von Wirth, Timo, Dr.

Dr.  Timo von Wirth


ETH Zurich


Dr. Timo von Wirth


CHN  J 70.1 

Universitätstrasse 16

8092 Zürich


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Research Activities

Research interests

Place attachment, Neighbourhood & residential satisfaction, Quality-of-Life, Urban system transition, Acceptance of emerging technologies, Scenario analysis, Transdisciplinary research procedures

Current research project

Integration of sustainable multi-energy hub systems from a societal perspective (IMES-SE) (within the National Research Program NRP70 funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation). Further information


Timo von Wirth is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the ETH Zurich Transdisciplinary Laboratory (TdLab). His research addresses transformative change in cities as well as in the energy sector. A geographer and economist by training, his current work explores 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. In particular, Timo has investigated person-place interactions by applying the concepts of place attachment and urban quality of life. 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.


Articles in scientific journals (Peer-reviewed):

  • von Wirth, T.; Gislason, L.; Seidl, R. (under review). Distributed energy systems on a neighborhood scale: reviewing drivers of and barriers to social acceptance.
  • 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.
  • von Wirth, T., Grêt-Regamey, A., Moser, C., Stauffacher, M. (accepted for publication). Exploring the influence of perceived urban change on residents' place attachment. Journal of Environmental Psychology (in press, online first), doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2016.03.001
  • Wissen Hayek, U., von Wirth, T., Neuenschwander, N., Grêt-Regamey, A. (under review). Integrating geodesign into collaborative learning cycles for urban transformation.
  • 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(0), 47-62, doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.05.010.
  • von Wirth, T., Grêt-Regamey, A., Stauffacher, M. (2014). Mediating effects between objective and subjective indicators of urban quality of life: testing specific models for safety and access. Social Indicators Research, 1-22; http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11205-014-0682-y
  • 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, doi: 10.1016/j.futures.2014.04.001
  • 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, doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2013.08.030

Conference Proceedings (Peer-reviewed) & presentations:

  • 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. (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
  • 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, 2015
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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. Link zum Download des Evaluationsberichtes
  • 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. Link zum Download des Berichtes
  • 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. Link zum Download des Wissenschaftlichen Schlussberichtes
  • 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 Natioanl Science Foundation (SNF), Arbeiten an der urbanen Qualität ist Teamarbeit – Werkstattbericht des Nationalen Forschungsprogramms 65 „Neue Urbane Qualität“, pp. 20-22. Link zum Download

Other publications:

  • von Wirth, T. (2014) Places in transformation: Integrating residents' perspectives and spatial characteristics into the assessment of urban quality of life, PhD thesis, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Diss. ETH No. 22162, http://dx.doi.org/10.3929/ethz-a-010279048
  • von Wirth, T. (2001) GIS-Analyse an Flughäfen. Visualisierung und Analyse von Marktdaten, Magisterarbeit, RWTH Aachen
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