Sandholz, Simone

Associate Academic Officer

UNU Publications
Selected NON-UNU Publications
  • Simone Sandholz
    Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management & Adaptive Planning Section

    Research Interests

    • Climate change adaptation
    • Disaster risk reduction
    • Integrated urban regeneration
    • Sustainable urban development


    • Dr. rer.nat., Faculty of Geo- and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Innsbruck, Austria
    • M.Eng. ‚Technology in the Tropics‘, Institute for Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics, Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Germany
    • Postgraduate studies in ‘Conservation and Preservation of Historic Monuments and Sites’, Faculty of Architecture, Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Germany
    • Diploma in Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Siegen, Germany


    • 2013 to date: Member of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM)
    • 2014 to date: Member of Arbeitskreis (AK) Lateinamerika, Germany
    • 2015 to date: Member of Innsbrucker Geographische Gesellschaft, Austria

    Biographical Statement

    Dr. Simone Sandholz is Research Associate in the Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management & Adaptive Planning (VARMAP) section of UNU-EHS. She holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Innsbruck, Austria.

    Dr. Sandholz has previously worked as assistant professor at the University of Innsbruck, where she was part of the working groups ‘Development Studies and Sustainability Science’ and ‘Natural Hazards Research’. At TH Köln University of Applied Sciences she has managed an international research project on the potentials of urban green spaces in Brazil and worked as scientific coordinator of the Center for Natural Resources and Development, a global university network under the “Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation” Programme of German Academic Exchange Service and German Federal Ministry for Development and Cooperation (BMZ). Amongst others, she was involved in different activities related to urban areas, namely urban risk and risk reduction as well as resource efficient cities.

    In her research Dr. Sandholz focusses on, sustainable urban and regional development, in particular on urban regeneration, nature-based solutions for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, good governance and livelihood approaches, based on empirical social research methods. She has conducted projects on aspects of urban resilience in Latin America and Asia, supported by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Eurasia-Pacific Uninet. For her MSc and PhD fieldworks she has received financial support from German Academic Exchange Service and the ASEAN European Academic University Network.

    Besides her lecture activities at University of Innsbruck and TH Köln, she has been a guest lecturer in Nepal and Indonesia. Dr. Sandholz is also co-author of a MOOC on “Disasters and Ecosystems: Resilience in a Changing Climate”, a joint initiative of UNEP and CNRD, where she authored the sessions on urban risk reduction as well as planning and management tools. Based on more than more than 18 months of field work in Latin America and Asia, Dr. Sandholz has published different papers and teaching materials on urban regeneration, urban risk and risk reduction with a focus on the Global South.

  • Articles

    Book Chapters

  • Articles

    • Lange, W., S. Sandholz, and U. Nehren (2017, forthcoming): Strengthening urban resilience through nature: The potential of ecosystem-based measures for reduction of landslide risk in Rio de Janeiro. Policy Focus Report, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
    • Coy, M., and S. Sandholz (2014): Brasilien: Entwicklungsland oder neue Führungsmacht? Ein regionaler Überblick. Praxis Geographie No. 03/14, 4 – 10.
    • Nehren, U., J. Subedi, I. Yanakieva, S. Sandholz, (2013): Community perception on climate change and climate-related disaster preparedness in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Journal of Natural Resources and Development, 04, 35 – 57. DOI 10.5027/jnrd.v3i0.04
    • Khalifa, M., S. Sandholz (2012): Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges through Networks: An Innovative Educational Approach for Sustainability. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education 7/2, 343 – 360.


    • Sudmeier-Rieux, K., S. Sandholz, U. Nehren, L. Rharade, N. Bayani, and M. Ford (2017, forthcoming) Disasters and Ecosystems: Resilience in a Changing Climate, The Book. Geneva and Köln: United Nations Environment Programme, and TH Köln, University of Applied Sciences.
    • Sandholz, S. (2017): Urban Centres in Asia and Latin America – Heritage and Identities in Changing Urban Landscapes. Springer, Urban Book Series. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-43735-4
    • Nehren, U., K. Sudmeier-Rieux. S. Sandholz, M. Estrella, M. Lomarda, and T. Guillén (2014): The Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction Case Study and Exercise Source Book. CNRD und UNEP, ISBN 978-3-00-045844-6.

    Book Chapters

    • Sandholz, S. (2017, in print): Shaken cityscapes: tangible and intangible urban heritage in Kathmandu, Nepal, and Yogyakarta, Indonesia. In: M.-T. Albert, F. Bandarin, and A.P. Roders (Eds.): Going Beyond – Perceptions of Sustainability in Heritage Studies No. 2. Springer.
    • Coy, M., S. Sandholz, T. Töpfer, and F. Zirkl (2017, in print): Brazilian suburbs: Places of marginality, informality, and exclusivity. In: A. Berger, Alan, J. Kotkin, Joel, and C. Balderas Guzmán (Eds.): Infinite Suburbia. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.
    • Sandholz, S. (2016): Ecosystem potentials for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the urban landscape of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. In: F. Renaud, K. Sudmeier-Rieux, M. Estrella, and U. Nehren (Eds.): Ecosystem-Based Disaster Risk Reduction and Adaptation in Practice. Springer, Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research, 335-360. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-43633-3_15