Timo von Wirth

Timo von Wirth

Senior onderzoeker

+31 (0)10 408 8792


Timo von Wirth addresses transformative change in cities as well as in the energy sector. A geographer and economist by training, his current work as a Senior Researcher aims at understanding new approaches of urban governance and the role of person-place relations in urban sustainability transitions. This includes the analyses of transition experiments in cities as well as the designing and evaluation of participatory approaches to urban development.


During his previous engagement as a Postdoctoral Researcher with the ETH Zurich TdLab, he explored the role of local actors and their co-ownership in accelerating the adoption of emerging, decentralized energy technologies on the neighborhood scale.


His research on urban transitions aims to illustrate the beneficial and adverse effects of city growth as a basis for finding ways to navigate through contested transformation processes. In particular, Timo has investigated person-place interactions by applying the concepts of place attachment and urban quality of life leading to his PhD at the Institute for Environmental Decisions at ETH Zurich. This included the spatially differentiated analysis using Geographic Information Systems and future-oriented approaches such as Scenario analysis in collaboration with diverse urban stakeholder.


In addition, Timo is engaged in environmental and spatial mediation as well as in the moderation of participatory processes, building on his advanced training programs in Mediation and Systemic Counseling.


Among his professional experiences, Timo worked for the Central European Institute of Technology (Vienna/ Schwechat) where he was responsible for developing a cross-border geo-data infrastructure and an indicator based spatial monitoring tool among federal spatial and environmental agencies in Austria and neighbouring countries. Timo was guest lecturer at the Institute of European Urbanism at the Bauhaus-University Weimar in 2006/2007 and course specific team member for ETHsustainability summer schools from 2007. As a project manager for innovation research he gained insights into innovation management and organizational learning between 2007 and 2010.


Selected Publications

Articles in scientific journals (currently under review)

  • von Wirth, T., Gisslason, L., Seidl, R. (under review). Distributed energy systems on a neighborhood scale: reviewing drivers of and barriers to social acceptance. Submitted for publication in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
  • Neuenschwander, N.; Wissen Hayek, U.; von Wirth, T.; Sirén, E.; Grêt-Regamey, A. (under review). Collaboratively identifying suitable urban development areas – an AHP-based approach. Submitted for publication in Landscape and Urban Planning.


Articles in scientific journals (peer-reviewed)

  • Wissen Hayek, U., von Wirth, T., Neuenschwander, N., Grêt-Regamey, A. (2016). Organizing and facilitating geodesign processes: Integrating tools into collaborative design processes for urban transformation. Landscape and Urban Planning (in press); doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2016.05.015
  • von Wirth, T., Grêt-Regamey, A., Moser, C., Stauffacher, M. (2016). Exploring the influence of urban change on place attachment. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 46: p.67-82;, doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2016.03.001
  • Wissen Hayek, U.; Farooq, B.; Efthymiou, D.; von Wirth, T.; Teich, M.; Neuenschwander, N.; Grêt-Regamey; A. (2015). Quality of Urban Patterns: Spatially Explicit Evidence for Multiple Scales. Landscape and Urban Planning, 142, 47-62,
  • von Wirth, T., Grêt-Regamey, A., Stauffacher, M. (2015). Mediating effects between objective and subjective indicators of urban quality of life: testing specific models for safety and access. Social Indicators Research, 120, 189-210;
  • Epprecht, N., von Wirth, T., Stünzi, C., Blumer, Y.B. (2014). Anticipating transitions beyond the current mobility regimes: How acceptability matters. Futures, (60), 30-40,
  •  von Wirth, T., Wissen Hayek, U., Kunze, A., Neuenschwander, N., Stauffacher, M., Scholz, R. W. (2014). Identifying urban transformation dynamics: Functional use of scenario techniques to integrate knowledge from science and practice. Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 89, 115-130,


Conference proceedings (Peer reviewed) & presentations

  • Egermann, M., Levin-Keitel, M., Rommel, M., von Wirth, T. (2017) Towards urban community supported economies: accelerating learning about transformative practices and their socio-spatial impacts in German cities. Accepted for oral presentation in the Conference theme: conditions and practices for transformation, at the Intl. Transformations conference 2017, Dundee (UK)
  • von Wirth, T., Grêt-Regamey, A., Stauffacher, M. (2016) Places in transition: integrating residents' perception and spatial characteristics into a coupled assessment of urban quality of life. Accepted for oral presentation in the session: Geographies of public and shared space: urban aesthetics and environmental justice, at the Annual Intl. Conference of the Royal Geographical Society, London (UK)
  • von Wirth, T. & Seidl, R. (2016) Transition to a distributed energy system in Switzerland? Investigating the role of local actors, co-ownership, and neighborhood effects. Accepted for oral presentation in the session: Transitions to a low-carbon future: The human factor in the energy system, at the Annual Intl. Conference of the Royal Geographical Society, London (UK)
  • Seidl, R. & von Wirth, T. (2016) Framing choices towards the active acceptance of local energy hubs - an empirical case study from Switzerland. Accepted at the 24th IAPS Conference for poster presentation, Lund, (SE)
  • von Wirth, T., Meyer B., Stauffacher M. (2016) Evaluating transitions in cities: reflecting a transdisciplinary research project on sustainable urban development in Switzerland. Accepted for oral presentation in the Dialogue Session: Evaluation of sustainability transition experiments, at the International Sustainability Transitions (IST) Conference 2016, Wuppertal, (D)
  • Seidl, R. & von Wirth, T. (2016) Transition to a distributed energy system in Switzerland? Investigating the role of local actors, co-ownership, and neighbourhood effects. Accepted for oral presentation at the International Sustainability Transitions (IST) Conference 2016, Wuppertal, (D)
  • Schaffner C., Gazzani M., Abhari R. S., Girod B., Beccuti G., Carmeliet J., Chokani N., Cutic T., Darivianakis G., Grosspietsch D., Demiray T. H., Gabrielli P., Lygeros J., Omu A., Orehounig K., Papagiannis I., Smith R., Seidl R., Hoffmann V., von Wirth T., Mazzotti M. (2016) Integration of sustainable Multi-Energy-hub Systems at neighbourhood scale – IMES; accepted for oral presentation in the Session Simulation & Modeling I - Simulation and Optimization of Multimodal Energy Systems at the Integration of Sustainable Energy Conference (ISENEC), Nurnberg, (D)
  • Schmitz, P., Seidl, R., von Wirth, T. (2015). Place attachment and Community resilience: theoretical and empirical exploration in a Swiss mountain region; accepted for oral presentation at the XIII Environmental Psychology Conference - PSICAMB, Granada, (ES)
  • Seidl, R. & von Wirth, T. (2015) Exploring the social acceptance of multi-energy hub systems on neighborhood scale – theoretical considerations and empirical insights from Switzerland; accepted for oral presentation at the 11th Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology, Groningen (NL)
  •  von Wirth, T., Grêt-Regamey, A., Stauffacher, M. (2014). Exploring local patterns of place attachment in a suburban study region in Switzerland; accepted for presentation in the session: Livability and Urban Quality: Residents' experience; Peer-reviewed proceedings of the 51st International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) conference, Portland, OR, 2014 (US)
  • Wissen Hayek, U., Neuenschwander, N., von Wirth, T., Kunze, A., Halatsch, J., Schmitt, G., Grêt-Regamey, A. (2014) Combining Three Modelling and Visualization Tools for collaborative Planning of Urban Transformation; in: Wissen Hayek, U., Fricker, P. & Buhmann, E. (Eds.) (2014): Peer Reviewed Proceedings of Digital Landscape Architecture 2014 at ETH Zurich (CH). Herbert Wichmann Verlag, VDE Verlag GmbH, Berlin/Offenbach (D)
  •  von Wirth, T., Stauffacher, M., Grêt-Regamey, A. (2013) Influence of urban transformation on place attachment and residential satisfaction – testing perceived and objective predictors, accepted at the 10th Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology for the Session: Built Environment, Magdeburg (D)
  • Epprecht, N., von Wirth, T., Blumer, Y., Stünzi, C. (2013) Innovative transportation systems: Acceptability of transitions beyond current mobility regimes in suburban neighbourhoods; accepted at the 4th International Conference on Sustainability Transitions for poster session; Zurich (CH)
  •  von Wirth, T., Wissen Hayek, U., Kunze, A., Neuenschwander, N., Scholz, R. W. (2012). Sustainable Futures: ­ functional use of scenario technique to identify regional system potentials; accepted at the 32nd International Geographical Congress for the Session: Strategic urban planning for sustainable development: Methods and experiences, Cologne (D).
  • Wissen Hayek, U., Neuenschwander, N., Kunze, A., Halatsch, J., von Wirth, T., Grêt-Regamey, A., Schmitt, G. (2012b). Transdisciplinary collaboration platform based on GeoDesign for securing urban quality. Peer-reviewed Proceedings of the DLA 2012: GeoDesign, 3D-Modeling and Visualization, Bernburg (D).
  • Pozarek, W., von Wirth, T., Schrenk, M. (2006) Centrope_MAP – 4 Staaten, 4 Sprachen, 4 Bezugssysteme, eine Region mit grenzüberschreitender Informationsinfrastruktur, in: Sustainable Solutions for the Information Society – Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Urban Planning and Spatial Development for the Information Society, CORP2006, GeoMultimedia, Vienna


Publications for Stakeholders (Scientific reports)

  • von Wirth, T., Muggli, N. & Stauffacher, M. (2014) Evaluation der Stadtentwicklung: Lebensqualität und Ortsverbundenheit aus Sicht der Schlieremer Bevölkerung - Forschungsbericht im Auftrag der Stadt Schlieren. Zürich, ETH Zürich.
  • Moser, C., von Wirth, T., Adler, C., Fonseca, J., Schlüter, A. & Stauffacher, M. (2014) Nachhaltige Arealentwicklung – Der Fall Siemensareal in Zug. ETH-IED Fallstudie 2013. TdLab: Zürich
  • Wissen Hayek, U., Eisinger, A., von Wirth, T., Halatsch, J., Neuenschwander, N., Kunze, A., Koltsova, A., Efthymiou, D., Farooq, B., Kurath, S., Schaefer, M., Stauffacher, M., Grêt-Regamey, A., Schmitt, G. (2013). Sustainable urban patterns / Nachhaltige urbane Muster. Wissenschaftlicher Schlussbericht. Nationales Forschungsprogramm NFP65 "Neue urbane Qualität", Zürich.
  • Stauffacher, M., von Wirth, T., Herrmann F. (2013) Ergebnisdokumentation der statistischen Auswertung 2013 - im Rahmen der Evaluation des Stadtentwicklungsprozesses der Stadt Schlieren, Zürich, ETH Zürich
  • Wissen Hayek, U., v. Wirth, T., Neuenschwander, N., Eisinger, A., Kurath, S., Kunze, A., Halatsch, J., Stauffacher, M., Grêt-Regamey, A., Schmitt, G. (2012): Collaborative Urban Platform: A transdisciplinary setup and implementation. In: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), Arbeiten an der urbanen Qualität ist Teamarbeit – Werkstattbericht des Nationalen Forschungsprogramms 65 „Neue Urbane Qualität“, pp. 20-22.
  • Goetzke, W. & von Wirth, T. (2009) Chance Innovation - Wissensbasierte Wirtschaft - aus der Sicht von Unternehmern im Wirtschaftsraum Köln (Knowledge based economy: how enterprises design their innovation procedures). Final report. Chamber of Commerce: Cologne


Further publications

  • von Wirth, T. (2014) Places in transformation: Integrating residents’ perspectives and spatial characteristics into the assessment of urban quality of life. Dissertation Nr. 22162, ETH Zürich
  •  von Wirth, T. (2001) GIS-Analyse an Flughäfen. Visualisierung und Analyse von Marktdaten, Magisterarbeit, RWTH Aachen