Transformation of cities and landscapes – Geoinformatics

Spatial inequalities: The societal challenges of urbanization
and rural transformations

We are experts in mapping, analysing and understanding the processes and drivers of the location and spatial distribution of social and economic activities, and how these processes create uneven geographies in metropolitan regions, cities and rural areas.

Photo Kent Pørksen

The built-up environments are continuously transforming. Examining urban regions, rural districts and urban-rural linkages, we see socioeconomic processes resulting in local or regional trajectories of growth and decline, socio-spatial inequalities and environmental challenges.

To understand why these processes take place, what societal challenges they bring, and how they are best dealt with, we need analyses that take time and space into account. In the research group Transformation of cities and landscapes – geoinformatics, we study the questions of why, what and how to generate new knowledge that is critical for planning of more economical, social and environmental sustainable and resilient societies.



We study urbanization processes and their societal and spatial consequences. We examine how and why metropolitan regions, cities and towns grow and transform. We focus the analyses on the spatial restructuring of industries and labour, new mobilities, socio-spatial inequalities and strategic urban planning to discuss the implications for urban resilience and to develop theory and methodologies. 

Spatial inequality

We examine the socioeconomic geography of inequality, i.e. the processes which are producing the uneven spatial distribution of, and accessibility to, socioeconomic resources such as income, employment, education and public spaces. We focus on the analyses and explanations of the processes that drive spatial inequality at different geographical scales and in various geographical contexts.

Governance, policy analysis and strategic planning

We study the implication and drivers of change in governance regimes and how changing governance regimes are reflected in policy development and planning processes. We analyse the processes at local to transnational scale, giving emphasis to relations between actors, and the implication of policy and strategic planning for the potential sustainability of future decision-making.

Rural transformation

We analyse the key drivers of rural transformation such as changing agricultural structures, climate change, rural-urban connections, social values as well as political and economic structures from local to global scale. We analyse the impact the transformation has on landscapes and land use, settlements, rural livelihoods and ecosystem services from peri-urban to remote rural locations.

Geodata and GIS

We are expert users of a variety of Geodata and GIS methods within research and teaching. We develop and apply advanced techniques for spatial data analysis and spatial planning. We focus on the theoretical perspectives and the practical applications, and we aim to provide new insights into the development challenges of urban and peri-urban regions. Special areas of attention for our work are the rapid urban expansion, land use dynamics, climate change and changes in urban accessibility and mobility patterns.



Christine Benna Skytt-Larsen

  • Evaluering af social bæredygtighed i udsatte boligområder // Evaluating social sustainability in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Involved: Astrid Rifbjerg de Thurah, COWI, Christine Benna Skytt-Larsen (2022-2025, finansieret af Innovationsfonden)
  • Mødesteder som løftestang for social mobilisering i udsatte boligområder // Common meeting places as drivers for social mobility in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Involved: Christine Benna Skytt-Larsen, Anne Gravsholt Busck (2021-2025, finansieret af Realdania)
  • Kønsbalance på geofagene i Danmark: Hvor taber vi talent? // Gender (im)balance in the Danish geosciences. When and where do we lose talent? (2021-2022, finansieret af Geocenter Danmark)

Lasse Møller-Jensen

Anne Gravsholt Busck

  • Sea-level rise and coastal flooding in Denmark: past, future, and policy, 2020-2024, funded by GeoCenter Denmark. Involved Anne Gravsholt Busck, Michael Helt Knudsen
  • CoffeeVision - managing deforestation and climate resilience of coffee, 2020-2023, funded by Nordic Climate Foundation. Involved: Anne Gravsholt Busck
  • The role of rural-urban linkages for enhanced climate resilience in rural Tanzania (RUL4CLI), 2022-2027, funded by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. Involved: Anne Gravsholt Busck, Søren Bech Pilgaard Kristensen

Søren Bech Pilgaard Kristensen

  • The role of rural-urban linkages for enhanced climate resilience in rural Tanzania (RUL4CLI), 2022-2027, funded by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. Involved: Anne Gravsholt Busck, Søren Bech Pilgaard Kristensen

Michael Helt Knudsen

  • Sea-level rise and coastal flooding in Denmark: past, future, and policy, 2020-2024, funded by GeoCenter Denmark. Involved Anne Gravsholt Busck, Michael Helt Knudsen

Høgni Kalsø Hansen

  • Danmarks nye økonomiske geografi// The new economic geography of Denmark. Involved Høgni Kalsø Hansen & Lars Winther
  • Center for Strategisk Byforskning/ Centre for Strategic Urban Research ( Involved Høgni Kalsø Hansen & Lars Winther

Lars Winther

  • Danmarks nye økonomiske geografi// The new economic geography of Denmark Involved Høgni Kalsø Hansen & Lars Winther
  • Center for Strategisk Byforskning/ Centre for Strategic Urban Research ( Research Involved Høgni Kalsø Hansen & Lars Winther

Nikolaos Kapitsinis

  • e-Aegean ResLab Project (2021-2023): A project that examines employment and resilience in Mediterranean EU. Involved: Nikolaos Kapitsinis



Regional development

  • Relocation of educations and/or government jobs and how it relates to regional development
  • Innovation, new technologies and uneven regional development of the knowledge economy
  • Where do (young) people migrate to and why?
  • Counter-urban migration, COVID and working from home.
  • Green transition, renewable energy and regional development
  • Strategical planning and development of urban centres in small and medium sized towns
  • How does focusing on tourism effect regional development in a longer perspective?
  • Unequal regional development between rural and urban areas
  • Liveability in rural and peri-urban areas
  • Regional resilience against external shocks
  • Political economy approaches to uneven geographical development
  • Spatial restructuring of production, industry and employment
  • New geographical inequalities and divides
  • The geography of human capital and uneven regional development
  • Covid-19 regional growth and geographies of pandemics
  • Reindustrialisation and the future of manufacturing in Denmark and Europe

Urban challenges

  • Rising housing cost and equal access educations
  • Housing, wage levels and urban functions
  • Industry, employment and strategic planning of cities
  • The urban geography of the maker economy – a sustainable future for production
  • Urban challenges of new mobilities, firm locations and employment structures
  • The development of social, economic and environmental sustainable cities
  • Processes behind contemporary urban growth and urban socio-economic distress
  • Socio-spatial inequalities
  • Problems of gentrification and segregation in contemporary cities
  • Problems of youthification and studentification in cities
  • Urban transformation and temporary urbanism
  • Urban regeneration and housing development
  • Place branding and place identity in contemporary cities
  • Resilience and transformation of second tier cities in Europe
  • The future of small towns in Europe.

Employment and labour

  • Upskilling, reskilling and the future of peripheral production and/or job markets
  • Precarious work and labour market dynamics (in a platform economy)
  • The gig economy and the geography of labour
  • Green transition, location of jobs and regional development
  • Gender inequality in the (Danish) labour market
  • Covid-19 effects on regional labour markets
  • The geographies of low-skilled labour

Social inequality

  • Common meeting places as drivers for social integration
  • Territorial stigmatization and everyday life in disadvantaged neighbourhoods
  • Life chances and social mobility in contemporary cities
  • Mixed housing and local social networks
  • Uneven implications of economic crises

Geodata and GIS

  • Monitoring and mapping urban growth
  • Mobility challenges of rapidly growing cities (incl. CC)
  • Contextualised mobility infrastructure (African cities)
  • Gender aspects of urban mobility practices
  • GIS and geodata in Danish planning
  • Analysing “real-time“ location/movement data (Google API)


  • Temporary use as a strategic planning tool
  • Public participation – potentials and challenges
  • Multilevel governance – potentials and challenges
  • Planning climate change adaptation in specific contexts (e.g. cities) or sectors (agriculture)
  • Relations between utility companies and municipalities – implications for climate changes adaptation strategies
  • Influence of international institutions (e.g. EU) on national planning and regulation
  • Changing discourses and governance approaches within a specific theme (e.g. nature protection or urban renewal)
  • National parks, Nature national parks or Geoparks as planning instruments - potentials and challenges for e.g. rural development or nature protection
  • Rural-urban relationships – potentials and challenges for e.g. climate change adaptation or rural development
  • Planning for renewable energy – the challenges of ‘not in my backyard’ principle

Rural livelihoods

  • European agriculture - From 'productivism' to 'post-productivism'
  • The economic impact of multifunctional agriculture
  • Multifunctionality and rural development
  • Structural development in Danish agriculture and its implications
  • Contemporary and historic changes in the land system
  • Drivers of land use change at local to global scale
  • Making space for renewable energy plants in rural areas of Denmark
  • Promoting the periphery – how rural municipalities use natural and cultural monuments as tools for development
  • Peri-urban development and planning
  • Climate adaptation in local governance – institutional opportunities and barriers in Danish municipalities

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Members of the Research Group

Name Title Phone E-mail
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Anna Romby Nielsen Research Assistant +4535329484 E-mail
Anne Gravsholt Busck Professor +4535322564 E-mail
Bjarne Fog Academic Research Staff +4535322539 E-mail
Christine Benna Skytt-Larsen Associate Professor +4535325846 E-mail
Høgni Kalsø Hansen Associate Professor +4535322565 E-mail
Kostas Mouratidis Associate Professor +4535329686 E-mail
Lars Winther Professor +4535322554 E-mail
Lasse Møller-Jensen Professor +4535322566 E-mail
Nikolaos Kapitsinis Assistant Professor - Tenure Track +4535335094 E-mail
Søren Bech Pilgaard Kristensen Associate Professor +4535322523 E-mail

Head of Research Group

Høgni Kalsø Hansen, Photo Kent PørksenHøgni Kalsø Hansen
Associate Professor
+45 35 32 25 65


The research group teaches at the specialisation at the Master programme in Geography and Geoinformatics.

- Specialisations
- Human Geography
- Transformation of Cities and Landscapes