Prof. Dr. Timo von Wirth

Professorship for Sustainability

Prof. Dr.
Timo von Wirth
Professur für Nachhaltigkeit
Building HoST, Room B03 319

Office hours

During lecture period:

Non-lecture period:

Tuesdays, 10:00 – 11:30 am by appointment via email

by appointment via email

Focus topics in Research and Teaching

  • Spatial Transformation & Justice
  • Dynamics of societal change
  • Governance of sustainability transitions and multi-level interactions
  • Transformative innovation and experimentation
  • Circular economy, postgrowth and commons economy
  • Foresight, Scenarios, future narratives.
  • Participation, Co-creation and transdisciplinary process design
  • Senses of place, attachment and land use conflicts.

Sektors: Mobility, Housing, Energy, Agrifood.



Prof. Dr. Timo von Wirth is Professor for Sustainability at Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences and professorial member of the Research Lab for Urban Transport (ReLUT). He also serves as Adjunct Professor with the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT) and the Erasmus School for Social and Behavioral Sciences at Erasmus-University Rotterdam, Netherlands. He is also currently a Research fellow with the Centre for Sustainability Transitions at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

His research, teaching and societal engagement focus on the Governance and dynamics of societal change towards sustainable futures across different sectors and geographies. Urban transformations with a focus on quality of life, mobility transitions and different novel forms of experimental governance in cities have been a constant topic. Previous work has also covered acceptance and legitimacy of technological innovation in the energy sector and for a circular economy as well as research on the historical path dependencies of regime stability in the agri-food sector. Research and teaching follow an interdisciplinary approach and include working with multiple theories and methods from Human Geography, Sociology, Transition studies, Sustainability Science, Planning studies and Environmental Economics. Most recent research starts to address the transformative capacities, the generative role of trust and conflict in sustainability transitions and Transformational Leadership.



Selected key publications

Caniglia, G., Freeth, R., Luederitz, C., Leventon, J., West, S. P., John, B., ..., von Wirth, T., Schlüter, M. & Vogel, C. (2023). Practical wisdom and virtue ethics for knowledge co-production in sustainability science. Nature Sustainability, 1-9.

Ryghaug, M., Subotički, I., Smeds, E., von Wirth, T., (…) Schwanen, T., Tuvikene, T., & Alexander Wentland (2023) A Social Sciences and Humanities research agenda for transport and mobility in Europe: key themes and 100 research questions, Transport Reviews

Hebinck, A., Diercks, G., von Wirth, T. et al. (2022) An actionable understanding of societal transitions: the X-curve framework. Sustainability Science 17, 1009–1021 (2022).

Torrens, J., & von Wirth, T. (2021). Experimentation or projectification of urban change? A critical appraisal and three steps forward. Urban Transformations, 3(1), 1-17.

Caniglia G., Luederitz C., von Wirth T., Fazey I., Martin-Lopez B., Hondrilla K., Koenig A., von Wehrden H., Schaepke N., Lang D. (2020) A pluralistic and integrated approach to action-oriented knowledge for sustainability. Nature Sustainability,1-8.

von Wirth, T., Fuenfschilling, L., Frantzeskaki, N., & Coenen, L. (2019). Impacts of urban living labs on sustainability transitions: Mechanisms and strategies for systemic change through experimentation. European Planning Studies, 27(2), 229-257;

von Wirth, T., Grêt-Regamey, A., Stauffacher, M. (2015). Mediating effects between objective and subjective indicators of urban quality of life: testing specific models for safety and access. Social Indicators Research, 120, 189-210,

von Wirth, T., Hayek, U. W., Kunze, A., Neuenschwander, N., Stauffacher, M., & Scholz, R. W. (2014). Identifying urban transformation dynamics: Functional use of scenario techniques to integrate knowledge from science and practice. Technological forecasting and social change, 89, 115-130.


Recent book release:

Raymond, C. M., Manzo, L. C., Williams, D. R., Di Masso, A., & von Wirth, T. (Eds.). (2021) Changing senses of place: Navigating global challenges. Cambridge University Press.

List of publications

For a detailed list of publications, please visit the following databases:

Profile in Google Scholar

Profile in Researchgate

Engagement in the Scientific Community

Serving as scientific reviewer for the following Journals:

Land Use Policy, Landscape & Urban Planning, Sustainable Cities and Society, Urban Transformations, Energy Research & Social Science, Technological Forecasting & Social Change, Journal of Cleaner Production, Environmental Innovation & Societal Transitions, Journal of Happiness Studies, Futures, GAIA, Sustainability, Environmental Science & Policy, European Planning Studies, a.o.

Selected memberships and committee engagements:

  • Member of the International Research Network ‚Foresight for Food (F4F), led by the Environmental Change Institute (ECI) at University of Oxford, UK
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the BMBF-research group “MoveMe - Die sozio-räumliche Transformation zu nachhaltigem Mobilitätsverhalten at Technical University Dortmund
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Intl. research project CO-CARBON led by Prof. Christopher Raymond, University of Helsinki, HELSUS, Finland.
  • Member of the Steering Board for the International PostDoc-Academy for Transformational Leadership, funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation.
  • Member of the international expert group invited by the German Science and Humanities Council (Deutscher Wissenschaftsrat) for thedevelopment of guiding perspectives for German Agro-Food research (until 12/2022)


Winter term 2023 / 2024

--- to be updated soon ---

Final theses and PhD supervision

Topics and supervision of Bachelor and Master theses

The topics of Bachelor's and Master's theses should generally match the research focus of my Professorship. In addition to thesis topics that may be announced, students are welcome to propose their own topics via email anytime.

Please note that before discussing the possible supervision of a thesis, interested students should familiarize themselves with the chosen topic and the relevant literature, as well as prepare a short expose (1 page DIN A4), including an outline and a time schedule for the thesis work. A prerequisite for a successful application is also the participation in the "Research Methodology Workshop" of Department 3 or a comparable event. It is recommended to apply at least two months prior to the start of your thesis.

PhD studies / Dissertations

Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences has the right to grant doctoral degrees for example in the Center for Doctoral studies in Mobility & Logistics. I am happy to supervise your PhD thesis, if you are interested to conducting ambitious and impact-oriented research, please contact me.

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last updated on: 10.25.2023