My Habilitation in Urban Ecology. The end of a long, long journey

On the 23rd of June 2021, I gave my habilitation lecture putting an end to a very long process of academic qualification. The habilitation in Germany is the academic degree (a sort of doctorate of a doctorate) required to become a professor. Officially the title is Privat Dozent (PD) and is mandatory for those willing to take a seat as a professor in a German, Swiss or Austrian University. The habilitation procedure is long and hard, lasting for several years where high-level postdoctoral training is required, with evidence of peer-reviewed publications, lecturing and conference presentations. The formal requirement is the presentation of a thesis (monograph or cumulative) and a lecture on a particular topic not contained in the thesis, followed by a colloquium where university members ask several questions to test the teaching ability of the candidate. I did a cumulative thesis gathering together 13 articles around a central core idea that is framing my transdisciplinary expertise. Wisely advised by my mentor Prof. Dr. Harald Zepp, I have chosen Urban Ecology (Stadtökologie) as my venia legendi, the subject that I love and now I am allowed to teach.

Receiving the habilitation certificates with the Dean (rigth) and my mentor (left).

My thesis was approved by the faculty by unanimity and was informed by two internationally renowned scholars, plus the positive review of my mentor. I am happy and proud of such a thesis, especially because I never thought I will write another one after my PhD. It gave me the opportunity to profoundly reflect upon the last several years of research around a common question and understanding, from which I have formed a new approach to my own research. Here is the resume and index. I am happy to share the full text if somebody is interested to have a look.

Biomass and technomass are highly entangled at all scales. There is nothing unnatural about New York city.