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


    • 2018 to Present: Co-Chair of the Eco-Disaster Risk Reduction Thematic Group within IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM)
    • 2018 to Present: Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal “Urban Planning”
    • 2018 to Present: Member of the European Geosciences Union
    • 2016 to Present: Member of the Working Group on Natural Hazards and Risks within the German Geographical Association
    • 2015 to Present: Member of Innsbrucker Geographische Gesellschaft, Austria
    • 2013 to Present: Member of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM)
    • 2012 to Present: Member of the Working Group on Latin America within the German Geographical Association
    • 2009 to Present: Member of the Working Group on Urban Research in Developing Contexts within the German Geographical Association

    Biographical Statement

    Dr. Simone Sandholz is Associate Academic Officer 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.

    In her research, Dr. Sandholz focuses on different aspects of future-oriented urban vulnerability and risk analysis with a focus on urban areas. Her particular fields of expertise are urban and green infrastructure, urban regeneration, nature-based solutions for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, good governance and livelihood approaches, based on empirical social research methods. Besides her ongoing research in the ZURES and KIRMin projects she supports the section heads in proposal writing, supervision of team members, guest scientists, master students, and interns, and is teaching in different universities in Germany and abroad. Dr. Sandholz has (co)authored various research papers and is co-author of a MOOC on “Disasters and Ecosystems: Resilience in a Changing Climate” led by UNEP.

    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’. She acted 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 the German Federal Ministry for Development and Cooperation (BMZ) at TH Köln. 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 won scholarships from German Academic Exchange Service and the ASEAN European Academic University Network and received awards for her theses.

  • 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.


    • 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.
    • Gaese, H., U. Nehren, S. Sandholz (Eds.) (2010): Kulturlandschaften im globalen Klimawandel (Cultural Landscapes under Global Climate Change). Initiativen zum Umweltschutz, Band 79, Berlin, Erich Schmidt, ISBN 978-3-503-12616-3, 192p.

    Book Chapters

    • Coy, M., S. Sandholz, T. Töpfer, and F. Zirkl (2017): 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
    • Montelongo, M., S. Sandholz, J. Hamhaber (2012): Sustainability through social capital in collective housing: the case of vecindades in Mexico, D.F. In: Sandner Le Gall, V., R. Wehrhahn (Eds.): Geographies of Inequality in Latin America. Kiel: Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel (Kieler Geographische Schriften, 123), ISBN 978-3-923887-65-1, 329 – 355.