Markus Leibenath

I was born and grew in the rural east of North Rhine-Westphalia, in a small town surrounded by fields and large beech forests on rolling hills. I started my professional education with a two-year apprenticeship and a diploma in landscape gardening. From 1988 to 1994 I studied landscape architecture, ecology and planning at Technische Universität München, including two terms as ‘special student’ at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

In 1995 and 1996 I worked as project officer in the branch office of a consulting firm for infrastructure and environment in Thuringia where I dealt with environmental impact assessments related to transport infrastructure projects. During this time I applied successfully for a PhD scholarship from Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt which allowed me to pursue doctoral studies at Technische Universität Berlin. As I was always interested in economics (and also more broadly in social sciences), I wrote my dissertation on the economic development of national park regions, based on a case study in the Müritz national park in Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania.

Since 2000 I am employed as researcher at the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) in Dresden. Occasionally I am also teaching at Dresden Technische Universität (giving seminars for master students). In my first years in the IOER I focused on European and transboundary spatial development, particularly in the Polish-German and Czech-German borderlands. Later on I had several projects on the coordination of ecological networks. Currently I am dealing with the governance and the social construction of landscapes in the context of renewable energies, especially wind power. To this end, I apply both post-structuralist and institutionalist theories.

Since 2011 I am functioning as one of two spokespersons of a network of German-speaking landscape researchers. The informal group goes by the name of “Arbeitskreis Landschaftsforschung” (, has an email list with almost 80 addresses, publishes a newsletter twice a year and is supposed to organize annually a transdisciplinary seminar.

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