Keynote Speakers


Nature-Based Solutions in Our Cities in the 21st Century – A Critical View of Existing Approaches and Novel Ideas of an Alternative Understanding

Dagmar Haase
Humboldt Universität, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Berlin, Germany
Dagmar Haase is a Professor in Urban Ecology and Urban Land Use Modelling. She holds a PhD from the Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg. Dagmar is a Professor at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany, and Guest Scientist at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ. Dagmar's main interest and activities are settled in the combination and integration of global urbanization modelling and the quantification and assessment of ecosystem services, disservices, green infrastructure and social-environmental justice issues in cities and urban areas including urban land teleconnections. She works at different spatial scales, from the global to the local and neighbourhood scale. Conceptually, Dagmar's Lab bases its work on the idea of emergence, resilience and sustainability of social-ecological coupled systems. Geographically, her focus areas are situated in Europe and in Russia. She is author of over 160 ISI-listed scientific publications. In 2010, Dagmar was fellow of the International Environmental Modelling & Software Society (iEMSs), in 2014, she received the AXA Award for research on "Resilient Cities". In 2016, Dagmar held the Honorary Wallenberg Professorship of the Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Peter Nijkamp is a Professor in Regional and Urban Economics and in Economic Geography at the Vrije University, Amsterdam. His main research interests cover quantitative plan evaluati­on, regional and urban modelling, multicriteria analysis, transport systems analysis, mathe­matical systems modelling, technological innovation, entrepreneurship, environmental and resource management, and sustainable development. In the past years he has focussed his research in particular on new quantitative methods for policy analysis, as well as on spatial-behavioural analysis of economic agents. He has a broad expertise in the area of public policy, services planning, infrastructu­re manage­ment and environmental protection. In all these fields he has publis­hed many books and numerous articles. He is member of editorial/advisory boards of more than 30 journals. He has been visiting professor in many universities all over the world. According to the RePec list he belongs to the top-20 of well-known economists world-wide. He is past president of the European Regional Science Association and of the Regional Science Association International. He is also fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences, and past vice-president of this organization. From 2002 – 2009 he has served as president of the governing board of the Netherlands Research Council (NWO). In addition, he is past president of the European Heads of Research Councils (EUROHORCs). He is also fellow of the Academia Europaea, and member of many international scientific organizations. He has acted regularly as advisor to (inter)national bodies and (local and national) governments. In 1996, he was awarded the most prestigious scientific prize in the Netherlands, the Spinoza award. At present, he is honorary university professor. Detailed information can be found on .

Peter Nijkamp
Vrije University
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Russell Galt
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Urban Alliance
Brussels, Belgium
Russell Galt is an Urban Ecologist and the Director of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Urban Alliance, Brussels – a broad coalition of partners concerned with urban dimensions of nature conservation. He considers access to a clean, safe and wildlife-rich environment to be a human right that requires special attention in cities. Russell holds an LLM in Natural Resources Law and Policy from the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee as well as a BSc (Hons) in Ecological Science from the University of Edinburgh. He has spent the past decade working internationally — from Brussels, Cape Town, Nairobi and Edinburgh — for IUCN, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the South African National Biodiversity Institute and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Dr. Weiqi Zhou is a Professor, and Deputy Director of the State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is also the Director of the Beijing Urban Ecosystem Research Station. Dr. Zhou got his Ph.D. from the University of Vermont. Before he joins the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, he was a postdoc fellow at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Zhou is broadly interested in urban and landscape ecology with respect to spatial heterogeneity of the landscape. He integrates field observations, remote sensing and modeling to understand the structure of urban socio-ecological systems, and its link to ecological function. He works across many disciplines including landscape ecology, urban ecology, remote sensing, and GIS, and interact with various collaborators from different fields through his involvement with various collaborative projects. The interdisciplinarity of his work has allowed him to develop innovative approaches and tools to better understanding the structure of urban socio-ecological systems, and its link to ecological function. Dr. Zhou serves as the editorial members for the journals: Landscape Ecology, Landscape and Urban Planning, Journal of Urban Ecology, Remote Sensing, and Ecosystem Health and Sustainability. He is a Co-Leader of the Urban Ecosystem Group of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and three books.

Weiqi Zhou
Professor of Urban Ecology State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology Beijing Urban Ecosystem Research Station, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences Chinese Academy of Sciences
Beijing, China

Rudolf de Groot
Wageningen University, the Netherlands
Ru(dolf) de Groot is Associate Professor in Integrated Ecosystem Assessment & Management with the Environmental Systems Analysis Group of Wageningen University, the Netherlands. He is a Landscape Ecologist by training and has worked for more than 35 years on the use of ecosystem services as a tool for sustainable environmental planning, management and decision making. De Groot was involved as Coordinating Lead Author in the UN-supported Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2001-2005) and in the global study on “The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity” (TEEB 2008-2010) (leading the Conceptual Framework chapter and the development of a database on monetary values of Ecosystem Services). From 2010-2018 he was Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal on “Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services and Management” (Taylor & Francis) and from January 2019 he is Editor-in-Chief of the Elsevier Journal “Ecosystem Services: Science, Policy & Practice”. He published numerous papers and since 2018 is listed among the top 1% most cited researchers on cross-disciplinary topics. Next to his scientific work he is passionate about the practical applications of the ecosystem services concept. He is among others Special Advisor on Ecosystem Services and Nature Based Solutions of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM), member of the Steering Committee of the UNEP International Resource Panel and Chair of the Ecosystem Services Partnership (, a worldwide network to enhance the science and practical application of ecosystem services assessment.

Ingo Kowarik is a Professor in Ecosystem Science and Plant Ecology at the Technische Universität Berlin, Germany. His main interests include a better understanding of the fascinating pattern of urban biodiversity and its underlying mechanisms, as well as interactions between humans and urban nature. Since the future of biodiversity is also decided in cities, Ingo Kowarik also works on the development and testing of new concepts for urban nature conservation - covering all urban land uses, including novel ecosystems. He was responsible for the development of the Berlin Biodiversity Strategy and also led the German TEEB study on ecosystem services in cities. Since 2002, Ingo Kowarik has also served as honorary state commissioner for nature conservation for the state of Berlin and has been involved in many urban development projects for a sustainable and biodiversity-friendly development of Berlin as a growing metropolis.

Ingo Kowarik
Professor in Ecosystem Science and Plant Ecology at the Technische Universität
Berlin, Germany