De la ciencia, las ciudades, los animales y otras cosas. Conversando con Rodrigo Bravo

Esta semana tuve el gran placer de conversar con mi amigo (personal 🙂 ) Rodrigo Bravo, que conduce un entretenido programa de entrevistas a expatriados, gente que comparte la experiencia de haber dejado su pais natal y haber comenzado una vida en el extranjero. Pudimos tocar algunos temas interesantes, conversar de cosas mas personales y tambien algunas reflexiones de la vida cotidiana. Hubo varios temas que me hubiera gustado compartir, como mi fascinacion con la filosofia epicura y porque creo que es fundamental para nuestro futuro, el alto excepticismo y pensamiento critico que guia mi vida o la coherencia que …

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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.

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Metabolism & Urbanisation? New publication in Cities

I put my bet into scientific integration, conceptual and operational tunning, transdisciplinary integration, rather than compartmentalization of knowledge. I have been for long trying to integrate urban metabolism with urbanisation research, using a materialistic – i.e. technomass based – approach. This last piece, of which we are very happy, is an attempt in that direction. It provides a path to understand not only how urbanisation might arise from the metabolism of the urban ecosystem, but also showcase how this is rather a planetary process, highly hierarchically organised. I am always happy to share a copy, just write me an email.

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¿Que son, realmente, los servicios ecosistemicos?

Aun cuando en general siempre estoy atento siguiendo la investigacion que se hace en Latino America, y en idioma castellano en general, este año puse un poco mas de interes en ver que es lo “que hay alli afuera” en materia de servicios ecosistemicos, esta vez poniendo mas atencion a los canales sociales de diseminacion del conocimiento, como blogs y youtube. A decir verdad quede sorprendido por el nivel de desinformacion y confusion conceptual que encontre. Es cierto que el concepto de servicios ecosistemicos despierta incomodidades no solo en nuestra lengua castellana, lo he presenciado muchas veces, tambien es cierto …

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The Homogenization of cities in the world

Regardless of location, culture and even size, cities in the world depict similar trends in terms of the evolution of their spatial structure in time. As surprising as this statement might sound, we have recently compiled empirical evidence analyzing a sample of 194 cities over 25 years span, from 1990 until 2015. The article was published last week in Landscape and Urban Planning. I would be happy to share a copy with anybody interested to read. That cities are homogenizing is not surprising in urban ecology. Is almost common sense that we can find the same species of birds, small …

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