Annina Michel

Annina Michel, Dr.


Space, Nature and Society

Tel.: 044 63 55243

Room number: Y25 L 34

Presence times: Monday-Thursday


Research Interests

I am a conservation social scientist interested in social and political dimensions of protected areas and landscape planning. With a research focus in Switzerland, I engage with questions of equity and justice in environmental negotiations and participatory processes and how these are intertwined with and influenced by social values. 

Generally, I am interested in human-nature relationships: How do we speak about and engage with our surroundings, and how do we shape and interact with what we call 'nature'? 

Current research project: ValPar.CH


Values of the ecological infrastructure in Swiss parks

Commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), 10/2020–12/2023 

In this research project, we assess the ecological, economic, and social values of the ecological infrastructure (EI) in regional nature parks. As social scientists, we approach the social values of EI using different methods to assess perceptions of and linked emotions with landscapes and nature's contributions to people. With go-along interviews, such as transect walks, and researcher generated photography, we will receive an in-depth understanding of people's relations to the landscape and ecosystems and be able to understand linkages over space and time. Additionally, participatory mapping will be used to bring together perceptions, meanings, and emotions with ecological and economic values of EI. 

Project homepage: ValPar.CH


Park Moralities


Park Moralities – Social and Political Negotiations in Parc Adula, Switzerland

Study funded by the SNSF project "Morality and the establishment of national parks: Social and political negotiations in Abel Tasman National Park (New Zealand) and in Parc Adula (Switzerland)" 


This project extends a geographical perspective in order to understand social and political negotiations surrounding a national park project in Switzerland – Parc Adula. The study investigates the reasons for the rejection of Parc Adula – and approaches park negotiations by focusing on day-to-day discussions that took place during the park’s planning phase. Moreover, the thesis tries to understand how moralities shaped opinions about and understandings tied to Parc Adula and national parks in general. 

Regarding a general shift of protected area policies towards more participatory and bottom-up approaches over the last decade, the Parc Adula case study holds important insights into contemporary protected area establishment.

Curriculum vitae


10/202012/2023  Department of Geography, University of Zurich. Postdoc, project ValPar.CH.

01/2019–09/2020  Department of Geography, University of Zurich. Postdoctoral teaching and research associate.

09/2014–12/2018  Department of Geography, University of Zurich. PhD Candidate. 

05/2014–08/2014  Swiss Federal Office of Energy. Specialist Geoinformation. 

11/2013–04/2014  Swiss Federal Office of Energy. Internship, Radioactive Waste Management. 

09/2008–10/2013  University of Zurich. Master of Science. Major Geography, Minor Biology. 




FS 2011 & 2012:  GEO 241 Geoökologie und Vegetationskunde
HS 2012:  GEO 222 Humangeographie III
FS 2015:  GEO 599 Excursion International Organizations Geneva
HS 2016–HS 2017: GEO 511 Master Thesis
FS 2015 & 2016 & 2018 & 2019 & 2020: GEO 386 Bachelor Thesis
FS 2016 & 2017 & 2018 & 2019: GEO 122 Humangeographie II
HS 2018: GEO 110 Schweiz 2040
HS 2018: GEO 112 Humangeographie I
HS 2018 & 2019: GEO 361 Vertiefung Humangeographie, Forschungsseminar
FS 2019:  Preparatory seminar Greenland excursion
FS 2020:  GEO 425 Political Ecology




11/2019     3. Tagung Parkforschung Schweiz. Bern, Switzerland.

07/2019     Environmental Justice Conference. Transformative connections. University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. 

05/2018     Module 'Practice of Nature Conservation'. Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Germany. (Guest lecture)

03/2018     19th Student Conference on Conservation Science. Cambridge, UK. (Poster presentation)

11/2017     6th International Symposium for Research in Protected Areas. Salzburg, Austria. 

06/2017     2. Tagung Parkforschung Schweiz. Bern, Switzerland. 

01/2017     Workshop 'Park Governance, Ethics, and Morality'. Zurich, Switzerland. 

09/2016     27th session of the Permanent European Conference for the Study of the Rural Landscape (PECSRL). Innsbruck and Seefeld, Austria.

04/2016     Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG). San Francisco, USA.    

10/2015     German Congress for Geography (DKG). Berlin, Germany.

10/2014     High alpine photovoltaic installations workshop. Bern University of Applied Sciences, Burgdorf, Switzerland.        


Further Publications

  • Michel, Annina Helena; Wallner, Astrid (2020). How can the local Population be won over to Protected Areas? Swiss Academy of Science. Factsheets, 15(5):1-7. Link
  • Michel, Annina Helena; Wallner, Astrid (2020). Comment gagner l’adhésion des populations locales à un parc ? Académie des sciences naturelles. Factsheets, 15(5):1-7. Link
  • Michel, Annina Helena (2018). What is a national park for? Principles of worth in a Swiss national park project. In: Salzburger Nationalparkfonds (Ed.): 6th Symposium for Research in Protected Areas. Conference Volume. Salzburg, 425–427. Link
  • Buchecker, Matthias; Michel, Annina Helena (2017). Passen Solaranlagen in den alpinen Raum? GeoAgenda 5/2017: 24–28. Link
  • Michel, Annina Helena (2016). Negotiations and Modes of Justification in the Swiss National Park Project ‘Parc Adula’. In: Bender, O., Baumgartner, J., Heinrich, K., Humer-Gruber, H., Scott, B. & Töpfer, T. (Hrsg..): Mountains, uplands, lowlands. European landscapes from an altitudinal perspective. PECSRL 2016. IGF-Forschungsberichte 7: 62. Austrian Academy of Sciences Press. Link
  • Hunziker, Marcel; Michel, Annina Helena; Buchecker, Matthias (2015). Landschaftsveränderungen durch erneuerbare Energien aus Sicht der Bevölkerung. Forum für Wissen 2014: 43–49. Link
  • Michel, Annina (2014). Wahrnehmung und gesellschaftliche Akzeptanz von Photovoltaikanlagen Eine praxisrelevante Studie am Beispiel des Pilotprojektes „Photovoltaikanlagen an Lawinenverbauungen“ in Bellwald, VS. GeoAgenda 5/2014: 24–27. Link