Research Group

Urban Politics

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. Taking an actor-centred perspective on urban politics, the group’s current interests are in the changing nature of urban governance arrangements. Across the world, we witness urban conflicts that call into question established assumptions about cooperation and network-based partnerships in the governing of cities. Thus, the group’s research is concerned with the ways in which these challenges require new approaches to the study of planning and decision-making processes in cities.

Ongoing Projects

Whether it is protests against large-scale projects such as Stuttgart 21, wind turbines or development plans in growing cities: Spatial planning is increasingly confronted with conflicts. In this context, the classic forms of citizen participation are reaching their limits. The aim of this project is to further develop existing planning theories by distinguishing between rational, communicative and agonistic - i.e. conflict-related - types of planning in dealing with conflicts and by examining planning conflicts using empirical case studies in practice. more

Germany has officially been a country of immigration since 2005. Ten years later, the arrival and reception of Syrian civil war refugees, as well as the current arrival of Ukrainian refugees, have shown how much the state and society have changed. Since May 2019, the joint project StadtumMig I has been examining these changes in selected large housing estates in three eastern German cities. Building on these results, the second phase of the project will work on central challenges in the municipalities in greater depth. 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

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