Backhaus Norman

People’s Place in Nature / Developing a relational values approach to align environmental values in conservation policy
Die Beziehungen der Menschen zur Natur

Project Number: CH-6580
Project Type: Research_Project
Project Duration: 03/01/2019 - 05/01/2023
Funding Source: other ,
Leading Institution: Universität Zürich
Project Leader: Prof. Norman Backhaus
Geographisches Institut - Human Geography
Universität Zürich
Winterthurerstr. 190 - Irchel
8057 Zürich
Phone: +41 (0) 44 635 51 72 ; +41 (0) 44 635 51 11
FAX: +41 (0) 44 635 68 48
e-Mail: norman.backhaus(at)

related to this project.
for which the project has a relevance.

Research Areas:

human and social sciences

environmental values, human-nature relationships, Swiss National Park, cultural landscape, biodiversity, agriculture

Environmental conservation efforts are often based on either the intrinsic value of nature or of its instrumental use to humans. Yet neither of these approaches effectively captures a wide range of values that motivate many people to care for land, ecosystems and species. For many people, relationships with nature and with other people via nature better characterize how they value and view their biophysical environment. This research project seeks to elaborate a relational values approach to conservation. Interviews with farmers in the vicinity of the Swiss National Park along with philosophical analysis will serve to elaborate a typology of relational values and develop the conceptual foundations of this emerging research area.

This research is part of the interdisciplinary project, "People’s Place in Nature" ( The project started in August 2018. The project aims at developing a better understanding of the role of relations in people’s evaluation of nature and to develop an ethical argumentation for environmental responsibilities based on the relationship between people and nature around them.

This research is made possible by the NOMIS Foundation, URPP GCB, and UZH Forschungskredit.

Leading questions:
1. What are the major types or categories of relational values?
2. What methods help to elicit relational values?
3. How does engagement with and activities on particular landscapes shape the types of relationships and relational values of landscape users, in particular farmers?


Last update: 11/14/22
Source of data: ProClim- Research InfoSystem (1993-2024)
Update the data of project: CH-6580

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