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Leibniz-Institut für Raumbezogene Sozialforschung
Research at the IRS is focused on the spatial aspects and contexts of social action. In doing so, spatial phenomena are explored in terms of both processual and historical dimensions using social-scientific methods.
In August 1876, Richard Wagner's opera cycle “The Ring of the Nibelung” premiered at the Bayreuth Festival Theatre. Coincidentally, the year 1876 is an important year for river Rhine in an entirely different context, as it also marks the conclusion of one of the largest landscape construction projects in recent European history. From 1817 and 1876, the Upper Rhine was shortened by 80 kilometres (!).
Recurring financial and economic crises, municipalities and counties burdened by austerity measures, the effects of demographic and climate change, global migration flows, and increasingly polarised societies mean that cities and regions in particular face great challenges. This requires novel solutions to weather such crises or, in other words, to become resilient to them.
The Scientific Collections constitute an important specialized academic archive documenting the more recent building and planning history of East Germany with an emphasis on the GDR era. They serve as a repository for personal papers of architects and planners and include drawings, plans, written documents and photographs.
09. March | 2017
From April 14 to June 30, 2017, Dr. Ludger Gailing (prov. head of the IRS Research Department "Institutional Change and Regional Public Goods") will conduct research at the Durham Energy Institute and the Department of Geography at Durham University. This stay abroad is made possible by a "senior research fellowship" of the University, which is supported within the COFUND-scheme of the European Commission (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions). The stay in Durham is part of Gailing's habilitation project "Reconfiguring Energy Spaces: The Role of Spatial Governmentalities and Competing Socio-Materialities" at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
01. March | 2017
In December 2016, the IRS started the European Training Network “Social Entrepreneurship in Structurally Weak Rural Regions: Analysing Innovative Troubleshooters in Action” (RurAction). With the recruitment process for the Early Stage Researchers on the way, the project launched its website in late February. For the coming three-and-a-half years, it will serve as the main hub for information on the project, its researchers, topics and outcomes.
01. February | 2017
The European Training Network RurAction (“Social Entrepreneurship in Structurally Weak Rural Regions: Analysing Innovative Troubleshooters in Action”) announces 10 positions for Early-Stage Researchers with the option of awarding the doctoral degree. The positions last 36 months and are expected to begin between September and November 2017.
23. January | 2017
Changes in the production of goods, in consumption patterns and transportation are forcing urban quarters to adapt. In recent times, there has been a significant rise in the quantity of goods ordered and delivered. Increasingly, groceries for immediate consumption are also being ordered and delivered, alongside other more common products. The resultant rise in the quantity of transported goods, and the emergence of an intricate delivery network, poses a major challenge for cities: as ever more delivery vehicles navigate city streets, pollution and traffic congestion increase, while traffic accidents become more likely. Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research has launched the 'Urban quarter 4.0' (Stadtquartier 4.0) research project to identify and experiment with solutions to the above mentioned challenges.
14. October | 2016
Crises rarely occur in isolation from one another. Only by using this dictum one can grasp what can be witnessed today: a growing number of increasingly interconnected crises. Recurring financial and economic crises, municipalities and counties burdened by austerity measures, the effects of demographic and climate change, global migration flows, and increasingly polarised societies mean that cities and regions in particular face great challenges.
13. October | 2016
In August 1876, Richard Wagner's opera cycle “The Ring of the Nibelung” premiered at the Bayreuth Festival Theatre. The epochal music drama draws on a number of myths and legends. Apart from Siegfried, Brunhilde, Hagen, and Etzel, a river plays a pivotal role: the Rhine, where the legendary Rhine gold starts off the narrative. Coincidentally, the year 1876 is an important year for river Rhine in an entirely different context, too. The year in which the “Ring Cycle” premiered also marks the conclusion of one of the largest landscape construction projects in recent European history. From 1817 and 1876, the Upper Rhine was shortened by 80 kilometres (!) between Basel and Mannheim.
15. September | 2016
The Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS) in Erkner near Berlin has successfully applied for a research and training network in the highly competetive „Marie-Skłodowska-Curie“ programme of the European Union. Twelve research institutes and social enterprises from seven European countries, coordinated by the IRS, will offer a structured doctoral training on social entrepreneurship in structurally weak rural regions. The doctoral candidates will conduct research guided by the question of which innovative solutions the social entrepreneurs can offer to tackle the economic and social downward spirals in these regions. The project will run for four years and has a budget of 2.5 million Euros.
16. March | 2015
Anyone who experiments is suspending the conventional conditions for a certain period and looking for explanations outside the patterns that are already known to us. Across all sciences and contexts, it would appear that the defining characteristics of an experiment are the fact that it is new, and that it is temporary. Based on a current IRS research project on temporary use, Thomas Honeck and Jan Zwilling discuss what an experiment in the urban context can look like, and what significance the desire to innovate and time limits have.
11. May | 2017
Article released in "European Urban and Regional Studies"
Innovation is considered an important asset for economic growth. This is why the stimulation of innovation processes has been a core strategy for regional development policies for a long time. These policies have been relying on cluster-based approaches and by that on the spatial proximity of actors involved in innovation processes. As a result of year-long research on spatial and temporal aspects of innovation processes researchers of the IRS Research Department “Dynamics of Economic Spaces” developed a new approach called “Open Region” which accounts for – among other aspects – the high mobility of ideas and innovations. In a recently published article in “European Urban and Regional Studies” the concept is explained in detail.
27. November | 2016
Ways of handling climate change vary worldwide. Differences can be observed in the perception of potential threats and opportunities as well as in the appraisal of adequate coping strategies. Collective efforts often fail not because of technical restrictions, but owing to social and cultural differences between agents involved. Consequently, there is a need to explore in greater depth those "zones of cultural friction” which emerge when agents deal with climate change. This book exermines, what kinds of “climate cultures” can be observed within European Coastal Areas and what the discriminants of different “climate cultures” are and/or how different climate cultures be can explained?
02. November | 2016
During the past decade we could observe the vast creation of open spaces dedicated to tinkering, experimentation, creative and freelance work as well as entrepreneurship primarily in Western, industrialized economies but also beyond. The scene of operators and users of such places typically refer affirmatively to a community culture in which manufacturing tools and digital technologies are flexibly accessible and knowledge and expertise are shared collaboratively among peers. This broschure, originating from a third-party funded research project by the same name, provides a detailed view of Germany's lab scene, a typology of the labs and insights into the conditions of their formation, development and allocation.