trades and regions through mobility on the labour market.

Human ecology studies how people’s cultural attitudes to nature affect and are affected by their society and means of subsistence. This requires an integrated approach which spans traditional boundaries between humanities, social sciences, natural science and engineering. Human ecology research in Lund has two main specialisations: global perspectives on how environmental problems and technological development are distributed, and cultural analysis perspectives on the use of resources and subsistence systems. The work has a strong international focus and is conducted in international research programmes on several continents.

Cities, environment, landscape focuses on research into the social, political, cultural and economic driving forces behind urbanisation, the spatial transformation of cities and change in the cultural landscape. The intensive urbanisation and an increasingly violent struggle for space within and around cities is an obvious focus for the department’s research and education. Political ecology and sustainability issues constitute an integral part of the research, in cooperation with LUCID (Centre for Integration of Social and Natural Dimensions of Sustainability), among others. The research into urban and rural development reaches across levels of scale from the local to the global and is therefore conducted within research teams in the Nordic area, the EU and around the world, mainly in Asia and in the USA.

Development geography has been a unique research profile for the department for decades. In close cooperation with sociologists, economic historians, agricultural economists and statisticians, agricultural and rural development have been the object of many studies and development projects, mainly in Africa, but also in Asia and Latin America. The central issues deal mainly with the opportunities for smallholders to grow their income through higher productivity and improved market conditions, while increasing their country’s food supply. Studies that were started in 2001 regularly follow the development of 4000 farming households in nine African countries. Other research within the profile is aimed at the food supply in African cities. Issues of distribution and spatial perspectives constitute the central framework for the research conducted at the department.


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