The department studies processes of urban regeneration and considers these as crucial for the nuanced understanding of urban transformations. The research centers on planning practices that address socio-spatial inequalities and fragmentations within and between cities. We focus on local governance strategies applied by actors from politics, public administration and civil society dealing with increasingly global challenges. These include, for example, migration and the redistribution of resources among different population groups. The department predominately focuses on medium-sized European cities that underwent major structural changes, and responded with policies tailored to these specific challenges.

Particular emphasis is placed on urban development policies in the context of the urban redevelopment programme “Stadtumbau”. This is reflected in  the Federal Transfer Office on “Urban Redevelopment in the New Federal States” which was set up by the Federal government from 2004 to 2016 with the task to support the dissemination of expertise on urban redevelopment and is hosted at the IRS. 

Ongoing lead project

As one of the most pressing issue of our times, immigration has gained particular relevance at the local level. The recent increase of refugee migration to Germany has instigated new negotiation processes in urban policy and planning. At the national level, the transition of Germany into an immigration country is envisaged by the government, and a new immigration law is underway to create new legal pathways for labour migration. Simultaneously, immigration has become a central focus of the mobilisation for new right-wing parties and movements. These current conflicts over immigration lead to a multiplicity of new dilemmas for municipal decision makers. Consequently, this research project investigates how urban migration policies are negotiated and formulated, which actors participate in policy formulation and how migration-related segregation tendencies are addressed. more

24. September | 2020

Due to the social polarisation and pluralisation of our society, conflicts in planning are increasing. There is hardly a project today that is not protested against. Well-known examples are Stuttgart 21, the development of the Tempelhofer Feld in Berlin, citizens' initiatives against wind power - and currently also the new Tesla factory in Grünheide near Berlin. How can planning deal with these conflicts? Agonistic planning theory sees conflicts as inherent in a pluralistic democracy and regards them as motors for change. A new paper by Manfred Kühn, which has now been published in the renowned journal Planning Theory, critically examines agonistic planning theory and describes some of the dilemmas that arise in planning practice. more info

19. July | 2020

Since 2015, international migration to Germany has become a top topic of many political debates. In many East German cities, these debates are also taking place against the background of a growing concentration of refugees in certain residential areas. Especially peripheral prefabricated housing estates are currently developing into new "arrival neighbourhoods". This development raises many new questions in planning practice: Are the quarters in question developing into stepping stones that facilitate the integration of immigrants - or are new "ghettos" emerging here? What new tasks and needs arise at the neighbourhood level? How is this development processed politically? Two events were held at the IRS in July 2020, during which the challenges of arrivals' neighbourhoods were intensively discussed. more info