© rcfotostock/fotolia.de
© rcfotostock/fotolia.de

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".

Photo: © rcfotostock/fotolia.de

Ongoing lead project

The lead project’s aim is to better understand the political construction and the governance of critical infrastructures in conjunction with their spatial dimension. Infrastructures are increasingly considered regarding their vulnerability to disruption and the security risks resulting from it. Political resources are mobilized to appropriately secure ‘critical infrastructures’ such as communications and energy networks. But which infrastructures are considered critical and why? Which governance approaches are used to manage infrastructure-related risks? Urban climate change adaptation and energy transitions are two fields in which the aspect of infrastructural criticality receives increasing attention. Therefore, they will be in the centre of analysis in this lead project. more

21. May | 2020

A new special issue of the journal “Innovation” guest-edited by Timmo Krüger (IRS) and Victoria Pellicer-Sifres (Universitat Politècnica de València) addresses power and conflict in societal responses to ecologic crises, particularly in efforts to transform energy systems, as well as approaches to study said responses. Ironically, given the remit of their publication outlet, the editors make clear from the outset that they believe innovation, more precisely social innovation, is not a concept that helps in understanding or advancing the necessary social and ecological transformations. Instead they point at alternative economic logics, such as degrowth, which do not promise alternative paths towards modernization and development, but rather alternatives to modernisation. The collection of eight articles emerged from encounters fostered by the Leibniz Research Alliance on Energy Transitions, and reflects the growing interest of transformation research, carried out at the IRS and elsewhere, in the idea of degrowth or postgrowth economies. more info

25. November | 2020 - 27. November | 2020

Regions are of critical importance to implement the UN 2030 Agenda including the Sustainable Development Goals, the HABITAT III objectives and the European Green Deal. By focusing on sustainable and resilient urban-rural partnerships, the international URP2020 conference aims at developing new urban-rural imaginaries, integrating strategies and projects that explore present and future potentials in terms of sustainability and resilience. more infos