Foto: Animaflora PicsStock/

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 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. March | 2022 | News

Since 2018, the ExTrass project of the IRS research group Urban Sustainability Transformations has been researching how active German cities – especially medium-sized cities and smaller large cities – are in climate policy: What they are doing to adapt to increasing extreme weather events, but also to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. In cooperation with the University of Potsdam and other partners, the team developed both a quantitative overview and detailed qualitative case studies. Now a two-year transfer phase has begun, in which the ExTrass research results will be translated even more strongly into recommendations for planning and municipal policy practice. more info

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


IRS Seminar
12. July | 2022
IRS Seminar with Alessandro Coppola | Assistant Professor in Urban Planning at the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies at Politecnico di Milano

Italy has been long-time considered the poster child of the southern-European housing regimes, featuring high homeownership rates, relevant housing informality practices, the centrality of families and the residualisation of public housing. 20-year-long stagnation and austerity have not changed these fundamental features, as the state increasingly strengthened its nature as a real-estate state both as a privatizater and developer of its own assets and as an enabler of individual property through mortgage deductions, de-taxation of all primary residences, lower taxes on inter-generational transfers and massive fiscal credits for the retrofitting of both primary and secondary homes. more infos

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