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The Research Area analyses the political negotiation, planning and transformation of the social and spatial development of cities and regions. It primarily examines the governance of increasingly uncertain, complex and ambiguous constellations. The research is based on the observation that current developments such as climate change, global migration, increasing socio-spatial disparities as well as political polarisation, protests and conflicts put cooperative governance arrangements under pressure. Through its research on common goods as housing, urban infrastructures as well as a climate-neutral, climate-resilient and sustainable urban and regional development, the Research Area contributes to a better understanding of governing cities and regions in multilevel systems. Knowledge transfer addresses policy makers and administrations, but also energy and housing companies, associations and civil society organisations.

Ongoing Lead Project

The project "Conflicts in Planning" examines large-scale projects as profound disruptions that shake the well-rehearsed routines of institutions and can lead to institutional change. The project examines the large-scale project of the Tesla settlement in comparison to other case studies with regard to disruptive effects on policy and planning and thus tests the transferability of the term disruption to policy and planning research. more


29. September | 2021 | News

An article co-authored by IRS researcher Peter Eckersley, together with Charlotte Burns (Department of Politics, University of Sheffield) and Paul Tobin (School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester), has been awarded the 2020 “Best Paper Prize” by the Journal of European Public Policy. The paper, “EU Environmental Policy in Times of Crisis”, quantifies the level of ambition of European environmental legislation and tracks the decline of ambition following the global financial crisis of 2009. more info

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10. March | 2021 | News

The Leibniz Research Alliance "Energy Transition" combines the expertise of 20 Leibniz institutes in the field of energy research. Under the title "Energy Futures - Emerging Pathways in an Uncertain World!", the final conference of the alliance took place from 22 to 26 February 2021. Due to the pandemic, the event originally planned for May 2020 had already been postponed once by one year. Now it was held as a purely online conference. It attracted a broad international audience of around 500 participants and was able to attract renowned keynote speakers such as Benjamin Sovacool (University of Sussex) and Sheila Jasanoff (Harvard University), who have a significant influence on the field of social science energy and climate research. more info


Research Groups

Foto: artfocus/

Sustainability and climate policy is increasingly being shaped under the impression of drastic disruptive events: Heavy rainfall events and heat waves, but also sudden changes in social and political priorities challenge established institutional procedures and planning processes. Against this background, the Research Group investigates the prerequisites and possibilities of local and regional sustainability and climate policy as well as the sustainable transformation of cities. more infos

Foto: moritz/

The Research Group focuses on how political processes, negotiations and inequalities manifest in the planning of cities. Comprehending cities as political arenas, our research revolves around global themes such the financialisation of urban development, socio-spatial disparities and international migration. more infos