Kai Sparke

Prof. Dr. Kai Sparke

Phone: +49 6722 502 732
eMail: Kai.Sparke(at)hs-gm.de
Postal Address:Von-Lade-Straße 1
D-65366 Geisenheim
Address: Building 5800
Room 1.1
Kreuzweg 25
65366 Geisenheim
Research Projects

Project start: 15.07.2022
Project end: 14.07.2025
Sponsor: Federal Office for Agriculture and Food

Private gardens occupy a significant proportion of urban open space, and garden owners make up about 40% of the people in cities. In current social and environmental policy discourses, private gardens are very present, but often with negative connotations (gravel gardens, prohibition of detached houses). For sustainable urban design, however, both these open spaces and the people who use them have a not inconsiderable significance. They strengthen health and life satisfaction and are meeting places for people and habitats for animals and plants. At the same time, private gardens have hardly been researched. The CitiDigiSpace project aims to address the function of private gardens in cities and the role of garden owners, and to improve their contribution to sustainability (ecological, social and economic) with the help support of digital technologies. With a CitiDigiSpace app including the latest LiDAR technology and a citizen science approach, the status quo of the functions and services of private gardens and the role of garden owners will first be described. On this basis, business models will be developed and tested with which the sustainability contribution of gardens can be improved for their owners and the city. On the one hand, the aim is to achieve a more sustainable design of areas in private gardens. The CitiDigiSpace app uses LiDAR to measure the gardens, links them to climate and geodata and makes recommendations based on existing perennial planting and shrub use concepts. Another business idea to be developed - supported by the CitiDigiSpace app - is to improve the social interaction and communication of people in relation to urban gardening. Garden owners are the focus of the project, because their motivation and activation are the decisive levers for implementing more sustainability in private urban space.

Hochschule Geisenheim
© Snoopmedia

Project start: 15.07.2022
Project end: 14.07.2025
Sponsor: Federal Office for Agriculture and Food

Potted herbs play a special role among foodstuffs, as they can continue to be productive for consumers through vegetative growth. More than half of the households in Germany buy fresh herbs at least once a year. The goods are packed in pots, bags and trays, most of which are made of plastic. Numerous conflicts of objectives with economics, product quality or logistics have so far prevented a switch to plastic-free packaging. Furthermore, there is hardly any knowledge about how potted herbs are handled in households. What is clear is that the production and use usage conditions differ greatly in terms of environmental factors such as light and temperature or plant care, which affects the shelf life and thus the product benefit. In the ExtraHerb project, the conflicting goals are worked out and holistically evaluated, optimised concepts for potted herb packaging are developed and tested by interdisciplinary research partners (economic and plant cultivation) as well as practical partners (nursery, packaging manufacturer, retail trade). First, in a so-called reconnaissance exloration phase, the handling of potted herbs along the supply chain will be recorded and their use in households documented (e.g. environmental factors, handling of packaging and potted herbs, shelf life, consumer attitudes, etc.). From this, "typical" handling and use usage scenarios are defined. Subsequently, in a development phase, prototypical solutions are designed for these scenarios that make do with less plastic without compromising quality, product attractiveness at the POS, shelf life, etc. In a final testing phase, these solutions are evaluated under standardised conditions (durability tests at the university and sales tests in the supermarket), also accompanied by consumer surveys, a cost analysis and an ecological assessment (CO2 footprint).

Project start: 07.02.2020
Project end: 31.03.2023
Sponsor: Federal Office for Agriculture and Food

Consumer’s demand for ornamentals and the resulting sales and revenue generated by trading associations and direct sales companies strongly depend on external factors such as weather, public holidays and vacations, which poses a problem for many value chains in horticulture. For many companies it is difficult to assess the effects of these factors, resulting in significant uncertainties when it comes to scheduling and ordering products that often have a limited lifespan. Within the scope of the project, the value chains of ornamentals and cut flowers serve as an example to investigate the possibilities of small and medium-sized retail companies in horticulture to use and process internal and external data.