We design and organize our transdisciplinary research as a joint learning process involving science and society. Hence, societal actors involved in the problems and solutions are involved in the research process as well and practical knowledge is reflected in the related scientific work in a reciprocal way. The aim is to deal with complex social-ecological problems in a way extends over the boundaries separating disciplines and scientific fields merging scientific knowledge and relevant practical knowledge.
In order to achieve a truly transdisciplinary research, we address the societal problem of the continuous degradation and contamination of urban rivers with case studies, the Pochote River (Nicaragua) and the river basin Quebrada Seca-Río Burío (Costa Rica), and well-defined and representative study sites– each having specific societal and ecological context – within the city.
The two case studies are used to develop, test and study the effects of ecological urban drainage and wastewater treatment infrastructures. Cooperation for the research is coming from relevant partners from science, administration and society within the study areas. Investigations are being carried out at representative locations, which should provide transferable knowledge to other areas and water bodies.
At both the regional level – the larger River Basin – and the local level – the city and individual neighborhoods of the city – we are pursuing sustainable solutions with our project partners and relevant social agents, reflecting the reciprocal relationship between science and society.