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Grit Bürgow

Grit Bürgow


  • RLS-year 2008
  • Dissertation view

CV from Grit Bürgow

Grit Bürgow

Grit Buergow is a certified engineer for landscape planning.

She studied from 1992-1998 at the Technical University of Berlin focusing on sustainable landscape design and urban design, system ecology, and resource management.

After a 6-month internship in the Grand Canyon National Park in 1994/95, she specialized in regenerative water strategies for buildings, settlements, and catchment areas. Along with successfully completing her Master's degree, she was awarded an EU scholarship from the LEONARDO DA VINCI program in 1998/99 to undergo practical training in ecological engineering at the Stensund Ecological Centre in Sweden – the European pilot greenhouse aquaculture for productive wastewater resource management. From 1999 to 2001, she honed her expertise in ecological engineering, ecological design, and project management while working in architecture and planning offices in the U.S.A., Switzerland, and Germany. In 2002, she founded aquatectura®, her own professional studio network, and developed the design concept "aquatecture" to supplement solar architecture. Grit Buergow is on the board of directors of the International Ecological Engineering Society (IEES) and has national and international project management experience.

Short description of the doctoral thesis:

Urban Aquaculture as blue-green Infrastructure

- Case Studies for a regenerative Urban Landscape Transformation

Background: Today, more than half of the 6.8 billion world population live in urban areas and megacities. In 2050, this figure will reach two thirds of the forecasted 9.2 billion global population. While global population growth takes place almost up to 99% in southern countries, Germany will see a decline of 11 million people due to demographic changes. The combination of declining population rates in peripheral regions and growth in urban areas, metropolitans, and megacities places new global and local demands on designing, managing, and financing networked energy and water infrastructures, in particular.

Furthermore, the security of supply in terms of daily needs is a hot topic not only in megacities, such as Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, or Calcutta, but also in metropolitans such as Berlin. It raises the question: How can a basic urban supply (energy, water, food) and urban quality of life (recreation, culture, education) be designed and guaranteed in a in a mutually beneficial fashion?

Need: Since the end of the 20th century, aquaculture has been the sector of agriculture with the largest economic growth. Nowadays, every third fish consumed worldwide originates from ponds, net enclosures, tank arrangements, or mussel ropes. Industrialized aquacultures are associated with considerable risks or environmental impacts, such as eutrophication of natural water bodies, hormone loads, or the clearing of mangrove woods. Hence, the potentials of integrated aquacultures with partly ancient management traditions – for example, Asian polycultures, or sustainable aquacultures in Central and Eastern Europe – are hardly used nor well-known in high-tech countries, such as Germany.

Theses: In contrast to the associated effects, aquacultures can be designed and managed in a regenerative manner for the continual renewal of vital resources, processes, and qualities. In the context of the sustainability megatrends, such as climate change and security of supply, resource scarcity, demographic change, lack of freshwater and desertification, aquacultures can generate a regenerative added-value. In addition, they can also constitute a key module for providing urban public utilities and public services, risk management, and a comprehensive quality of life.

Aim: Referring to the concept of ecosystem services, the PHD aims to examine the regenerative capabilities of urban aquacultures as "blue-green infrastructures" for a solar resource management and risk provisioning. The explorative and applied research will focus on different aquaculture types for various purposes, whose application and possibilities are also used in the metropolitan area of Berlin. Furthermore, urban quality of life, recreation, and applied education issues are to be considered, while bridging them into the creative design tasks of open space planning in urban watersheds.

Result: The thesis intends to facilitate a south-to-north and east-to-west dialogue and transfer of knowledge for a common "learning-from-process". Cultural historical traditions and contemporary knowledge can contribute to developing a sustainable cityscape in metropolitan and mega-urban spaces.

The thesis will be overseen by Prof. Dr. Stefan Heiland, Institute of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, Department of Landscape Planning and Landscape development at the Technical University of Berlin.


Urban Aquaculture
Water-sensitive transformation of cityscapes via blue-green infrastructures

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