Projects

IRS reserarchers conduct research on society and space within third-party funded and budget funded projects. The different project types are further explicated in the right column. Following is a selection of ongoing and completed projects in three different ways of sorting.

by Year of Project Start

Ongoing projects

2021

Everyday life in rural areas is based in a special way on volunteer work, with digital technologies increasingly being used. However, campaigning and funding practice for the digitalization of volunteering in rural areas precedes an inventory of the same: systematic findings on the use of digital tools and practices in volunteering in Germany are so far only rudimentary. Within the project, a differentiated picture of the use and handling of digital technologies in voluntary work in German rural areas, will be elaborated according to spatial types, organizational profiles and age structure of involved volunteers. A well-founded assessment of the opportunities and risks of technology use of technology in rural voluntary work is to be made. more

CORAL aims to unpack the latent dynamics and impacts of collaborative workspaces (hereafter CWS, such as coworking spaces, fablabs, creative hubs etc.) in rural and peripheral areas and integrate them as development tools in local and regional policies to open up new potentials for socio-economic development. Whereas we have observed the rapid rise of CWS in urban agglomerations in the past 15 years, there is now a gradual rise of CWS in rural and peripheral areas too. The CORAL project will offer specialised and tailor-made training to 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESR: PhD candidates), helping them to better understand and support the development processes of CWSin rural and peripheral areas and their wider impacts at the local and regional level as well as at the level of the individual worker and the enterprise. more

2020

Cities affected by the Second World War had to redefine their urban self-image and undertake a revision of their building stock in the face of the impending or real bombing catastrophe. Maps and mapping played a special role in this. The research network "Mapping and Transforming. Interdisciplinary Access to City Maps as a Visual Medium of Urban Transformation in Central and Eastern Europe, 1939-1949" explores functions of city maps in transformation processes for selected cities in Central and Eastern Europe in interdisciplinary cooperation, from the perspective of the humanities and engineering sciences, social geography as well as computer science. The sub-project at the IRS combines heterogeneous and little-researched data sets, maps and archival material to investigate the transformation of selected cities in East Germany and communist Poland. more

Rural areas are regularly associated with negative images of problems such as demographic change, loss of infrastructure, or lack of broadband connections. This culminates in attributions such as “dying villages”, “bleeding out”, or “empty landscapes”, especially with regard to structurally weak regions in the eastern German states. For some years, however, a new tone seems to have entered the debate, which rapidly intensified in the wake of the Covid19 pandemic: now urban flight appears as a new trend. The habilitation project is dedicated to the changes in the social constructions of the rural as well as their significance for spatial planning and development by analysing the discursive construction of rural areas and their changes since the 1960s in Germany. more

The ESRa project examines factors that characterize regions with a predominantly positive attitude towards energy system transformation from regions with a negative attitude. The project aims at explaining how these factors can be influenced with regard to the realization of a successful energy transition. The project relates this question to the phenomenon of increasing regional disparities and the drifting apart of regions concerning those that draw advantage from globalization processes and those that do not. The success of an energy system transformation will depend considerably on helping less favorably equipped regions to develop and use such resources and skills.<br/> more

“Authenticity” as the purportedly “original”, “pure”, or “true” character of persons, objects or practices has become a major public discourse, a powerful driver of heritage debates and cultural change and a key research issue in the humanities. From theatre and museums studies to heritage conservation and the historical sciences scholars dispute the ways in which authenticity indicates and triggers cultural change in modern societies. While there is a broad consensus among constructivist approaches that historical authenticity was and is always socially and culturally produced, and that there is no such thing as “the pure” or “the original” in terms of materiality, the case of built heritage seems to challenge this approach. Here strong academic and public controversies have emerged on the role and impact of materiality for authenticity. This project is the first to systematically analyse patterns of such discourses in a transnational historiographical perspective. more

At the intersection of technical and social innovation, the project "Stadtquartier 4.1" seeks to find out, if and how the introduction of novel logistics and mobility services (such as automated parcel pick-up stations and cargo-bike sharing) in a neighbourhood impacts on local dwellers' behaviours and attitudes related to logistics. Secondly, it seeks to understand the communicative and participatory processes which lead to the introduction of said services into a neighbourhood. Thirdly, it investigates, if and how the social acceptance for novel logistics and mobility services systematically varies between urban and sub-urban environments. The IRS sub-project within the consortium provides knowledge, if and under which conditions technical innovations in the field of urban logistics establish in society and contribute to sustainable urban development. more

The Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability (GCSMUS), is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) via the DAAD program “Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation – exceed" and based at the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin). GCSMUS seeks to introduce the use of social science research methodologies for the advancement of urban sustainable development, by connecting social sciences methodology, via knowledge transfer, exchange and implementation, with urban policy-making, planning and design. more

Global construction companies impact our futures. Beyond the edifices and infrastructures they construct, they also fundamentally influence governmental development aid policies, or dislocate people to build a new dam, for example. Yet the role of these major global players and their persistent presence in different world regions has barely been reflected upon. Our project investigates how major German construction companies conquered markets and spaces, thereby cementing their presence in different regions of the Global South, and it will trace the footprints left behind, long after the dust of the construction sites settled. It draws on the observation that it is impossible to fully understand the complexity of the built environment in these regions without acknowledging and analysing the role of construction companies such as HOCHTIEF AG or Bilfinger Berger as actors, stakeholders, transnational legal entities and major driving forces in the processes of globalised construction business. However, in previous bodies of research this perspective has been overlooked, except for rare exemptions. more

2019

The dissertation project uses interpretive discourse analysis (Hajer 1995, 2005, 2008) to examine the political construction of critical infrastructures. The project analyses definitions, sectors and related discourses around ‘critical infrastructure’, using Sweden and Germany as case studies. The research focuses on the local level, particularly on urban areas that see themselves as ‘smart cities’. The discourses on critical infrastructures and smart cities have developed largely independently of each other. This project will link them together to address the question of criticality on a local level. more

The PhD project investigates the negotiations of far-right contestations in urban planning and governance processes. It is supervised by Matthias Bernt (Lehrstuhl für Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie, Institut für Sozialwissenschaften, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin) and Laura Calbet i Elias (Fachgebiet Theorien und Methoden der Stadtplanung, Städtebau-Institut, Universität Stuttgart). more

Digitalisation as a societal megatrend also changes life in rural areas. Village inhabitants push initiatives to address common problems of rural living with digital technology. The aim of this research project is to better understand rural digitalisation processes and their effects on village communities as well as the (further) development of a theoretical framework to this research object. more

Das Verbundprojekt untersucht Potentiale und Probleme von ehemaligen Stadtumbauquartieren im Wandel zum Einwanderungsquartier. Das Verbundprojekt ist in fünf Teilprojekte gegliedert. Das Teilprojekt 1 "Governance" soll am IRS bearbeitet werden. Es untersucht Planungsgrundlagen und Akteurskonstellationen in den Städten Cottbus, Schwerin und Halle (Saale), um eine bessere Steuerung des Wandels durch kommunale Akteure zu ermöglichen. more

Architektonische und städtebauliche Planung war in der DDR in Planungskollektiven organisiert, die dem Institutionssystem der DDR entsprechend in volkseigene Planungsbetriebe integriert waren freiberufliche Architekten gab es nur noch in verschwindend geringer Anzahl. Das Projekt untersucht diese Planungskollektive in ihrer administrativen Einbettung und Funktionsweise im politischen System einerseits und in Hinblick auf die künstlerischen Produktionsweisen und das Selbstverständnis der Architekten im Kollektiv andererseits. more

The lead project aims to understand the political construction and governance of critical infrastructures in relation to their spatiality. Infrastructures are increasingly viewed in terms of their vulnerability to disruption and the resulting security risks. Political resources are devoted to adequately securing "critical infrastructures" such as water supply and energy networks. <br/>But which infrastructures are considered critical and why? The perception and governance of infrastructures are particularly relevant for cities due to their high concentration of people, infrastructure, economic and cultural assets. Accordingly, urban climate adaptation, which seeks to prepare for disruptions such as extreme weather events, and the digitalisation of urban infrastructures, as a potential improvement tool but also as a possible new source of uncertainty for infrastructure networks, serve as fields of investigation.<br/> more

The lead project focalizes digital online platforms as well as their relevance for design processes in the fashion industry. Thus, it addresses the question, to what extent creative collaboration can be digitalized. All platforms have in common that they enact specific interfaces between the "concrete" and the "virtual" world, at which human actions are translated into data and vice versa. The lead project analyses how different specialized digital platforms are used in design processes, and which spatial patters and divisions of labour in creative work emerge as a consequence. The advance of digital platforms into a formerly more analogue industry like fashion bears the potential to fundamentally change spatial arrangements of creativity-based value creation, to the benefit or at the expense of established creative centres. more

Smart cities are often talked about – but smart villages? Rural areas, particularly in structurally weak regions, are often affected by out-migration and a growing backlog in digital infrastructure and innovation dynamics. Both trends reinforce each other. However, there are examples of villages in which innovative initiatives do not just strive to compensate for deficits, but develop new, situation- and problem-specific local solutions. In doing so, they combine new services with creative uses of digital technologies and sometimes improved digital infrastructures. In this lead project, such initiatives, driven by ‘smart villagers’, are analysed from the perspective of ‘societal innovations’, yet with an emphasis on the aspects of mediatization and digitalization. more

For a long time, it has been commonly assumed that social disparities within and between towns and cities were less pronounced in the socialist system of the GDR compared to the market economy in the West-German Republic. However, newer findings show that there were analogies and parallel developments in both systems which, starting in the 1960s, led to growing socio-spatial disparities in West Germany as well as the GDR. In terms of planning policy responses, too, there are indications of analogous developments. This lead project seeks to develop an integrated analysis framework for the historical study of socio-spatial disparities across system boundaries for the first time, and to apply it empirically. more

Welche Rolle spielten Städtebau und Wohnverhältnisse für die friedliche Revolution in der DDR 1989? War der rasante und großflächige Verfall großer Altstadtgebiete bei gleichzeitiger und einseitiger Dominanz des industriellen Plattenbaus ein motivierender Faktor für Bürgerbewegungen? Das vom BMBF geförderte Projekt „StadtWende“ der Historischen Forschungsstelle, das im Januar 2019 mit einer Laufzeit von vier Jahren startete, will diese Frage gründlicher als bisher möglich untersuchen. more

As one of the most pressing issue of our times, immigration has gained particular relevance at the local level. The recent increase of refugee migration to Germany has instigated new negotiation processes in urban policy and planning. At the national level, the transition of Germany into an immigration country is envisaged by the government, and a new immigration law is underway to create new legal pathways for labour migration. Simultaneously, immigration has become a central focus of the mobilisation for new right-wing parties and movements. These current conflicts over immigration lead to a multiplicity of new dilemmas for municipal decision makers. Consequently, this research project investigates how urban migration policies are negotiated and formulated, which actors participate in policy formulation and how migration-related segregation tendencies are addressed. more

Das Projekt verfolgt das Ziel, mehrere bislang nur punktuell verbundene Forschungsstränge der historischen Forschung zur NS-Zeit zu verbinden. Dazu zählen die Architektur- und Städtebaugeschichte, hier besonders Forschungen zu Repräsentationsbauten und Großplanungen, die allgemeine Institutionengeschichte des NS-Regimes und die kommunalgeschichtliche Forschung, welche in jüngerer Zeit die häufig treibende Rolle lokaler Verwaltungen und Bevölkerungsgruppen bei Unrechtstaten und Verbrechen thematisiert. more

2018

Climate impacts, terror attacks, major technical accidents: Keywords like these indicate situations of fundamental threat, urgency and uncertainty with which social systems of various scales are confronted today. This is on particular display during the Covid-19 pandemic. Has the “world risk society” (Beck 2007) possibly transformed into a “world crisis society” already? more

The thesis addresses the changes of East- and West-German planning cultures between 1959 and 1989 along analysing public communication of cases in urban planning. By focussing on historic cases of planning projects on a micro/local level in East and West Berlin, the arenas of public planning communication will be reconstructed. more

ExTrass seeks to better prepare medium-sized and large cities in Germany for heavy rainfall and heat. To this end, restraining and enabling factors of urban climate adaptation are analysed and successfull measures are identified. A large part of the project work is undertaken in three case study cities: Potsdam, Remscheid and Würzburg. Here, among other things, the project team tests greening measures, works towards climate-sensitive urban planning, contributes data on city climate, educates the population on risks and improves contingency plans. In addition, opportunities for exchange are created so that cities can better learn from each other. more

In her dissertation project, Anna Oechslen studies how graphic designers in India navigate their everyday work practices using so-called crowdwork platforms. These online platforms play an increasing role in mediating work relations, providing an infrastructure to connect workers and clients on a global scale. Platform workers perform a lot of invisible work to make and sustain connections in a context where hardly anything is institutionalised. more

This project, secured in cooperation with the University of Łódź, thematises various paths in the development of a number of neighbourhoods in both cities following the change of system over 25 years ago. The scientists strive to provide both new findings about the interplay of institutional contexts and socio-spatial differentiation processes, as well as about post-socialist urban development in Middle and Eastern Europe. more

The research aims at studying recent challenges in the development of large housing estates in postsocialist cities. It is based on a comparative approach and includes six case studies in Estonia, Germany, and Russia. Resarch on the neighbourhoods Halle-Neustadt and Berlin-Marzahn will be conducted by the IRS. Thereby, the project focuses on actors, their interests and resources and observes the consequences of their constellations for the development of housing estates. more

In the past twenty years, the number of students completing university studies in a foreign country has constantly been on the rise. In addition, many universities are investing in international branch campuses (IBCs) abroad. These are initial indices for a parallel globalisation of knowledge-intensive branches of the economy and of the university landscape. The Leibniz Junior Research Group “Constructing Transnational Spaces of Higher Education” (TRANSEDU) is concerned with the relationship between globalised economic processes and the internationalisation of the academic and research landscapes. more

The DFG- scientific network “The Spaces of Global Production: The Territorial Dimensions of Global Production Networks and World City Networks” connects scholars from Germany, Luxemburg and Belgium to exchange ideas and contribute to debates on the economic geographies of globalisation. more

Digital visualizations play an important role in urban planning and architecture practice today. Photorealistic renderings are produced in ever increasing quantities during all kinds and stages of planning processes. Questioning the production and use of photorealistic images can enhance understanding of the different rationalities that are being negotiated in urban development processes. more

“Re-Figuration of Spaces” is the first sociology-led Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) to be funded by the German Research Foundation. It aims to investigate the comprehensive spatial reorganisation of global scale that has been caused by an increase in the global circulation of people and goods, the development and dissemination of digital communications technologies, and the thus entailed growth of worldwide interconnections. Prof. Dr. Gabriela Christmann of the IRS is involved in the CRC as a member of the management board and as spokesperson for Project Area B, “Spaces of Communication”, and leads the sub-project “Digital Urban Planning: Planning Practices and Physical Arrangements”. more

The IRS is a participant in the “Innovation Hub13 – fast track to transfer”, a project funded as part of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research's (BMBF's) “Innovative Hochschule” initiative, and obtained by the Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau and the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg. Prof. Dr. Suntje Schmidt developed the sub-project “Open Region: Regional Challenges as Starting Points for Innovation”, which resides at the intersection of innovation promotion and regional development. The aim of the project is to create the conditions for the integration of until now unconsidered innovation actors, in order to develop cooperative solutions for regionally relevant problem areas in Brandenburg. more

Many cities are reliant on immigration to turn their declining populations back into growing ones. Nevertheless, despite the increasing competition for younger inhabitant, students, and qualified professionals, as well as widespread growth policies, cities have to date barely developed their own immigration strategies. The management of immigration has so far been seen as the task of national migration regimes. When it comes to local integration policies, cities react solely to the influx of migrants and the national allocation of refugees and asylum seekers. A linkage between urban-development and integration concepts rarely takes place. more

Simulation, GIS and CAD software, 3D visualizations, 3D printers and drone technology have become part of the digital infrastructure for planners. They use digital tools and software to analyze, understand and shape the future of cities. The dissertation project investigates how digital arrangements coconstruct the design and planning practicse of urban planners. Martin Schinagl does this by applying methods of qualitative social research and ethnographic workplace research in private and public planning offices. By cross-culturally comparing a number of planning offices in different cities of the world (Lagos, New York, Frankfurt), the project aims to find out how communicative actions and spatial imaginations differ and resemble each other in mediatized working environments. more

2017

The research project “Coping With Crises in a Resilient Manner” (RESKIU) deals with the potential for crises to provide solutions, and seeks to explore what can be done by the involved actors not only to mitigate the symptoms of crises, but also to create and use “opportunities” for structural change. The project has a duration of four years and brings together basic and applied research on crises. more

In current times, many rural regions in Europe are facing major social and economic problems. With a declining population in rural areas, both the public and private sectors struggle to keep services at the same levels as before. However, due to a decrease in revenue they are often only poorly maintained and as a result can become under-utilised and end up with being withdrawn. Similarly, also local living conditions and quality of life decreases as unemployment rises and skilled labour becomes limited.<br/><br/>These developments are mirrored in the media where structurally weak rural areas face recurring negative discourses. This can further reduce economic opportunities by framing the regions as a less rewarding context for both economic development and for everyday living,... more

Completed projects

by Research Department / Organisational Unit

Director's Unit

In komplexen Prozessen sozialräumlichen Wandels kommt es stark auf das Wirken von Einzelnen an – so zumindest die Überzeugung erfahrener Praktiker. Am IRS werden diese Einzelpersonen als Schlüsselfiguren bezeichnet und konzeptualisiert. Doch für die raumbezogenen Sozialwissenschaften benennt die Erkenntnis der herausgehobenen Bedeutung von Schlüsselfiguren eher ein Verständnisproblem als dass es eine Erklärung liefert. Wie können Schlüsselfiguren in die sozialwissenschaftliche Analyse integriert werden? Dieser übergeordneten Frage geht das abteilungsübergreifende Brückenprojekt „Komparative Studien zu Schlüsselfiguren in der Raumentwicklung“ nach. more

Results from empirical spatial research demonstrate that specific actors often play a central role in advancing processes and initiatives of socio-spatial transformation. Approaches, in which the capabilities of political leaders as well as of leading executives in organisations and businesses are conceptualised, have inspired the team to develop a unique approach to characterise key individuals. The approach differentiates between four dimensions. more

Dynamics of Economic Spaces

CORAL aims to unpack the latent dynamics and impacts of collaborative workspaces (hereafter CWS, such as coworking spaces, fablabs, creative hubs etc.) in rural and peripheral areas and integrate them as development tools in local and regional policies to open up new potentials for socio-economic development. Whereas we have observed the rapid rise of CWS in urban agglomerations in the past 15 years, there is now a gradual rise of CWS in rural and peripheral areas too. The CORAL project will offer specialised and tailor-made training to 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESR: PhD candidates), helping them to better understand and support the development processes of CWSin rural and peripheral areas and their wider impacts at the local and regional level as well as at the level of the individual worker and the enterprise. more

Globalisation’s challenges include a slowing of global trade ‘slowbalisation’, caused partially by protectionist economic policies and, more recently, the Covid-19 pandemic severely restricted human mobility and cross-border trade. This research project assesses how the current crisis impacts and reworks existing economic geographies, taking the higher education sector as a critical example through which to understand broader restructurings. more

The ESRa project examines factors that characterize regions with a predominantly positive attitude towards energy system transformation from regions with a negative attitude. The project aims at explaining how these factors can be influenced with regard to the realization of a successful energy transition. The project relates this question to the phenomenon of increasing regional disparities and the drifting apart of regions concerning those that draw advantage from globalization processes and those that do not. The success of an energy system transformation will depend considerably on helping less favorably equipped regions to develop and use such resources and skills.<br/> more

The lead project focalizes digital online platforms as well as their relevance for design processes in the fashion industry. Thus, it addresses the question, to what extent creative collaboration can be digitalized. All platforms have in common that they enact specific interfaces between the "concrete" and the "virtual" world, at which human actions are translated into data and vice versa. The lead project analyses how different specialized digital platforms are used in design processes, and which spatial patters and divisions of labour in creative work emerge as a consequence. The advance of digital platforms into a formerly more analogue industry like fashion bears the potential to fundamentally change spatial arrangements of creativity-based value creation, to the benefit or at the expense of established creative centres. more

Climate impacts, terror attacks, major technical accidents: Keywords like these indicate situations of fundamental threat, urgency and uncertainty with which social systems of various scales are confronted today. This is on particular display during the Covid-19 pandemic. Has the “world risk society” (Beck 2007) possibly transformed into a “world crisis society” already? more

In her dissertation project, Anna Oechslen studies how graphic designers in India navigate their everyday work practices using so-called crowdwork platforms. These online platforms play an increasing role in mediating work relations, providing an infrastructure to connect workers and clients on a global scale. Platform workers perform a lot of invisible work to make and sustain connections in a context where hardly anything is institutionalised. more

The project adopts a cultural economic approach to investigate the discourses that constitute the development of French campuses abroad and the materialization thereof in the space of the campuses, while paying attention to the dissonances and renegotiations involved in the process. Addressed through qualitative expert interviews with decision-makers working in French public and private higher education institutions, the following research question guides the analysis: “How is the development of French branch campuses discursively and materially constructed, branded and experienced?” more

This dissertation project investigates transnational urban education zones (TUEZs) in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. These purpose-built urban areas were created to host offshore campuses of foreign universities. TUEZs like Dubai International Academic City or Education City appear to be part of distinctive urban development strategies while at the same time being connected discursively to transformative economic rationales. The project aims to make sense of the strategic decisions of governments to establish such zones, how they relate to urban imaginaries connected to global city ambitions, and how they are connected to future aspirations towards a knowledge-based economy. more

Universities get access to national higher education markets in South East Asia through investments in offshore branches and international partnerships. How market access is regulated and how transnational networks are coupled with regional contexts is not only subject to temporal change. It is also of utmost economic and socio-cultural relevance to the actors involved. This PhD project examines these issues in the case regions of Malaysia and Singapore. more

In the past twenty years, the number of students completing university studies in a foreign country has constantly been on the rise. In addition, many universities are investing in international branch campuses (IBCs) abroad. These are initial indices for a parallel globalisation of knowledge-intensive branches of the economy and of the university landscape. The Leibniz Junior Research Group “Constructing Transnational Spaces of Higher Education” (TRANSEDU) is concerned with the relationship between globalised economic processes and the internationalisation of the academic and research landscapes. more

The DFG- scientific network “The Spaces of Global Production: The Territorial Dimensions of Global Production Networks and World City Networks” connects scholars from Germany, Luxemburg and Belgium to exchange ideas and contribute to debates on the economic geographies of globalisation. more

The IRS is a participant in the “Innovation Hub13 – fast track to transfer”, a project funded as part of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research's (BMBF's) “Innovative Hochschule” initiative, and obtained by the Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau and the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg. Prof. Dr. Suntje Schmidt developed the sub-project “Open Region: Regional Challenges as Starting Points for Innovation”, which resides at the intersection of innovation promotion and regional development. The aim of the project is to create the conditions for the integration of until now unconsidered innovation actors, in order to develop cooperative solutions for regionally relevant problem areas in Brandenburg. more

The research project “Coping With Crises in a Resilient Manner” (RESKIU) deals with the potential for crises to provide solutions, and seeks to explore what can be done by the involved actors not only to mitigate the symptoms of crises, but also to create and use “opportunities” for structural change. The project has a duration of four years and brings together basic and applied research on crises. more

Although several studies emphasize the value of improvisation, accidents, and uncertainty for innovation and creativity, these notions are still primarily viewed as threats to be controlled. In order to reduce uncertainty within organizational processes, management typically tends to use standardization and routine. more

Krisen können definiert werden als dramatische Situationen, die einen hohen Handlungsdruck auf Akteure auslösen,. Diese müssen schnelle Entscheidungen treffen, um die akute Lage zu entschärfen und die Krisensituation zu lösen. Um in komplexen Situationen Entscheidungen treffen zu können, spielt Beratung von außen eine bedeutende Rolle. Das Projekt ist als Literaturstudie angelegt, die das Verhältnis von „Beratern“ und „Entscheidern“ in Krisen-Kontexten aufarbeitet. more

The DFG-financed interdisciplinary research unit “Organized Creativity” has formed to provide a better understanding of the conditions under which creativity can prosper within social organization. Empirically analyzing an arts-based as well as a science-based field – the musical and the pharmaceutical industry – enables the research units to add to the development of a multi-disciplinary theory of organized creativity. The subproject at the IRS puts the focus on different modes of governance and the connected types of uncertainty in creative pharmaceutical work. more

In komplexen Prozessen sozialräumlichen Wandels kommt es stark auf das Wirken von Einzelnen an – so zumindest die Überzeugung erfahrener Praktiker. Am IRS werden diese Einzelpersonen als Schlüsselfiguren bezeichnet und konzeptualisiert. Doch für die raumbezogenen Sozialwissenschaften benennt die Erkenntnis der herausgehobenen Bedeutung von Schlüsselfiguren eher ein Verständnisproblem als dass es eine Erklärung liefert. Wie können Schlüsselfiguren in die sozialwissenschaftliche Analyse integriert werden? Dieser übergeordneten Frage geht das abteilungsübergreifende Brückenprojekt „Komparative Studien zu Schlüsselfiguren in der Raumentwicklung“ nach. more

In his dissertation project, Andreas Kuebart researches the phenomenon of seed accelerators from the perspective of relational economic geography. The project aims to study seed accelerators as interfaces between newly created business on the one hand and specialized expertise mobilized in dense local and trans-local communities, social capital that resides in strategic networks and sub-sequent venture capital investments on the other. The rapid spread of the concept of seed accelerators itself show the relevance of establishing new ventures for the digital age, while this topic has been missing on the radar of economic geography so far. more

The research focusses on the significance and potential of Open Creative Labs (OCL) as places of innovation and participation. The term Open Creative Labs refers to organizations that provide workspaces and technical infrastructures on a flexible and temporary basis. The research seeks to capture significant features of Open Creative Labs and scrutinizes their spatial distribution across the eleven metropolitan regions in Germany. more

This research project seeks to analyse processes of social construction of economic value from a spatial perspective, using the example of the global fur industry. The main idea is to combine two approaches. In the cultural geographic discourse, contributors highlight that commodities achieve high prices on markets if they are successfully associated with entities representing positive, extra-economic values. more

The lead project looks at new places of creative knowledge collaboration. These places go by different names, e.g. fab labs, coworking spaces or maker's spaces. What they all have in common, however, is the fact that they are permanent organisations which make workspaces and technical infrastructure available to users temporarily, thus demonstrating a high degree of social (curated) openness. more

The DFG research project “Innovations in Planning: How Does Novelty Emerge in the Field of Spatial Planning?” (InnoPlan) analysed the process of developing, spreading and enforcing new planning methods and tools. For this purpose, the social-scientific concept of “social innovations” was transferred to the action fields of urban and regional planning. more

Große Forschungsinfrastrukturen, wie etwa ein Elektronensynchroton oder ein Forschungsreaktor, sind für viele experimentelle Zweige der Grundlageforschung notwendig. Ihre sehr kostspielige Unterhaltung lässt sich jedoch immer weniger allein durch ihren Nutzen für die Grundlagenforschung legitimieren, vielmehr wird vermehrt gefordert, sie sollen auch gesellschaftlichen Nutzen bringen, etwa indem sie Europäische Unternehmen dabei unterstützen, innovativer und damit wettbewerbsfähiger zu werden. In diesem Projekt evaluierte das IRS die Kooperationen von Großforschungseinrichtungen im Ostseeraum im Hinblick auf die dezentrale, verteilte Nutzung der Forschungsinfrastruktur. more

Das IRS erstellte in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Geographischen Institut der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin im Auftrag der Senatsverwaltung für Wirtschaft, Technologie und Forschung eine umfassende Aufstellung der Berliner Lab-Szene. more

Results from empirical spatial research demonstrate that specific actors often play a central role in advancing processes and initiatives of socio-spatial transformation. Approaches, in which the capabilities of political leaders as well as of leading executives in organisations and businesses are conceptualised, have inspired the team to develop a unique approach to characterise key individuals. The approach differentiates between four dimensions. more

Institutional Change and Regional Public Goods

The ESRa project examines factors that characterize regions with a predominantly positive attitude towards energy system transformation from regions with a negative attitude. The project aims at explaining how these factors can be influenced with regard to the realization of a successful energy transition. The project relates this question to the phenomenon of increasing regional disparities and the drifting apart of regions concerning those that draw advantage from globalization processes and those that do not. The success of an energy system transformation will depend considerably on helping less favorably equipped regions to develop and use such resources and skills.<br/> more

The dissertation project uses interpretive discourse analysis (Hajer 1995, 2005, 2008) to examine the political construction of critical infrastructures. The project analyses definitions, sectors and related discourses around ‘critical infrastructure’, using Sweden and Germany as case studies. The research focuses on the local level, particularly on urban areas that see themselves as ‘smart cities’. The discourses on critical infrastructures and smart cities have developed largely independently of each other. This project will link them together to address the question of criticality on a local level. more

This project aims at analysing the climate change policy of the City of Turku and compare it with the experience of three comparable cities, Malmö, Rostock, and Groningen. The City of Turku aims at becoming a carbon-neutral city by 2029. The strategy encompasses an implementation programme and specific measures. Since similar strategies have been decided upon and implemented in many European cities, there is much to learn from other forerunner cities. more

The project “region 4.0” is an alliance of the programme “Wandel durch Innovation in der Region (WIR!)” of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The project alliance comprises relevant actors from the scientific, economic and public sector from Berlin and Brandenburg. The main objective of the “WIR!” alliance is to implement an innovation strategy “region 4.0” which encompasses the development of innovative value networks in the action fields tourism, agriculture/food and public services/infrastructure within the region of Brandenburg (districts Barnim and Uckermark) and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (former district Uecker-Randow). more

The lead project aims to understand the political construction and governance of critical infrastructures in relation to their spatiality. Infrastructures are increasingly viewed in terms of their vulnerability to disruption and the resulting security risks. Political resources are devoted to adequately securing "critical infrastructures" such as water supply and energy networks. <br/>But which infrastructures are considered critical and why? The perception and governance of infrastructures are particularly relevant for cities due to their high concentration of people, infrastructure, economic and cultural assets. Accordingly, urban climate adaptation, which seeks to prepare for disruptions such as extreme weather events, and the digitalisation of urban infrastructures, as a potential improvement tool but also as a possible new source of uncertainty for infrastructure networks, serve as fields of investigation.<br/> more

ExTrass seeks to better prepare medium-sized and large cities in Germany for heavy rainfall and heat. To this end, restraining and enabling factors of urban climate adaptation are analysed and successfull measures are identified. A large part of the project work is undertaken in three case study cities: Potsdam, Remscheid and Würzburg. Here, among other things, the project team tests greening measures, works towards climate-sensitive urban planning, contributes data on city climate, educates the population on risks and improves contingency plans. In addition, opportunities for exchange are created so that cities can better learn from each other. more

The joint research project “ReGerecht” funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research aims at developing and implementing solutions for a fair balance of interests between city, suburbs, and rural areas. It seeks to answer two core questions: How do regional land use conflicts arise? And: How can just solutions for these land use conflicts be found? more

Cities create approximately 70% of all greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time being substantially impacted by climate change. Especially extreme weather occurrences like torrential rain fall, flooding, and heat waves often result in costly property damage, which in result – caused by inept behaviour in dangerous situations and insufficient preparation – often have an adverse effect on citizens’ health. The BMBF research project “Urban Resilience Towards Extreme Weather Incidents – Typology and Transfer of Adaptation Strategies in Small Metropolises and Medium Sized Cities” aims to measurably strengthen the resilience of cities and towns by working closely with administrations, branches of civil protection, and residents. more

The purpose of the ReNEW project within the Leibniz Research Alliance "Energy Transitions" (LVE) is to systematize, advance and disseminate knowledge on three core challenges that are currently confronting the Energiewende: centralized versus decentralized systems, public versus private interests, and global versus local effects. more

The Working Group of the Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (ARL) and its network in Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern explores innovations in the planning system to manage energy transition. more

In komplexen Prozessen sozialräumlichen Wandels kommt es stark auf das Wirken von Einzelnen an – so zumindest die Überzeugung erfahrener Praktiker. Am IRS werden diese Einzelpersonen als Schlüsselfiguren bezeichnet und konzeptualisiert. Doch für die raumbezogenen Sozialwissenschaften benennt die Erkenntnis der herausgehobenen Bedeutung von Schlüsselfiguren eher ein Verständnisproblem als dass es eine Erklärung liefert. Wie können Schlüsselfiguren in die sozialwissenschaftliche Analyse integriert werden? Dieser übergeordneten Frage geht das abteilungsübergreifende Brückenprojekt „Komparative Studien zu Schlüsselfiguren in der Raumentwicklung“ nach. more

The German energy transition has brought about changes as regards spatial structures and the ways they are utilised and at the same time it poses a challenge for spatial policy. The lead project investigates new energy spaces as expressions and vehicles of the energy transition, using empirical analyses from Germany, Canada and Scandinavia. Some examples are the creation of new action areas around renewable energies, tensions between old and new energy regions, and experimentation spaces for energy policy in cities. more

Wind energy is seen as a key technology to achieve climate change objectives and stimulate rural economies. Therefore, many countries support the development of wind turbines. The literature has studied numerous underlying factors regarding the social acceptance of renewable energy facilities, however, there is unclarity about the role of (political) power and discourses in new energy spaces. The dissertation project thus focused on the role that discourse dynamics play in disputes over wind turbines. more

While the German energy transition, Energiewende, is often portrayed as a rural phenomenon, it is widely recognised that the reconfiguration of urban energy systems is a key strategy of climate change mitigation. Thus, there has been a politics revolving about issues how to readjust these systems both technologically and organisationally. In many German cities, debates about to which end urban energy grids should be run, resulted in conflicts about deprivatising urban energy systems – either through state or cooperative ownership. This dissertation project focusses on the cities of Berlin and Hamburg both of which have experienced major conflicts about the future of the city's energy grid and provision. more

The IRS participated in the EU research consortium “Post-Carbon Cities of Tomorrow – foresight for sustainable pathways towards liveable, affordable and prospering cities in a world context (POCACITO)”. This project developed a roadmap for the transition to a sustainable, post-fossil fuel economic model for cities. This concept includes changes to energy systems, water supply, traffic, waste management, regional economic cycles, housing, environmental protection, political governance and education. more

The local level is central for implementing the German energy transition (Energiewende) and resolving numerous energy conflicts. This means that municipalities have to make decisions and take action in a wide range of fields pertaining to energy provision and use. As yet there exists hardly any systematically analysed empirical evidence of options for action and conflict resolution for local processes of restructuring energy systems. The research project EnerLOG aimed to fill this gap. more

The third part of the Joint Spatial Planning Concept for Energy and Climate was focused at the development of cultural landscapes in face of climate change and energy transition. In two pilot regions – Barnim as cultural landscpape in climate change and energy landscape Prignitz – dialog processes have been organized and evaluated. more

Results from empirical spatial research demonstrate that specific actors often play a central role in advancing processes and initiatives of socio-spatial transformation. Approaches, in which the capabilities of political leaders as well as of leading executives in organisations and businesses are conceptualised, have inspired the team to develop a unique approach to characterise key individuals. The approach differentiates between four dimensions. more

Since the turn of the millennium, many EU countries have introduced fixed feed-in tariffs and this has led to a macrocosm of alternatives. Through a number of examples the project aimed to show how and where such a transition is already working. The project financed by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation analysed democratic, ecological and social energy transition projects across the whole of Europe. It investigated their future possibilities and tried to establish a more concrete definition of the concept of ‘energy democracy’. more

Dynamics of Communication, Knowledge and Spatial Development

Everyday life in rural areas is based in a special way on volunteer work, with digital technologies increasingly being used. However, campaigning and funding practice for the digitalization of volunteering in rural areas precedes an inventory of the same: systematic findings on the use of digital tools and practices in volunteering in Germany are so far only rudimentary. Within the project, a differentiated picture of the use and handling of digital technologies in voluntary work in German rural areas, will be elaborated according to spatial types, organizational profiles and age structure of involved volunteers. A well-founded assessment of the opportunities and risks of technology use of technology in rural voluntary work is to be made. more

Rural areas are regularly associated with negative images of problems such as demographic change, loss of infrastructure, or lack of broadband connections. This culminates in attributions such as “dying villages”, “bleeding out”, or “empty landscapes”, especially with regard to structurally weak regions in the eastern German states. For some years, however, a new tone seems to have entered the debate, which rapidly intensified in the wake of the Covid19 pandemic: now urban flight appears as a new trend. The habilitation project is dedicated to the changes in the social constructions of the rural as well as their significance for spatial planning and development by analysing the discursive construction of rural areas and their changes since the 1960s in Germany. more

At the intersection of technical and social innovation, the project "Stadtquartier 4.1" seeks to find out, if and how the introduction of novel logistics and mobility services (such as automated parcel pick-up stations and cargo-bike sharing) in a neighbourhood impacts on local dwellers' behaviours and attitudes related to logistics. Secondly, it seeks to understand the communicative and participatory processes which lead to the introduction of said services into a neighbourhood. Thirdly, it investigates, if and how the social acceptance for novel logistics and mobility services systematically varies between urban and sub-urban environments. The IRS sub-project within the consortium provides knowledge, if and under which conditions technical innovations in the field of urban logistics establish in society and contribute to sustainable urban development. more

Social businesses are increasingly recognised by policy makers, academics, civil society actors and the business sector. In the federal state of Brandenburg, there is a wide range of social businesses. Against this backdrop, the study "Market-Oriented Social Businesses in Brandenburg" seeks to provide the first structured overview of the current state, growth potentials and the need for support of social businesses in Brandenburg. The study commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Energy focusses on market-oriented business, hence, organisations which generate revenues for social causes by positioning new products and services. more

The Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability (GCSMUS), is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) via the DAAD program “Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation – exceed" and based at the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin). GCSMUS seeks to introduce the use of social science research methodologies for the advancement of urban sustainable development, by connecting social sciences methodology, via knowledge transfer, exchange and implementation, with urban policy-making, planning and design. more

Digitalisation as a societal megatrend also changes life in rural areas. Village inhabitants push initiatives to address common problems of rural living with digital technology. The aim of this research project is to better understand rural digitalisation processes and their effects on village communities as well as the (further) development of a theoretical framework to this research object. more

Smart cities are often talked about – but smart villages? Rural areas, particularly in structurally weak regions, are often affected by out-migration and a growing backlog in digital infrastructure and innovation dynamics. Both trends reinforce each other. However, there are examples of villages in which innovative initiatives do not just strive to compensate for deficits, but develop new, situation- and problem-specific local solutions. In doing so, they combine new services with creative uses of digital technologies and sometimes improved digital infrastructures. In this lead project, such initiatives, driven by ‘smart villagers’, are analysed from the perspective of ‘societal innovations’, yet with an emphasis on the aspects of mediatization and digitalization. more

In this project researchers from the IRS department “Dynamics of Communication, Knowledge and Spatial Development” and the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań investigate socio-spatial transformation processes on either side of the German-Polish border, from its opening in 2007 until 2019. The research interest is focused on the question of how debordering, rebordering, and possibly also “interstices” can be systematised. more

Digital visualizations play an important role in urban planning and architecture practice today. Photorealistic renderings are produced in ever increasing quantities during all kinds and stages of planning processes. Questioning the production and use of photorealistic images can enhance understanding of the different rationalities that are being negotiated in urban development processes. more

Guaranteeing the security of a city's inhabitants is a central task of urban policy, particularly so for structural-spatial planning. Policy and planning thus pursue the goal of improving areas perceived to be unsafe, or indeed to prevent the emergence and stigmatisation of no-go areas in the first place. The joint project “Stadtsicherheit3D”, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, systematises the factors for spatial safety assessments, develops scenarios for intervention, catalogues best practices for policy and planning to date, develops new proposals for best practice on the basis of empirical analyses, and at the same time devises a digital planning tool intended to illuminate the corresponding planning processes using 3D city models. more

“Re-Figuration of Spaces” is the first sociology-led Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) to be funded by the German Research Foundation. It aims to investigate the comprehensive spatial reorganisation of global scale that has been caused by an increase in the global circulation of people and goods, the development and dissemination of digital communications technologies, and the thus entailed growth of worldwide interconnections. Prof. Dr. Gabriela Christmann of the IRS is involved in the CRC as a member of the management board and as spokesperson for Project Area B, “Spaces of Communication”, and leads the sub-project “Digital Urban Planning: Planning Practices and Physical Arrangements”. more

Simulation, GIS and CAD software, 3D visualizations, 3D printers and drone technology have become part of the digital infrastructure for planners. They use digital tools and software to analyze, understand and shape the future of cities. The dissertation project investigates how digital arrangements coconstruct the design and planning practicse of urban planners. Martin Schinagl does this by applying methods of qualitative social research and ethnographic workplace research in private and public planning offices. By cross-culturally comparing a number of planning offices in different cities of the world (Lagos, New York, Frankfurt), the project aims to find out how communicative actions and spatial imaginations differ and resemble each other in mediatized working environments. more

Das brandenburgische Ministerium für Bildung, Jugend und Sport (MBJS) hat 2017 eine Kommission eingerichtet, die vor dem Hintergrund des demografischen Wandels im Bundesland Vorschläge für eine zukunftssichere Schulstruktur für den weiterführenden allgemeinbildenden Bereich erarbeiten soll. Das IRS ist mit der Geschäftsstelle beauftragt und übernimmt sowohl organisatorische als auch wissenschaftliche Aufgaben, um die Arbeit der Kommission zu unterstützen. more

In current times, many rural regions in Europe are facing major social and economic problems. With a declining population in rural areas, both the public and private sectors struggle to keep services at the same levels as before. However, due to a decrease in revenue they are often only poorly maintained and as a result can become under-utilised and end up with being withdrawn. Similarly, also local living conditions and quality of life decreases as unemployment rises and skilled labour becomes limited.<br/><br/>These developments are mirrored in the media where structurally weak rural areas face recurring negative discourses. This can further reduce economic opportunities by framing the regions as a less rewarding context for both economic development and for everyday living,... more

The following project starts from the assumption that space is not an inert, background category. Instead, like time, it is performed through specific intra-actions with/in practices (Barad, 2007). This presents a challenge; how to grasp practices intended to change space, such as those in social innovation and territorial transformation which are simultaneously affected by the spaces, or spatialities that they enter? It is in this entangled more-than-human performativity which my research engages. more

The third-party funded, cross-departmental 'MedPlan' research project examines how new media is changing urban development planning. IRS scholars combine approaches from communication and planning studies with a historical perspective on the mediatisation of 20th century urban planning. In addition, the 'MedPlan' project tests a new format for promoting young researchers. more

Changing patterns in the production, consumption and delivery of goods 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 products of mid- and long-term needs. The resultant rise in the quantity of transported goods, and the emergence of intricate delivery networks, pose 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 in an effort to identify and experiment with solutions to such challenges. more

Rural regions – to be understood as areas with a low population density spanning between the local and the state level – are faced with major social and economic problems. In comparison to ‘predominantly urban’ or ‘intermediate’ regions, ‘predominantly rural’ regions, and particularly structurally weak rural regions, are economically less productive, which finds expression by a low level of gross domestic product . They provide a less extensive scope of desired goods and services, opportunities for higher education and qualified job offers. Not least, they are faced with recurring negative discourses on rural problems in public media resulting in negative images. The RURACTION research and training network focuses on these problems in structurally weak rural regions in Europe and on the impact of social entrepreneurship regarding the development of innovative solutions. more

An inseparable part of modern society, innovation is currently acquiring new contours in its relation to society: Societies are becoming innovation societies, in which innovation is one of the main driving forces of change. Innovations in modern society are primarily (re-)produced in innovation fields, i.e. action fields which are constituted by the interactions between actors and which are based on specific, innovation-related topics. In this process, innovation becomes an increasingly reflexive, heterogeneously distributed, and ubiquitous phenomenon. The Graduate School thus addresses the following key question: How does the innovation society constitute its transformations reflexively as innovation? more

The aim of the project is to investigate in how far ways of dealing with aquatic phenomena such as, for example, floods in river regions is influenced by cultural knowledge. It focuses on perceptions of potential vulnerability (constructions of vulnerability) and local risk reduction practices (constructions of resilience). more

In large parts of Europe, structurally weak rural regions are facing similar problems. Economic productivity is low, as is the availability of jobs for qualified people. At the same time, educational and cultural opportunities cannot be provided in these regions to the same extent as in conurbations. This is the starting point for RurInno: It brings together researchers and practitioners from two research institutions and four social enterprises working in rural areas. The partners are pursuing three objectives together: first, promoting knowledge transfer between research and practice; second, improving empirical knowledge of conditions for social innovations in rural areas; and third, increasing the visibility of the work of social enterprises in politics and society. more

In komplexen Prozessen sozialräumlichen Wandels kommt es stark auf das Wirken von Einzelnen an – so zumindest die Überzeugung erfahrener Praktiker. Am IRS werden diese Einzelpersonen als Schlüsselfiguren bezeichnet und konzeptualisiert. Doch für die raumbezogenen Sozialwissenschaften benennt die Erkenntnis der herausgehobenen Bedeutung von Schlüsselfiguren eher ein Verständnisproblem als dass es eine Erklärung liefert. Wie können Schlüsselfiguren in die sozialwissenschaftliche Analyse integriert werden? Dieser übergeordneten Frage geht das abteilungsübergreifende Brückenprojekt „Komparative Studien zu Schlüsselfiguren in der Raumentwicklung“ nach. more

The BMBF research project made a contribution to the development of the town of Bischofswerda and the examination of innovation processes. The Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space IRS was responsible for one part of the project under the title “Scientific concept and support of the future workshop Bischofswerda and evaluation of the overall process”. more

The lead project explores municipalities in structurally weak rural areas where citizens and actors from politics, administration or business seek creative ways to solve local problems. The lead project’s aim is to investigate these innovative projects in rural areas. The civic engagement under study ranges from renewable energies, local supply as well as arts and culture. more

The DFG research project “Innovations in Planning: How Does Novelty Emerge in the Field of Spatial Planning?” (InnoPlan) analysed the process of developing, spreading and enforcing new planning methods and tools. For this purpose, the social-scientific concept of “social innovations” was transferred to the action fields of urban and regional planning. more

Results from empirical spatial research demonstrate that specific actors often play a central role in advancing processes and initiatives of socio-spatial transformation. Approaches, in which the capabilities of political leaders as well as of leading executives in organisations and businesses are conceptualised, have inspired the team to develop a unique approach to characterise key individuals. The approach differentiates between four dimensions. more

Regeneration of Cities and Towns

Das Forschungsprojekt Städtische Ko‑Produktion von Teilhabe und Gemeinwohl, beantragt beim BMBF im Rahmen der Ausschreibung „Gemeinwohl und Teilhabe“, betrachtet Aushandlungsprozesse um Teilhabeansprüche auf städtischer Ebene zwischen zivilgesellschaftlichen Akteuren und kommunalen Verwaltungen. Die Frage, wie die Teilhabevorstellungen und bedingungen durch diese Aushandlungen verändert werden, wird anhand dreier Fallstudien, in denen zivilgesellschaftliche und kommunale Akteuren in Berlin kooperieren, nachgegangen. Das Forschungsprojekt wird im Verbund mit dem Institut für Europäische Urbanistik der Bauhaus-Universität Weimar (IfEU) durchgeführt. Die Fallstudie Wohnen ist am IRS angesiedelt, die Fallstudien Migration und Umwelt am IfEU. more

The PhD project investigates the negotiations of far-right contestations in urban planning and governance processes. It is supervised by Matthias Bernt (Lehrstuhl für Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie, Institut für Sozialwissenschaften, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin) and Laura Calbet i Elias (Fachgebiet Theorien und Methoden der Stadtplanung, Städtebau-Institut, Universität Stuttgart). more

Das Verbundprojekt untersucht Potentiale und Probleme von ehemaligen Stadtumbauquartieren im Wandel zum Einwanderungsquartier. Das Verbundprojekt ist in fünf Teilprojekte gegliedert. Das Teilprojekt 1 "Governance" soll am IRS bearbeitet werden. Es untersucht Planungsgrundlagen und Akteurskonstellationen in den Städten Cottbus, Schwerin und Halle (Saale), um eine bessere Steuerung des Wandels durch kommunale Akteure zu ermöglichen. more

As one of the most pressing issue of our times, immigration has gained particular relevance at the local level. The recent increase of refugee migration to Germany has instigated new negotiation processes in urban policy and planning. At the national level, the transition of Germany into an immigration country is envisaged by the government, and a new immigration law is underway to create new legal pathways for labour migration. Simultaneously, immigration has become a central focus of the mobilisation for new right-wing parties and movements. These current conflicts over immigration lead to a multiplicity of new dilemmas for municipal decision makers. Consequently, this research project investigates how urban migration policies are negotiated and formulated, which actors participate in policy formulation and how migration-related segregation tendencies are addressed. more

Vor dem Hintergrund zunehmender sozialräumlicher Segregation beauftragte die Stadt Halle (Saale) das IRS mit der statistischen Analyse kleinräumlicher sozialräumlicher Veränderungen im Stadtgebiet für den Zeitraum 2014 bis 2017. Ziel der Studie ist es herauszufinden, ob bestimmte Teilgebiete Halles in besonderem Maße durch soziale Problemlagen geprägt sind, und ob der Abstand zwischen diesen Gebieten und dem „Durchschnitt“ Halles zurückgeht oder wächst. more

This project, secured in cooperation with the University of Łódź, thematises various paths in the development of a number of neighbourhoods in both cities following the change of system over 25 years ago. The scientists strive to provide both new findings about the interplay of institutional contexts and socio-spatial differentiation processes, as well as about post-socialist urban development in Middle and Eastern Europe. more

The research aims at studying recent challenges in the development of large housing estates in postsocialist cities. It is based on a comparative approach and includes six case studies in Estonia, Germany, and Russia. Resarch on the neighbourhoods Halle-Neustadt and Berlin-Marzahn will be conducted by the IRS. Thereby, the project focuses on actors, their interests and resources and observes the consequences of their constellations for the development of housing estates. more

Based on the recent increase in migration balances in medium-sized cities, the dissertation examines the question of the extent to which reurbanisation is a relevant development trend for medium-sized cities and which control options arise for public actors in the process of reurbanisation. In order to answer the research question, two case studies of medium-sized cities are dealt with, in which the process of reurbanisation is examined, planning policies for steering reurbanisation are analysed and the influence of local actor constellations and relationships on the steering options of public actors is shown. By combining analytical steps that build on each other, which first examine the process and then the control approaches as well as the actions of local actors in two case studies, it is possible - against the background of the special features of control and planning practice in medium-sized cities - to assess both the possibilities for control and the significance of local reurbanisation drivers in medium-sized cities. The dissertation sets a focus here that contributes to the differentiated examination of research gaps in reurbanisation research. more

Many cities are reliant on immigration to turn their declining populations back into growing ones. Nevertheless, despite the increasing competition for younger inhabitant, students, and qualified professionals, as well as widespread growth policies, cities have to date barely developed their own immigration strategies. The management of immigration has so far been seen as the task of national migration regimes. When it comes to local integration policies, cities react solely to the influx of migrants and the national allocation of refugees and asylum seekers. A linkage between urban-development and integration concepts rarely takes place. more

Handling the cultural diversity resulting from immigration ranks among the greatest challenges facing communities in Germany. Whenever newly arriving groups are added to the existing cultural mix, conflict and phases of further development likewise result. Despite its high urban-policy and social relevance, a systematic consideration of the state of academic discussion on the handling of cultural diversity in urban policy has been lacking. Closing this gap was the aim of a study commissioned by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and prepared by the research department “Regeneration of Cities and Towns” between July 2017 and February 2018. more

The aim of the research project is to explore how migrants from Turkey as an established immigrant group have interpreted and acted on the arrival of the Syrian refugees in Berlin from the 2014 onwards until now and whether the interaction between the two groups has resulted in new spaces in which new contestations and/or solidarity emerge. more

The number of refugees and asylum-seekers increased considerably over the last years in Germany with a peak in 2015. Cities and communities are faced with various challenges and integration-requirements. The research project focusses on adequate housing provision as an important component of integration. It analyses to what extent refugees find housing on the regular housing market. Additionally the study looks at the regional distribution and forms of accommodation during and after the process of seeking asylum. more

Researchers from the IRS, from the Istituto per la Ricerca Sociale (IRS) in Milan, and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) in Brighton are studying the European labour market to derive qualitative and quantitative data on its dynamics on the national and regional level. This cooperative project is part of the European Union's ESPON 2020 programme. The scholars afford special attention to key developments and factors, such as local circumstances and policies, that impact the particular geographical pattern of Europe's labour market. more

This project has connected and provided advanced training to museum staff and other interested parties, helping them reflect on how museums might tackle the topic of migration. For this purpose, three events (in October, November and December 2016) were held in the Berlin/Brandenburg region to fostering dialogue over the way regional museums might portray and explain the increased flow of asylum-seekers to Europe since 2015. more

In komplexen Prozessen sozialräumlichen Wandels kommt es stark auf das Wirken von Einzelnen an – so zumindest die Überzeugung erfahrener Praktiker. Am IRS werden diese Einzelpersonen als Schlüsselfiguren bezeichnet und konzeptualisiert. Doch für die raumbezogenen Sozialwissenschaften benennt die Erkenntnis der herausgehobenen Bedeutung von Schlüsselfiguren eher ein Verständnisproblem als dass es eine Erklärung liefert. Wie können Schlüsselfiguren in die sozialwissenschaftliche Analyse integriert werden? Dieser übergeordneten Frage geht das abteilungsübergreifende Brückenprojekt „Komparative Studien zu Schlüsselfiguren in der Raumentwicklung“ nach. more

Although a number of municipalities have developed strategies and tools to generate new perspectives for historic buildings, it is still a major challenge for many cities – especially those with declining population – to handle un-refurbished and vacant historic buildings to improve the attractiveness of inner city areas. The objective of the research project is to study the current situation, analyze and evaluate strategies and trends. more

Against the background of working out a new, integrated concept for urban development, the City of Halle (Saale) commissioned the IRS with the statistical analysis of small-scale social-spatial change in Halle (Saale) for the period of 2011-2014. The analysis was based on the assessment of municipal statistical data and pursued the goal of identifying changes of the social structure of quarters. more

Coastal regions are and will continue to be strongly affected by mega trends such as environmental change and migration. Traditionally, internal migration originates from but also flows to coastal regions. This particularly applies to international migration as well. At the same time, coastal regions worldwide are strongly impacted by unfolding geomorphological, climatic and societal changes. more

Since the 1990s, European cities have found themselves confronted with structural changes in the economy and increasing socio-spatial disparities, forcing them to reinvent themselves. An overarching theme common to many cities is a shared interest of city governments in encouraging in-migration. However, in many cases, these efforts are accompanied by a discrepancy between the desired immigration of highly-skilled, socially better-off and creative classes, and the partially unplanned influx of migrant workers, temporary residents and refugees. This project examines whether and to what extent this discrepancy feeds back into urban development processes more

Small towns in peripheral regions constitute a unique settlement type in Germany. Their geographical location has a strong impact upon their development dynamics. The more peripheral their location, the greater the threat of population decline. Similarly, peripheral towns are more likely to struggle with unemployment than more centrally located towns. Coping with such complex problems and the consequences of shrinkage represent major challenges for municipal decision-makers. The IRS study on the “Potentials of Small Towns in Peripheral Regions” set out to produce a nuanced picture of the kinds of challenges that small towns in peripheral regions of Germany currently face and might come to expect in the future. more

Results from empirical spatial research demonstrate that specific actors often play a central role in advancing processes and initiatives of socio-spatial transformation. Approaches, in which the capabilities of political leaders as well as of leading executives in organisations and businesses are conceptualised, have inspired the team to develop a unique approach to characterise key individuals. The approach differentiates between four dimensions. more

The purpose of this thesis is to advance the understanding of refugees’ everyday life conditions within the European Union today. While in the years of the cold war the “refugee” was rather seen as a “hero”, nowadays (s)he is represented as a “victim” (Marchetti, 2014b): In the public discourse the word “Refugee” is currently associated to words such as “marginalization”, “poverty”. Indeed most of refugees are experiencing all of this. Moving away from this perspective in this dissertation I consider refugees as social actors in the European Union system; I have focused on their mobility across countries, namely Italy and Germany, because mobility is a necessary – although unequally accessible – resource in order to build a living. This thesis describes and explains the mechanisms that lie in refugees’ lived experiences of discrimination and marginalization, notably focusing on the legal status of refugees and their mobility, analyzing their interaction within the Schengen area. Basing on an ethnographic research, this thesis thus explores and analyses the cross-national mobility of refugees’ within the Schengen area and the living conditions of refugees both in loco and while moving across Turin and Berlin, two cities that are two important knots in the wide spanning web of contacts of refugees who took part in my research. more

Department for Historical Research

Cities affected by the Second World War had to redefine their urban self-image and undertake a revision of their building stock in the face of the impending or real bombing catastrophe. Maps and mapping played a special role in this. The research network "Mapping and Transforming. Interdisciplinary Access to City Maps as a Visual Medium of Urban Transformation in Central and Eastern Europe, 1939-1949" explores functions of city maps in transformation processes for selected cities in Central and Eastern Europe in interdisciplinary cooperation, from the perspective of the humanities and engineering sciences, social geography as well as computer science. The sub-project at the IRS combines heterogeneous and little-researched data sets, maps and archival material to investigate the transformation of selected cities in East Germany and communist Poland. more

“Authenticity” as the purportedly “original”, “pure”, or “true” character of persons, objects or practices has become a major public discourse, a powerful driver of heritage debates and cultural change and a key research issue in the humanities. From theatre and museums studies to heritage conservation and the historical sciences scholars dispute the ways in which authenticity indicates and triggers cultural change in modern societies. While there is a broad consensus among constructivist approaches that historical authenticity was and is always socially and culturally produced, and that there is no such thing as “the pure” or “the original” in terms of materiality, the case of built heritage seems to challenge this approach. Here strong academic and public controversies have emerged on the role and impact of materiality for authenticity. This project is the first to systematically analyse patterns of such discourses in a transnational historiographical perspective. more

Global construction companies impact our futures. Beyond the edifices and infrastructures they construct, they also fundamentally influence governmental development aid policies, or dislocate people to build a new dam, for example. Yet the role of these major global players and their persistent presence in different world regions has barely been reflected upon. Our project investigates how major German construction companies conquered markets and spaces, thereby cementing their presence in different regions of the Global South, and it will trace the footprints left behind, long after the dust of the construction sites settled. It draws on the observation that it is impossible to fully understand the complexity of the built environment in these regions without acknowledging and analysing the role of construction companies such as HOCHTIEF AG or Bilfinger Berger as actors, stakeholders, transnational legal entities and major driving forces in the processes of globalised construction business. However, in previous bodies of research this perspective has been overlooked, except for rare exemptions. more

Architektonische und städtebauliche Planung war in der DDR in Planungskollektiven organisiert, die dem Institutionssystem der DDR entsprechend in volkseigene Planungsbetriebe integriert waren freiberufliche Architekten gab es nur noch in verschwindend geringer Anzahl. Das Projekt untersucht diese Planungskollektive in ihrer administrativen Einbettung und Funktionsweise im politischen System einerseits und in Hinblick auf die künstlerischen Produktionsweisen und das Selbstverständnis der Architekten im Kollektiv andererseits. more

For a long time, it has been commonly assumed that social disparities within and between towns and cities were less pronounced in the socialist system of the GDR compared to the market economy in the West-German Republic. However, newer findings show that there were analogies and parallel developments in both systems which, starting in the 1960s, led to growing socio-spatial disparities in West Germany as well as the GDR. In terms of planning policy responses, too, there are indications of analogous developments. This lead project seeks to develop an integrated analysis framework for the historical study of socio-spatial disparities across system boundaries for the first time, and to apply it empirically. more

Die Gründung des Ministeriums für Aufbau 1949, seine Vorgeschichte und die Transformationen in den 1950er Jahren, kann zum Ausgangspunkt genommen werden, um die komplexen Bezüge zu den Traditionen des Planens und Bauens in Deutschland, zur unmittelbar vorausgegangenen NS-Zeit und zu internationalen Kontexten der Systemkonkurrenz vor und nach 45 herzustellen. Dabei sollen die entscheidenden Weichenstellungen und Paradigmenwechsel, das traditionelle Spannungsverhältnis von Dezentralität und Zentralismus sowie die Frage nach Brüchen oder Kontinuitäten, eingebettet in den internationalen Kontext von Gesellschaften der Moderne im 20. Jahrhundert, im Fokus dieses Forschungsprojekts stehen. more

Welche Rolle spielten Städtebau und Wohnverhältnisse für die friedliche Revolution in der DDR 1989? War der rasante und großflächige Verfall großer Altstadtgebiete bei gleichzeitiger und einseitiger Dominanz des industriellen Plattenbaus ein motivierender Faktor für Bürgerbewegungen? Das vom BMBF geförderte Projekt „StadtWende“ der Historischen Forschungsstelle, das im Januar 2019 mit einer Laufzeit von vier Jahren startete, will diese Frage gründlicher als bisher möglich untersuchen. more

Das Projekt verfolgt das Ziel, mehrere bislang nur punktuell verbundene Forschungsstränge der historischen Forschung zur NS-Zeit zu verbinden. Dazu zählen die Architektur- und Städtebaugeschichte, hier besonders Forschungen zu Repräsentationsbauten und Großplanungen, die allgemeine Institutionengeschichte des NS-Regimes und die kommunalgeschichtliche Forschung, welche in jüngerer Zeit die häufig treibende Rolle lokaler Verwaltungen und Bevölkerungsgruppen bei Unrechtstaten und Verbrechen thematisiert. more

The thesis addresses the changes of East- and West-German planning cultures between 1959 and 1989 along analysing public communication of cases in urban planning. By focussing on historic cases of planning projects on a micro/local level in East and West Berlin, the arenas of public planning communication will be reconstructed. more

The third-party funded, cross-departmental 'MedPlan' research project examines how new media is changing urban development planning. IRS scholars combine approaches from communication and planning studies with a historical perspective on the mediatisation of 20th century urban planning. In addition, the 'MedPlan' project tests a new format for promoting young researchers. more

The project focusses on the question to what extent the architects from the GDR – a country whose building practice was increasingly shaped by the principles of industrial prefabrication – have played a part in regional contexts, structures and construction methods. This implicates the issue of possible freedom of action for the planners in creative transfer and fusion processes. more

In dem Projekt wurden thematisch ergiebige, noch unerschlossene Bestände der Wissenschaftlichen Sammlungen des IRS Erkner zugänglich gemacht und damit für die künftige Forschung zu Bau- und Planungsprozessen in der DDR zur Verfügung gestellt. more

In komplexen Prozessen sozialräumlichen Wandels kommt es stark auf das Wirken von Einzelnen an – so zumindest die Überzeugung erfahrener Praktiker. Am IRS werden diese Einzelpersonen als Schlüsselfiguren bezeichnet und konzeptualisiert. Doch für die raumbezogenen Sozialwissenschaften benennt die Erkenntnis der herausgehobenen Bedeutung von Schlüsselfiguren eher ein Verständnisproblem als dass es eine Erklärung liefert. Wie können Schlüsselfiguren in die sozialwissenschaftliche Analyse integriert werden? Dieser übergeordneten Frage geht das abteilungsübergreifende Brückenprojekt „Komparative Studien zu Schlüsselfiguren in der Raumentwicklung“ nach. more

The debate about the preservation, demolition and conversation of transport infrastructure and architecture in cities is an ongoing topic in the cities with its changing mobility trends. Since the 1960s it is also widely debated in the public media. The thesis analyzes the conflicting and complex historical professional discourse and its reception in the media and wants to identify paths of arguments to get an insight of the current debates by studying four cases in the east and west. more

After 1945, European cities were developed in ways to accommodate road traffic and related mobility patterns. This led to conflicting trends: while the planning principle of the “car-friendly city” was increasingly losing popularity from the 1970s onwards, mobility and car traffic continued to increase in many cities. The lead project investigates central, hitherto unexamined contradictions within these developments by means of several historical case studies. The projects analysis in detail the role of municipal actors, planners and the public, the reshaping of the building stock through street expansion projects, and the link between road traffic and the shaping of open urban space. more

Das Projekt untersuchte die Funktion der DDR-Bezirksverwaltungen für das politische System der DDR und ihr Handeln im Spannungsfeld zentralstaatlicher Vorgaben, regionaler Eigeninteressen und der Machtausübung gegenüber Städten und Gemeinden. Es leistete damit einen Beitrag zur geschichtswissenschaftlichen Forschungsdebatte über das Verhältnis von diktatorisch-zentralistischen Strukturen und eigendynamischen Entwicklungen in staatlichen und gesellschaftlichen Subsystemen der DDR. more

Research Management and Communication

In large parts of Europe, structurally weak rural regions are facing similar problems. Economic productivity is low, as is the availability of jobs for qualified people. At the same time, educational and cultural opportunities cannot be provided in these regions to the same extent as in conurbations. This is the starting point for RurInno: It brings together researchers and practitioners from two research institutions and four social enterprises working in rural areas. The partners are pursuing three objectives together: first, promoting knowledge transfer between research and practice; second, improving empirical knowledge of conditions for social innovations in rural areas; and third, increasing the visibility of the work of social enterprises in politics and society. more

Administration

Das brandenburgische Ministerium für Bildung, Jugend und Sport (MBJS) hat 2017 eine Kommission eingerichtet, die vor dem Hintergrund des demografischen Wandels im Bundesland Vorschläge für eine zukunftssichere Schulstruktur für den weiterführenden allgemeinbildenden Bereich erarbeiten soll. Das IRS ist mit der Geschäftsstelle beauftragt und übernimmt sowohl organisatorische als auch wissenschaftliche Aufgaben, um die Arbeit der Kommission zu unterstützen. more

by Project Type

Lead projects

The lead project aims to understand the political construction and governance of critical infrastructures in relation to their spatiality. Infrastructures are increasingly viewed in terms of their vulnerability to disruption and the resulting security risks. Political resources are devoted to adequately securing "critical infrastructures" such as water supply and energy networks. <br/>But which infrastructures are considered critical and why? The perception and governance of infrastructures are particularly relevant for cities due to their high concentration of people, infrastructure, economic and cultural assets. Accordingly, urban climate adaptation, which seeks to prepare for disruptions such as extreme weather events, and the digitalisation of urban infrastructures, as a potential improvement tool but also as a possible new source of uncertainty for infrastructure networks, serve as fields of investigation.<br/> more

The lead project focalizes digital online platforms as well as their relevance for design processes in the fashion industry. Thus, it addresses the question, to what extent creative collaboration can be digitalized. All platforms have in common that they enact specific interfaces between the "concrete" and the "virtual" world, at which human actions are translated into data and vice versa. The lead project analyses how different specialized digital platforms are used in design processes, and which spatial patters and divisions of labour in creative work emerge as a consequence. The advance of digital platforms into a formerly more analogue industry like fashion bears the potential to fundamentally change spatial arrangements of creativity-based value creation, to the benefit or at the expense of established creative centres. more

Smart cities are often talked about – but smart villages? Rural areas, particularly in structurally weak regions, are often affected by out-migration and a growing backlog in digital infrastructure and innovation dynamics. Both trends reinforce each other. However, there are examples of villages in which innovative initiatives do not just strive to compensate for deficits, but develop new, situation- and problem-specific local solutions. In doing so, they combine new services with creative uses of digital technologies and sometimes improved digital infrastructures. In this lead project, such initiatives, driven by ‘smart villagers’, are analysed from the perspective of ‘societal innovations’, yet with an emphasis on the aspects of mediatization and digitalization. more

For a long time, it has been commonly assumed that social disparities within and between towns and cities were less pronounced in the socialist system of the GDR compared to the market economy in the West-German Republic. However, newer findings show that there were analogies and parallel developments in both systems which, starting in the 1960s, led to growing socio-spatial disparities in West Germany as well as the GDR. In terms of planning policy responses, too, there are indications of analogous developments. This lead project seeks to develop an integrated analysis framework for the historical study of socio-spatial disparities across system boundaries for the first time, and to apply it empirically. more

As one of the most pressing issue of our times, immigration has gained particular relevance at the local level. The recent increase of refugee migration to Germany has instigated new negotiation processes in urban policy and planning. At the national level, the transition of Germany into an immigration country is envisaged by the government, and a new immigration law is underway to create new legal pathways for labour migration. Simultaneously, immigration has become a central focus of the mobilisation for new right-wing parties and movements. These current conflicts over immigration lead to a multiplicity of new dilemmas for municipal decision makers. Consequently, this research project investigates how urban migration policies are negotiated and formulated, which actors participate in policy formulation and how migration-related segregation tendencies are addressed. more

Third-party funded projects

Everyday life in rural areas is based in a special way on volunteer work, with digital technologies increasingly being used. However, campaigning and funding practice for the digitalization of volunteering in rural areas precedes an inventory of the same: systematic findings on the use of digital tools and practices in volunteering in Germany are so far only rudimentary. Within the project, a differentiated picture of the use and handling of digital technologies in voluntary work in German rural areas, will be elaborated according to spatial types, organizational profiles and age structure of involved volunteers. A well-founded assessment of the opportunities and risks of technology use of technology in rural voluntary work is to be made. more

CORAL aims to unpack the latent dynamics and impacts of collaborative workspaces (hereafter CWS, such as coworking spaces, fablabs, creative hubs etc.) in rural and peripheral areas and integrate them as development tools in local and regional policies to open up new potentials for socio-economic development. Whereas we have observed the rapid rise of CWS in urban agglomerations in the past 15 years, there is now a gradual rise of CWS in rural and peripheral areas too. The CORAL project will offer specialised and tailor-made training to 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESR: PhD candidates), helping them to better understand and support the development processes of CWSin rural and peripheral areas and their wider impacts at the local and regional level as well as at the level of the individual worker and the enterprise. more

Cities affected by the Second World War had to redefine their urban self-image and undertake a revision of their building stock in the face of the impending or real bombing catastrophe. Maps and mapping played a special role in this. The research network "Mapping and Transforming. Interdisciplinary Access to City Maps as a Visual Medium of Urban Transformation in Central and Eastern Europe, 1939-1949" explores functions of city maps in transformation processes for selected cities in Central and Eastern Europe in interdisciplinary cooperation, from the perspective of the humanities and engineering sciences, social geography as well as computer science. The sub-project at the IRS combines heterogeneous and little-researched data sets, maps and archival material to investigate the transformation of selected cities in East Germany and communist Poland. more

The ESRa project examines factors that characterize regions with a predominantly positive attitude towards energy system transformation from regions with a negative attitude. The project aims at explaining how these factors can be influenced with regard to the realization of a successful energy transition. The project relates this question to the phenomenon of increasing regional disparities and the drifting apart of regions concerning those that draw advantage from globalization processes and those that do not. The success of an energy system transformation will depend considerably on helping less favorably equipped regions to develop and use such resources and skills.<br/> more

“Authenticity” as the purportedly “original”, “pure”, or “true” character of persons, objects or practices has become a major public discourse, a powerful driver of heritage debates and cultural change and a key research issue in the humanities. From theatre and museums studies to heritage conservation and the historical sciences scholars dispute the ways in which authenticity indicates and triggers cultural change in modern societies. While there is a broad consensus among constructivist approaches that historical authenticity was and is always socially and culturally produced, and that there is no such thing as “the pure” or “the original” in terms of materiality, the case of built heritage seems to challenge this approach. Here strong academic and public controversies have emerged on the role and impact of materiality for authenticity. This project is the first to systematically analyse patterns of such discourses in a transnational historiographical perspective. more

At the intersection of technical and social innovation, the project "Stadtquartier 4.1" seeks to find out, if and how the introduction of novel logistics and mobility services (such as automated parcel pick-up stations and cargo-bike sharing) in a neighbourhood impacts on local dwellers' behaviours and attitudes related to logistics. Secondly, it seeks to understand the communicative and participatory processes which lead to the introduction of said services into a neighbourhood. Thirdly, it investigates, if and how the social acceptance for novel logistics and mobility services systematically varies between urban and sub-urban environments. The IRS sub-project within the consortium provides knowledge, if and under which conditions technical innovations in the field of urban logistics establish in society and contribute to sustainable urban development. more

The Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability (GCSMUS), is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) via the DAAD program “Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation – exceed" and based at the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin). GCSMUS seeks to introduce the use of social science research methodologies for the advancement of urban sustainable development, by connecting social sciences methodology, via knowledge transfer, exchange and implementation, with urban policy-making, planning and design. more

Global construction companies impact our futures. Beyond the edifices and infrastructures they construct, they also fundamentally influence governmental development aid policies, or dislocate people to build a new dam, for example. Yet the role of these major global players and their persistent presence in different world regions has barely been reflected upon. Our project investigates how major German construction companies conquered markets and spaces, thereby cementing their presence in different regions of the Global South, and it will trace the footprints left behind, long after the dust of the construction sites settled. It draws on the observation that it is impossible to fully understand the complexity of the built environment in these regions without acknowledging and analysing the role of construction companies such as HOCHTIEF AG or Bilfinger Berger as actors, stakeholders, transnational legal entities and major driving forces in the processes of globalised construction business. However, in previous bodies of research this perspective has been overlooked, except for rare exemptions. more

Das Verbundprojekt untersucht Potentiale und Probleme von ehemaligen Stadtumbauquartieren im Wandel zum Einwanderungsquartier. Das Verbundprojekt ist in fünf Teilprojekte gegliedert. Das Teilprojekt 1 "Governance" soll am IRS bearbeitet werden. Es untersucht Planungsgrundlagen und Akteurskonstellationen in den Städten Cottbus, Schwerin und Halle (Saale), um eine bessere Steuerung des Wandels durch kommunale Akteure zu ermöglichen. more

Architektonische und städtebauliche Planung war in der DDR in Planungskollektiven organisiert, die dem Institutionssystem der DDR entsprechend in volkseigene Planungsbetriebe integriert waren freiberufliche Architekten gab es nur noch in verschwindend geringer Anzahl. Das Projekt untersucht diese Planungskollektive in ihrer administrativen Einbettung und Funktionsweise im politischen System einerseits und in Hinblick auf die künstlerischen Produktionsweisen und das Selbstverständnis der Architekten im Kollektiv andererseits. more

Welche Rolle spielten Städtebau und Wohnverhältnisse für die friedliche Revolution in der DDR 1989? War der rasante und großflächige Verfall großer Altstadtgebiete bei gleichzeitiger und einseitiger Dominanz des industriellen Plattenbaus ein motivierender Faktor für Bürgerbewegungen? Das vom BMBF geförderte Projekt „StadtWende“ der Historischen Forschungsstelle, das im Januar 2019 mit einer Laufzeit von vier Jahren startete, will diese Frage gründlicher als bisher möglich untersuchen. more

Das Projekt verfolgt das Ziel, mehrere bislang nur punktuell verbundene Forschungsstränge der historischen Forschung zur NS-Zeit zu verbinden. Dazu zählen die Architektur- und Städtebaugeschichte, hier besonders Forschungen zu Repräsentationsbauten und Großplanungen, die allgemeine Institutionengeschichte des NS-Regimes und die kommunalgeschichtliche Forschung, welche in jüngerer Zeit die häufig treibende Rolle lokaler Verwaltungen und Bevölkerungsgruppen bei Unrechtstaten und Verbrechen thematisiert. more

ExTrass seeks to better prepare medium-sized and large cities in Germany for heavy rainfall and heat. To this end, restraining and enabling factors of urban climate adaptation are analysed and successfull measures are identified. A large part of the project work is undertaken in three case study cities: Potsdam, Remscheid and Würzburg. Here, among other things, the project team tests greening measures, works towards climate-sensitive urban planning, contributes data on city climate, educates the population on risks and improves contingency plans. In addition, opportunities for exchange are created so that cities can better learn from each other. more

This project, secured in cooperation with the University of Łódź, thematises various paths in the development of a number of neighbourhoods in both cities following the change of system over 25 years ago. The scientists strive to provide both new findings about the interplay of institutional contexts and socio-spatial differentiation processes, as well as about post-socialist urban development in Middle and Eastern Europe. more

The research aims at studying recent challenges in the development of large housing estates in postsocialist cities. It is based on a comparative approach and includes six case studies in Estonia, Germany, and Russia. Resarch on the neighbourhoods Halle-Neustadt and Berlin-Marzahn will be conducted by the IRS. Thereby, the project focuses on actors, their interests and resources and observes the consequences of their constellations for the development of housing estates. more

In the past twenty years, the number of students completing university studies in a foreign country has constantly been on the rise. In addition, many universities are investing in international branch campuses (IBCs) abroad. These are initial indices for a parallel globalisation of knowledge-intensive branches of the economy and of the university landscape. The Leibniz Junior Research Group “Constructing Transnational Spaces of Higher Education” (TRANSEDU) is concerned with the relationship between globalised economic processes and the internationalisation of the academic and research landscapes. more

The DFG- scientific network “The Spaces of Global Production: The Territorial Dimensions of Global Production Networks and World City Networks” connects scholars from Germany, Luxemburg and Belgium to exchange ideas and contribute to debates on the economic geographies of globalisation. more

“Re-Figuration of Spaces” is the first sociology-led Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) to be funded by the German Research Foundation. It aims to investigate the comprehensive spatial reorganisation of global scale that has been caused by an increase in the global circulation of people and goods, the development and dissemination of digital communications technologies, and the thus entailed growth of worldwide interconnections. Prof. Dr. Gabriela Christmann of the IRS is involved in the CRC as a member of the management board and as spokesperson for Project Area B, “Spaces of Communication”, and leads the sub-project “Digital Urban Planning: Planning Practices and Physical Arrangements”. more

The IRS is a participant in the “Innovation Hub13 – fast track to transfer”, a project funded as part of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research's (BMBF's) “Innovative Hochschule” initiative, and obtained by the Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau and the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg. Prof. Dr. Suntje Schmidt developed the sub-project “Open Region: Regional Challenges as Starting Points for Innovation”, which resides at the intersection of innovation promotion and regional development. The aim of the project is to create the conditions for the integration of until now unconsidered innovation actors, in order to develop cooperative solutions for regionally relevant problem areas in Brandenburg. more

Many cities are reliant on immigration to turn their declining populations back into growing ones. Nevertheless, despite the increasing competition for younger inhabitant, students, and qualified professionals, as well as widespread growth policies, cities have to date barely developed their own immigration strategies. The management of immigration has so far been seen as the task of national migration regimes. When it comes to local integration policies, cities react solely to the influx of migrants and the national allocation of refugees and asylum seekers. A linkage between urban-development and integration concepts rarely takes place. more

The research project “Coping With Crises in a Resilient Manner” (RESKIU) deals with the potential for crises to provide solutions, and seeks to explore what can be done by the involved actors not only to mitigate the symptoms of crises, but also to create and use “opportunities” for structural change. The project has a duration of four years and brings together basic and applied research on crises. more

Completed third-party funded projects

Qualification projects

Rural areas are regularly associated with negative images of problems such as demographic change, loss of infrastructure, or lack of broadband connections. This culminates in attributions such as “dying villages”, “bleeding out”, or “empty landscapes”, especially with regard to structurally weak regions in the eastern German states. For some years, however, a new tone seems to have entered the debate, which rapidly intensified in the wake of the Covid19 pandemic: now urban flight appears as a new trend. The habilitation project is dedicated to the changes in the social constructions of the rural as well as their significance for spatial planning and development by analysing the discursive construction of rural areas and their changes since the 1960s in Germany. more

The dissertation project uses interpretive discourse analysis (Hajer 1995, 2005, 2008) to examine the political construction of critical infrastructures. The project analyses definitions, sectors and related discourses around ‘critical infrastructure’, using Sweden and Germany as case studies. The research focuses on the local level, particularly on urban areas that see themselves as ‘smart cities’. The discourses on critical infrastructures and smart cities have developed largely independently of each other. This project will link them together to address the question of criticality on a local level. more

The PhD project investigates the negotiations of far-right contestations in urban planning and governance processes. It is supervised by Matthias Bernt (Lehrstuhl für Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie, Institut für Sozialwissenschaften, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin) and Laura Calbet i Elias (Fachgebiet Theorien und Methoden der Stadtplanung, Städtebau-Institut, Universität Stuttgart). more

Digitalisation as a societal megatrend also changes life in rural areas. Village inhabitants push initiatives to address common problems of rural living with digital technology. The aim of this research project is to better understand rural digitalisation processes and their effects on village communities as well as the (further) development of a theoretical framework to this research object. more

Climate impacts, terror attacks, major technical accidents: Keywords like these indicate situations of fundamental threat, urgency and uncertainty with which social systems of various scales are confronted today. This is on particular display during the Covid-19 pandemic. Has the “world risk society” (Beck 2007) possibly transformed into a “world crisis society” already? more

The thesis addresses the changes of East- and West-German planning cultures between 1959 and 1989 along analysing public communication of cases in urban planning. By focussing on historic cases of planning projects on a micro/local level in East and West Berlin, the arenas of public planning communication will be reconstructed. more

In her dissertation project, Anna Oechslen studies how graphic designers in India navigate their everyday work practices using so-called crowdwork platforms. These online platforms play an increasing role in mediating work relations, providing an infrastructure to connect workers and clients on a global scale. Platform workers perform a lot of invisible work to make and sustain connections in a context where hardly anything is institutionalised. more

Digital visualizations play an important role in urban planning and architecture practice today. Photorealistic renderings are produced in ever increasing quantities during all kinds and stages of planning processes. Questioning the production and use of photorealistic images can enhance understanding of the different rationalities that are being negotiated in urban development processes. more

Simulation, GIS and CAD software, 3D visualizations, 3D printers and drone technology have become part of the digital infrastructure for planners. They use digital tools and software to analyze, understand and shape the future of cities. The dissertation project investigates how digital arrangements coconstruct the design and planning practicse of urban planners. Martin Schinagl does this by applying methods of qualitative social research and ethnographic workplace research in private and public planning offices. By cross-culturally comparing a number of planning offices in different cities of the world (Lagos, New York, Frankfurt), the project aims to find out how communicative actions and spatial imaginations differ and resemble each other in mediatized working environments. more

In current times, many rural regions in Europe are facing major social and economic problems. With a declining population in rural areas, both the public and private sectors struggle to keep services at the same levels as before. However, due to a decrease in revenue they are often only poorly maintained and as a result can become under-utilised and end up with being withdrawn. Similarly, also local living conditions and quality of life decreases as unemployment rises and skilled labour becomes limited.<br/><br/>These developments are mirrored in the media where structurally weak rural areas face recurring negative discourses. This can further reduce economic opportunities by framing the regions as a less rewarding context for both economic development and for everyday living,... more

Cross-departmental Projects

Cross-departmental projects are financed by the IRS and constitute the second key pillar of basic research conducted at the institute. They are characterised by cross-departmental cooperation on fundamental research questions from social science-based spatial research, and by an inter- and transdisciplinary perspective. Cross-departmental projects, like lead projects, are integrated into the institute's research programmes.

Lead Projects

Lead projects are financed by the IRS and constitute an integral element of the institute's research programmes, which have a duration of three to four years. Each research department runs one lead project, which is defined by practice-oriented basic research.

Third-party Funded Projects

Third-party funded research projects complement the institute's lead and cross-departmental projects, focussing in detail on their respective research questions and examining broader issues of real-world applicability. Third-party funded projects also provide an opportunity to explore new research fields or to pursue strategic goals like promoting early stage researchers.

Qualification Projects

The projects of doctoral and Habilitation researchers constitute an integral element of the institute's research departments. Projects of this kind investigate issues closely related to research questions examined in lead and third-party funded projects. In this sense, they contribute to shaping the IRS' research profile and help foster cooperative partnerships with universities.