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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

10. March | 2021

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

26. November | 2020

The Finnish city of Turku is considered a pioneer in urban climate policy. It wants to be climate-neutral by 2029. On behalf of the city and in cooperation with the Åbo Akademi University, the IRS is investigating in the project "Matching Forerunner Cities" (MaFoCi) what Turku can learn from similarly positioned cities in the North and Baltic Sea region in terms of climate protection, and what the cities can learn from each other. Now the final workshop of the project took place. The publication of results is expected in early 2021. more info