Foto: Andreas Praefcke /Eigenes Werk/CC BY 3.0/

The Research Area addresses problems of design, planning and appropriation of spaces in recent history. The focus is laid on the history of urbanisation, architecture and urban planning in the GDR, the significance of materiality in the historical transformation of the built environment, and cross-border cooperation in spatial development. Research projects are focussing on the historical roots of current socio-spatial processes and opens the view for long-term continuities as well as for breaks and crises in spatial development. It also deals with current problems of preserving the architectural heritage and the value of the past in the present. Another focus is on questions concerning new forms of archiving and documentation of current processes in the fields of planning and building for future generations in times of digitalisation, such as digital architectural designs. Special interest is given to methods and approaches of digital history. Priority addressees are the broader public, civil society initiatives, and municipalities, ministries and museums. In addition, consulting services are developed for other archives, especially small ones.

Ongoing Lead Project

The lead project "Social-Spatial Transformations in Berlin-Brandenburg 1980 - 2000" deals with the world-historical disruption of 1989/90 in its political-social causes and consequences in Berlin-Brandenburg. more


14. June | 2022 | News
Looking Back on the 2022 IRS Spring Academy "Spaces of Infection"

For the first time since the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic, the IRS Spring Academy took place again in Erkner and Berlin at the end of May 2022. The event series is aimed at international doctoral and post-doctoral researchers in the interdisciplinary field of spatial research. They get the opportunity to work intensively together on a topic, to exchange ideas across disciplines and to network. With its special mix of formats, the Spring Academy addresses the needs of researchers in the early stages of their careers. The theme of the Spring Academy 2022 was "Spaces of Infection". The Robert Koch Institute was the local partner. more info

26. January | 2022 | News

At the end of 2021, the Franco-German Historians Committee awarded the dissertation prize to historian Daniel Hadwiger, a researcher at the IRS, for his study “Nationale Solidarität und ihre Grenzen. Die deutsche Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt und der französische Secours national im Zweiten Weltkrieg“ (“National Solidarity and its Borders. The German National Socialist People's Welfare and the French Secours national in the Second World War”). In the presence of the Board of the Historians Committee, the Director of the Centre Marc Bloch, Prof. Jakob Vogel, and the representative of the Science Department of the French Embassy in Berlin, Dr. Bernard Ludwig, the prize was ceremoniously awarded at the Centre Marc Bloch on 18 November 2021. more info


Colored damage map of Axis bombings on ΛAPIΣA during World War II. Delineates between complete destruction, severe and slight damage, as well as areas left untouched. David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
20. October | 2022 - 21. October | 2022

Research Groups

Foto: Martin Püschel/Eigenes Werk/CC BY-SA 3.0/

The Research Group is interested in the interactions between creative processes, work and processes of economic and social change. In this context, local manifestations of dynamics such as digitalisation, social transformation processes and increasing multilocality of gainful employment are investigated. more infos

The Junior Research Group is emerging/stems from from the Volkswagen Foundation-funded Freigeist project "Conquering (with) Concrete. German Construction Companies as Global Players in Local Contexts" (2020 to 2024). It examines histories of the built environment in the 19th and 20th century in a global perspective. more infos

The research infrastructure group indexes analogue and digital archival holdings and makes them accessible online. The core is formed by the Scientific Collections for the History of Building and Planning in the GDR, which, as a special archive for the recent history of spatial development in East Germany, are available to international research as well as to the general public. more infos