Dynamics of Economic Spaces

The lead project looks at new places of creative knowledge collaboration. These places go by different names, e.g. fab labs, coworking spaces or maker's spaces. What they all have in common, however, is the fact that they are permanent organisations which make workspaces and technical infrastructure available to users temporarily, thus demonstrating a high degree of social (curated) openness. more

Technologieparks wird heute eine wichtige Rolle für die Stadt- und Regionalentwicklung zugeschrieben. In ihnen sollen durch die räumliche Nachbarschaft zwischen Forschungs- und Wissenschaftseinrichtungen einerseits und wissensintensiven, technologisch orientierten Unternehmen andererseits wirtschaftlich relevante Synergien entstehen. Im Zentrum des vom IRS in Leadpartnerschaft durchgeführten Projektes stand die Verbesserung des Wissensnetzwerkmanagements in Technologieparks in sechs Europäischen Regionen. Durch den inter-regionalen Austausch und Vergleich von Konzepten, Erfahrungen, Politikinstrumenten sowie Ideen sollte sich das Management von Technologieparks in allen Regionen verbessern. more

Institutional Change and Regional Public Goods

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

The purpose of the ReNEW project within the Leibniz Research Alliance "Energy Transitions" (LVE) is to systematize, advance and disseminate knowledge on three core challenges that are currently confronting the Energiewende: centralized versus decentralized systems, public versus private interests, and global versus local effects. more

The German energy transition has brought about changes as regards spatial structures and the ways they are utilised and at the same time it poses a challenge for spatial policy. The lead project investigates new energy spaces as expressions and vehicles of the energy transition, using empirical analyses from Germany, Canada and Scandinavia. Some examples are the creation of new action areas around renewable energies, tensions between old and new energy regions, and experimentation spaces for energy policy in cities. more

Wind energy is seen as a key technology to achieve climate change objectives and stimulate rural economies. Therefore, many countries support the development of wind turbines. The literature has studied numerous underlying factors regarding the social acceptance of renewable energy facilities, however, there is unclarity about the role of (political) power and discourses in new energy spaces. The dissertation project thus focused on the role that discourse dynamics play in disputes over wind turbines. more

While the German energy transition, Energiewende, is often portrayed as a rural phenomenon, it is widely recognised that the reconfiguration of urban energy systems is a key strategy of climate change mitigation. Thus, there has been a politics revolving about issues how to readjust these systems both technologically and organisationally. In many German cities, debates about to which end urban energy grids should be run, resulted in conflicts about deprivatising urban energy systems – either through state or cooperative ownership. This dissertation project focusses on the cities of Berlin and Hamburg both of which have experienced major conflicts about the future of the city's energy grid and provision. more

The IRS participated in the EU research consortium “Post-Carbon Cities of Tomorrow – foresight for sustainable pathways towards liveable, affordable and prospering cities in a world context (POCACITO)”. This project developed a roadmap for the transition to a sustainable, post-fossil fuel economic model for cities. This concept includes changes to energy systems, water supply, traffic, waste management, regional economic cycles, housing, environmental protection, political governance and education. more

The local level is central for implementing the German energy transition (Energiewende) and resolving numerous energy conflicts. This means that municipalities have to make decisions and take action in a wide range of fields pertaining to energy provision and use. As yet there exists hardly any systematically analysed empirical evidence of options for action and conflict resolution for local processes of restructuring energy systems. The research project EnerLOG aimed to fill this gap. more

The third part of the Joint Spatial Planning Concept for Energy and Climate was focused at the development of cultural landscapes in face of climate change and energy transition. In two pilot regions – Barnim as cultural landscpape in climate change and energy landscape Prignitz – dialog processes have been organized and evaluated. more

The energy transition to post-fossil and post-nuclear regional development places tremendous demands on existing institutional arrangements and forms of governance related to energy, cultural landscapes and regional policy-making. Focusing on energy supply as a field of action, the main objective of the Lead Project of Research Department 2 was to identify the importance of materiality and power for theoretical research on regional public goods. more

The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) has brought about significant changes in the spatial regulation of water resources. Stakeholders at European, national and subnational levels have begun developing multi-scalar forms of cooperation. Moreover, with the focus on the ‘River Basin District’, a new means of planning water management in Germany was created, one which cuts across existing political-administrative boundaries. The project funded by the German Research Foundation focused on state and societal actors attempting to influence the implementation of the WFD through action on a variety of spatial levels. more

This collaborative project aimed to develop and implement climate change adaptation strategies in the Berlin-Brandenburg region in a broad-based and emblematic manner. The goal was to develop proposals for an institutional adaptation of water management to the impacts of climate change in small catchment areas and to assess their applicability through a participatory process. more

Dynamics of Communication, Knowledge and Spatial Development

Rural regions – to be understood as areas with a low population density spanning between the local and the state level – are faced with major social and economic problems. In comparison to ‘predominantly urban’ or ‘intermediate’ regions, ‘predominantly rural’ regions, and particularly structurally weak rural regions, are economically less productive, which finds expression by a low level of gross domestic product . They provide a less extensive scope of desired goods and services, opportunities for higher education and qualified job offers. Not least, they are faced with recurring negative discourses on rural problems in public media resulting in negative images. The RURACTION research and training network focuses on these problems in structurally weak rural regions in Europe and on the impact of social entrepreneurship regarding the development of innovative solutions. more

In large parts of Europe, structurally weak rural regions are facing similar problems. Economic productivity is low, as is the availability of jobs for qualified people. At the same time, educational and cultural opportunities cannot be provided in these regions to the same extent as in conurbations. This is the starting point for RurInno: It brings together researchers and practitioners from two research institutions and four social enterprises working in rural areas. The partners are pursuing three objectives together: first, promoting knowledge transfer between research and practice; second, improving empirical knowledge of conditions for social innovations in rural areas; and third, increasing the visibility of the work of social enterprises in politics and society. more

Das Projekt befasste sich mit Raumpionieren, die in sozial benachteiligten Stadtquartieren versuchen, neuartige, sozial-innovative Projekte entweder selbst zu entwickeln oder aber neue Projekte von andernorts aufzugreifen, zu modifizieren und vor Ort mit dem Ziel der Verbesserung von Lebensqualität umzusetzen. Die Akteure sind mit ihrem sozial-innovativ und reflexiv angelegten Handeln potenzielle Motoren für die Quartiersentwicklung. Das Projekt knüpfte an Diskussionen um zivilgesellschaftliches Engagement und Konfliktbeziehungen zwischen Akteuren der Bottom-up- und Top-down-Ebene in der Raumentwicklung an. more

Ways of handling climate change vary worldwide. Differences can be observed in the perception of potential threats and opportunities as well as in the appraisal of adequate coping strategies. Collective efforts often fail not because of technical restrictions, but owing to social and cultural differences between agents involved. Consequently, there is a need to explore in greater depth those "zones of cultural friction” which emerge when agents deal with climate change. In his dissertation project Thorsten Heimann exermined, what kinds of “climate cultures” can be observed within European Coastal Areas, what the discriminants of different “climate cultures” are and/or how different climate cultures be can explained. more

The project “How societies deal with Climate Change” - a part of the “Potsdam Research Cluster for Georisk Analysis, Environmental Change and Sustainability” (PROGRESS) - funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) used social-scientific methods to examine how changes in climate are anticipated, perceived, and transformed into action in the North Sea and Baltic Sea regions. more

Regeneration of Cities and Towns

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

Vor dem Hintergrund zunehmender sozialräumlicher Segregation beauftragte die Stadt Halle (Saale) das IRS mit der statistischen Analyse kleinräumlicher sozialräumlicher Veränderungen im Stadtgebiet für den Zeitraum 2014 bis 2017. Ziel der Studie ist es herauszufinden, ob bestimmte Teilgebiete Halles in besonderem Maße durch soziale Problemlagen geprägt sind, und ob der Abstand zwischen diesen Gebieten und dem „Durchschnitt“ Halles zurückgeht oder wächst. 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

The research aims at studying recent challenges in the development of large housing estates in postsocialist cities. It is based on a comparative approach and includes six case studies in Estonia, Germany, and Russia. Resarch on the neighbourhoods Halle-Neustadt and Berlin-Marzahn will be conducted by the IRS. Thereby, the project focuses on actors, their interests and resources and observes the consequences of their constellations for the development of housing estates. more

The number of refugees and asylum-seekers increased considerably over the last years in Germany with a peak in 2015. Cities and communities are faced with various challenges and integration-requirements. The research project focusses on adequate housing provision as an important component of integration. It analyses to what extent refugees find housing on the regular housing market. Additionally the study looks at the regional distribution and forms of accommodation during and after the process of seeking asylum. more

Although a number of municipalities have developed strategies and tools to generate new perspectives for historic buildings, it is still a major challenge for many cities – especially those with declining population – to handle un-refurbished and vacant historic buildings to improve the attractiveness of inner city areas. The objective of the research project is to study the current situation, analyze and evaluate strategies and trends. more

Against the background of working out a new, integrated concept for urban development, the City of Halle (Saale) commissioned the IRS with the statistical analysis of small-scale social-spatial change in Halle (Saale) for the period of 2011-2014. The analysis was based on the assessment of municipal statistical data and pursued the goal of identifying changes of the social structure of quarters. more

Since the 1990s, European cities have found themselves confronted with structural changes in the economy and increasing socio-spatial disparities, forcing them to reinvent themselves. An overarching theme common to many cities is a shared interest of city governments in encouraging in-migration. However, in many cases, these efforts are accompanied by a discrepancy between the desired immigration of highly-skilled, socially better-off and creative classes, and the partially unplanned influx of migrant workers, temporary residents and refugees. This project examines whether and to what extent this discrepancy feeds back into urban development processes more

Small towns in peripheral regions constitute a unique settlement type in Germany. Their geographical location has a strong impact upon their development dynamics. The more peripheral their location, the greater the threat of population decline. Similarly, peripheral towns are more likely to struggle with unemployment than more centrally located towns. Coping with such complex problems and the consequences of shrinkage represent major challenges for municipal decision-makers. The IRS study on the “Potentials of Small Towns in Peripheral Regions” set out to produce a nuanced picture of the kinds of challenges that small towns in peripheral regions of Germany currently face and might come to expect in the future. more

This departmental lead project concluded a six year research period on the peripheralisation of cities. Thereby, peripheralisation was understood as a multidimensional concept that encompasses a number of distinct socio-spatial processes. These include a decoupling from innovation dynamics linked to the knowledge economy and/or infrastructural networks, strcutures of dependency from centralised political and political decision-making, and/or negative effects resulting from brain drain. In many cities, peripheralisation results in demographic shrinkage, vacant buildings, and a concentration of social problems (poverty, unemployment, exclusion). more

In connection with the structural realignment of urban development policies in Berlin (through the framework strategy social urban development), the Berlin Senate has defined five large-area Action Spaces Plus (Aktionsräume plus) within Berlin – an area which includes about a quarter of the population of Berlin. With this project the IRS provided scientific monitoring of the project as well as organisational task connected with its implementation. more

The joint Federal and State governmental programme “Urban Restructuring in the New Federal States” was launched by the German Federal State in the field of urban development funding (Städtebauförderung) in 2002 (initially until 2009). The programme aims to support upgrading interventions in city centres and urban neighbourhoods worthy of long-term preservation. The Federal Transfer Office Urban Restructuring in the New Federal States sees itself as a centre of expertise providing academic support to the wider programme. It serves as an intermediating authority and as such contributes to further refining processes of urban restructuring. more

Department for Historical Research

For a long time, it has been commonly assumed that social disparities within and between towns and cities were less pronounced in the socialist system of the GDR compared to the market economy in the West-German Republic. However, newer findings show that there were analogies and parallel developments in both systems which, starting in the 1960s, led to growing socio-spatial disparities in West Germany as well as the GDR. In terms of planning policy responses, too, there are indications of analogous developments. This lead project seeks to develop an integrated analysis framework for the historical study of socio-spatial disparities across system boundaries for the first time, and to apply it empirically. more

Das Projekt untersuchte die Funktion der DDR-Bezirksverwaltungen für das politische System der DDR und ihr Handeln im Spannungsfeld zentralstaatlicher Vorgaben, regionaler Eigeninteressen und der Machtausübung gegenüber Städten und Gemeinden. Es leistete damit einen Beitrag zur geschichtswissenschaftlichen Forschungsdebatte über das Verhältnis von diktatorisch-zentralistischen Strukturen und eigendynamischen Entwicklungen in staatlichen und gesellschaftlichen Subsystemen der DDR. more

Research Management and Communication

In large parts of Europe, structurally weak rural regions are facing similar problems. Economic productivity is low, as is the availability of jobs for qualified people. At the same time, educational and cultural opportunities cannot be provided in these regions to the same extent as in conurbations. This is the starting point for RurInno: It brings together researchers and practitioners from two research institutions and four social enterprises working in rural areas. The partners are pursuing three objectives together: first, promoting knowledge transfer between research and practice; second, improving empirical knowledge of conditions for social innovations in rural areas; and third, increasing the visibility of the work of social enterprises in politics and society. more