Dr Hartmut Fünfgeld is an Associate Professor in Sustainability and Urban Planning. Hartmut leads transdisciplinary social research on climate change impacts and adaptation processes.
Hartmut has ten years of experience in academic research, consulting and practice on climate change and sustainability with international governmental and non-governmental organisations. He has a PhD in human geography from the University of Heidelberg, Germany.
Through applied research and teaching, Hartmut is keen to collaboratively develop new knowledge and practical solutions for the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems, in particular with regard to climate change and other processes of global environmental change. To achieve this, he works in collaboration with partners in Australia and overseas. Hartmut has co-developed decision-support tools to help organisations adapt to climate change; he regularly collaborates with government, industry and the not-for-profit sector in developing new processes and methods to respond to the challenges posed by climate change.
Hartmut’s research interests cover the following topics:
- Framing of environmental and climate change policy
- Climate risk management
- Urban and regional climate justice
- Local and regional resilience and adaptation planning
- Organisational change to address complex policy challenges
- Social resilience concepts and their application
In teaching, Hartmut emphasises hands-on, active learning that combines theoretical thinking with practical applications in real-world contexts.
From 2013 to 2014, Hartmut was Acting Director of the newly established Centre for Urban Research in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, where he continues to lead and contribute to research projects. Since 2015, he is a tenured academic staff member in Sustainability and Urban Planning.
View Hartmut's profile to follow him or find out more about his research projects and publications:
Hartmut studies social and institutional responses to climate change in urban and regional areas and develops tools and processes that enable individual and organisational learning and change for climate change adaptation. He has a keen interest in gaining a better understanding of the social and equity implications of climate change.
Current research projects:
- Building resilience through translocality – Subproject 7: Translocal resilience toolkit, funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). This subproject of the TransRe project will develop a toolkit for supporting translocal social resilience building for the local governments and NGOs working on community-based adaptation. The toolkit will be developed in close collaboration with the IOM, partner NGOs and local governments in Thailand, in order to guide government officials, decision-makers and practitioners in devising actions to support social resilience-building in the context of migration and climate change.
- Disaster Risk and Resilience Planning for Community Health and Human Services Agencies, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services. Scientific support and reviewing of a new disaster risk planning approach, developed under the project “Implementing tools to increase adaptive capacity in the community and natural resource management” (see below).
- How well are we adapting?, in collaboration with the City of Wyndham and the Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action. Co-Chief Investigator: Dr Susie Moloney, RMIT. Research and development of: (a) a framework to monitor, evaluate and report on councils’ climate adaptation performance in key services, including a set of tested performance indicators, and (b) best-practice tools for reporting to the community on climate adaptation performance.
Completed research projects (selection):
- Enabling East Gippsland Councils to Integrate Climate Risk and Adaptation in Local & Regional Strategies (2015-16). Developing a regional framework for considering climate change impacts and adaptation options across a group of six regional local governments, led by East Gippsland Shire Council. The six local governments are located in the far south-east of Australia, one of the global climate change hot spots. RMIT’s core tasks are to review current literature on adaptation planning and integration in multi-level governance contexts, providing strategic advice, and monitoring and evaluating the project’s success. Funder: Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership (Victorian Government).
- Enhancing Networks 4 Resilience (2015-16). Funding supported Southern Grampians Glenelg Primary Care Partnership (SGGPCP), in collaboration with RMIT University, to examine how partnerships and networks contribute to disaster resilience outcomes. Specifically the project examined: Types of relationships between SGGPCP partner agencies; enablers and barriers to relationships and collaboration in the SGGPCP; disaster resilience benefits from collaboration to partner agencies, the SGGPCP, and the community; future aspirations for the SGGPCP network. Funder: National Disaster Resilience Grant Scheme
- Evaluating East Gippsland's Adaptation for Recovery Program, Stages 1 and 2 (2015-16): A strengths-based approach was implemented by a local council in regional Victoria after a devastating fire, as a recovery methodology. This project evaluated the effectiveness of the model used in a recovery situation. Funder: East Gippsland Shire Council.
- Increasing resilience of vulnerable rural communities to climate variability and change (2014-15), in collaboration with Southern Grampians Shire Council and the Southern Grampians and Glenelg Primary Care Partnership. This project investigates means to increase capacity of vulnerable rural populations in Victoria to better plan for the impacts of climate variability and change, which are already having ramifications on human health and many indirect social and economic consequences. Funder: Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership (Victorian Government).
- Embedding Adaptation: Understanding support context for embedding climate change adaptation in Councils (2013-15). Using the Climate Change Adaptation Toolkit developed by RMIT University in collaboration with the City of Greater Geelong and Net Balance as part of a previous project, this study investigated the support context requirements for implementing the Toolkit and for embedding climate change considerations across local Government operations. Funder: City of Greater Geelong & Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership (Victorian Government).
- Implementing tools to increase adaptive capacity in the community and natural resource management sectors (2012-14). The aim of this major project was to undertake a systematic empirical analysis of the capacity for climate change adaptation in community service and catchment management organisations in the state of Victoria. Project outputs included two reviews of literature and institutional context; five case study reports; and a final report on engaging the community sector in climate change adaptation (available from the project website: http://www.vcccar.org.au/implementing-tools-to-increase-adaptive-capacity-in-community-and-natural-resource-management). The project produced a framework and approach for facilitating climate change adaptation in the community services sector, which the Victorian Government has adopted as part of a state-wide adaptation and resilience planning project targeting 120 community service organisations.
In addition, Hartmut regularly provides advisory and review services on climate change and sustainability planning.
He also regularly acts as a peer-reviewer for academic journals including Global Environmental Change; Environmental Policy and Governance; Environment & Planning C: Government and Policy; Environmental Politics, Climate Policy; Disasters; Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability; Landscape and Urban Planning; Sustainability; Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension; and the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.
Hartmut is an Honorary Fellow with the Melbourne School of Land and Environment at the University of Melbourne.
- Climate change adaptation
- Climate change impacts
- Urban and regional sustainability planning
- Social vulnerability studies
- Environmental and climate justice
- Local government and urban planning
- Cert MH Risk Assessment Twente (Netherlands)
- DipMan RMIT
- DipGeogr, Dr Phil Heidelberg (Germany)
Industry experience and accomplishments
- Research, consulting and applied work on urban sustainability planning and climate change responses in the public sector.
- Lead roles in developing processes and tools for organisational climate change adaptation.
- Led the development of a pioneering local government capacity building program on climate change adaptation at ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability Oceania.
- Delivered research, training and advisory services to UN Habitat, UN ISDR, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Rockefeller Foundation and other international organisations.
- PhD in human geography. Dissertation on the impacts of political violence on social vulnerability and natural resource management institutions in war-affected northeastern Sri Lanka. Field work in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka.
- Practical experience in participatory research methods, including social learning approaches.
- Country experience: Germany and other EU countries, Australia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Zambia, Ghana.
- Institute of Australian Geographers
- Association of Geographers at German Universities (VGDH)
- Heidelberg Geographical Society, Germany
- Mulligan, M.,Steele, W.,Rickards, L.,Fuenfgeld, H. (2016). Keywords in planning: what do we mean by 'community resilience'? In: International Planning Studies, 21, 348 - 361
- Turner, S.,Moloney, S.,Glover, A.,Fuenfgeld, H. (2016). Strategies for embedding climate change adaptation in public sector organisations: A Review of the Academic and Grey Literature In: City of Greater Geelong Melbourne, Australia
- Fuenfgeld, H. (2015). Facilitating local climate change adaptation through transnational municipal networks In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 12, 67 - 73
- Preston, B.,Rickards, L.,Fuenfgeld, H.,Keenan, R. (2015). Toward reflexive climate adaptation research In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 14, 127 - 135
- Steele, W.,Mata, L.,Fuenfgeld, H. (2015). Urban climate justice: creating sustainable pathways for humans and other species In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 14, 121 - 126
- Moloney, S.,Fuenfgeld, H. (2015). Emergent processes of adaptive capacity building: Local government climate change alliances and networks in Melbourne In: Urban Climate, 14, 30 - 40
- Rance, A.,Fuenfgeld, H.,Brown, J. (2015). Building blocks of rural community resilience. Rural People; Resilient Futures Pilot Project Final Report In: Southern Grampians and Glenelg Primary Care Partnership Melbourne, Australia
- Rickards, L.,Ison, R.,Fuenfgeld, H.,Wiseman, J. (2014). Opening and closing the future: climate change, adaptation, and scenario planning In: Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 32, 587 - 602
- Moloney, S.,Turner, S.,Glover, A.,Fuenfgeld, H. (2014). A Review of the Monitoring and Evaluation Literature for Climate Change Adaptation In: Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action (WAGA) and the Victorian Government Melbourne, Australia
- Fuenfgeld, H.,Bosomworth, K.,Millin, S.,Wallis, P.,Rance, A. (2014). Adaptation planning for community service organisations and primary care partnerships: policy guidance for state government In: Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Research (VCCCAR) Melbourne, Australia
- Balmoral Fire Connect - CFA Summer Fire Safety Initiative 2016/17 - Grant (Administered by: The Western District Health Service). Funded by: CFA Fire Safety Local Initiative 2016/17 - Grant from (2017 to 2017)
- Enabling Adaptation Action for Vulnerable Rural Persons. Funded by: Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership (VASP) Grant 2014 from (2014 to 2015)
- Implementing tools to increase adaptive capacity in the community and natural resource management sectors. Funded by: Department of Sustainability and Environment Victoria Research Grant from (2012 to 2013)
2 PhD Current Supervisions and 1 Masters by Research Current Supervisions