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The research focuses on institutional arrangements and forms of governance for collectively used goods (public goods) against the background of the interplay between centralised decision-making in a multilevel state system, on the one hand, and decentralised action on the other. In the context of the current worldwide renaissance of research on public goods, the department’s interest centres on the spatial dimensions of such goods, in what way they are interdependent and how they are constituted through social construction. Thematically, the focus is on the production, distribution and use of energy. This work is complemented by insight from the established field of cultural landscape research. From a conceptual point of view, the department explores new strands of research on institutions and public goods, and examines these from the perspective of "power", "materiality" and "people".

Ongoing lead project

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