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Rurbane Nahrungswelten

Rurbane Nahrungswelten

Land neu denken im Zuge der Transformation der Lebensmittelversorgung durch neue digitale Technologien

Funding authority: Steiermärkische Landesregierung, Referat für Wissenschaft und Forschung

Funding: 99.961,- Euro

Period: 34 Monate: 01/2019 – 10/2021

Lead: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ulrich Ermann

PhD Cand.: Mag. Ernst Michael Preininger, Annalisa Colombino PhD

Supervisor: ulrich.ermann(at)uni-graz.at


  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. phil. Lukas Meyer (KF Uni Graz, Institut für Philosophie)
  • Ass.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Alexander Bauer (BOKU Wien, Institut für Landtechnik)
  • Prof. Dr. Marc Redepenning (Universität Bamberg, Institut für Geographie)
  • Prof. Dr. Roberta Sonnino (Cardiff University, School of Geography and Planning)
  • Dipl.-Ing. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. techn. Gerald Kelz (AMSD – Advanced Mechatronik System Development KG, Praxispartner)


The focus of our research project is the potential role of non-traditional, digital technologies in the value chain of food production, distribution and consumption in Styria and to which extent they could influence the transformation and emergence of new forms and structures of “rural” life. Defined areas of research activities are “Thermen- und Vulkanland”, “Murtal” and the urban area of Graz city.

For many years now in international literature in Human Geography, observations indicate that most rural areas are subject to fundamental change. Terms such as “rurality” and “provincialism” are losing their specific meanings and in a formal way, “urban” and “rural” cannot be distinguished objectively anymore, or probably could not ever be at all. Therefore, specific semantics of spaces suggest we call these areas “rurban”. Implementation of new digital technologies in the agrarian sector could contribute to speed up these developments and/or lead to more specification of whole regions and be the reason for new developments in rural-urban and central-peripheral relations of food systems.

Quite intentionally, our project is located at (and crossing) the disciplinary boarders of Human Geography, philosophy and technology to support a multi-level research approach consisting of qualitative methods, technological analysis and personal reflections of local actors. We will organize public events in every area of research to discuss questions of “rural” and “urban” identities as well as future visions.

The outcomes of our project aim to expand scientific knowledge of future food systems under influence of new digital technologies and to show ways of peripheral, rural/rurban areas apart from desolation or uncontrolled/unrestricted developments as well as for future relations in local food systems and Technology Impact Research.


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