Dynamics of Economic Spaces

In her dissertation project, Anna Oechslen studies how graphic designers in India navigate their everyday work practices using so-called crowdwork platforms. These online platforms play an increasing role in mediating work relations, providing an infrastructure to connect workers and clients on a global scale. Platform workers perform a lot of invisible work to make and sustain connections in a context where hardly anything is institutionalised. more

The IRS is a participant in the “Innovation Hub13 – fast track to transfer”, a project funded as part of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research's (BMBF's) “Innovative Hochschule” initiative, and obtained by the Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau and the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg. Prof. Dr. Suntje Schmidt developed the sub-project “Open Region: Regional Challenges as Starting Points for Innovation”, which resides at the intersection of innovation promotion and regional development. The aim of the project is to create the conditions for the integration of until now unconsidered innovation actors, in order to develop cooperative solutions for regionally relevant problem areas in Brandenburg. more

The research focusses on the significance and potential of Open Creative Labs (OCL) as places of innovation and participation. The term Open Creative Labs refers to organizations that provide workspaces and technical infrastructures on a flexible and temporary basis. The research seeks to capture significant features of Open Creative Labs and scrutinizes their spatial distribution across the eleven metropolitan regions in Germany. more

This research project seeks to analyse processes of social construction of economic value from a spatial perspective, using the example of the global fur industry. The main idea is to combine two approaches. In the cultural geographic discourse, contributors highlight that commodities achieve high prices on markets if they are successfully associated with entities representing positive, extra-economic values. more

Institutional Change and Regional Public Goods

The Working Group of the Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (ARL) and its network in Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern explores innovations in the planning system to manage energy transition. 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

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 BMBF-project pursued the goal of interconnecting technological innovations with organisational innovations aimed at sustainable land management. The goal was to study wastewater management companies and power supply companies in order to determine their potential for implementing model solutions and to develop plans for integrated regional infrastructure. more

Dynamics of Communication, Knowledge and Spatial Development

At the intersection of technical and social innovation, the project "Stadtquartier 4.1" seeks to find out, if and how the introduction of novel logistics and mobility services (such as automated parcel pick-up stations and cargo-bike sharing) in a neighbourhood impacts on local dwellers' behaviours and attitudes related to logistics. Secondly, it seeks to understand the communicative and participatory processes which lead to the introduction of said services into a neighbourhood. Thirdly, it investigates, if and how the social acceptance for novel logistics and mobility services systematically varies between urban and sub-urban environments. The IRS sub-project within the consortium provides knowledge, if and under which conditions technical innovations in the field of urban logistics establish in society and contribute to sustainable urban development. more

Social businesses are increasingly recognised by policy makers, academics, civil society actors and the business sector. In the federal state of Brandenburg, there is a wide range of social businesses. Against this backdrop, the study "Market-Oriented Social Businesses in Brandenburg" seeks to provide the first structured overview of the current state, growth potentials and the need for support of social businesses in Brandenburg. The study commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Energy focusses on market-oriented business, hence, organisations which generate revenues for social causes by positioning new products and services. more

Smart cities are often talked about – but smart villages? Rural areas, particularly in structurally weak regions, are often affected by out-migration and a growing backlog in digital infrastructure and innovation dynamics. Both trends reinforce each other. However, there are examples of villages in which innovative initiatives do not just strive to compensate for deficits, but develop new, situation- and problem-specific local solutions. In doing so, they combine new services with creative uses of digital technologies and sometimes improved digital infrastructures. In this lead project, such initiatives, driven by ‘smart villagers’, are analysed from the perspective of ‘societal innovations’, yet with an emphasis on the aspects of mediatization and digitalization. more

Guaranteeing the security of a city's inhabitants is a central task of urban policy, particularly so for structural-spatial planning. Policy and planning thus pursue the goal of improving areas perceived to be unsafe, or indeed to prevent the emergence and stigmatisation of no-go areas in the first place. The joint project “Stadtsicherheit3D”, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, systematises the factors for spatial safety assessments, develops scenarios for intervention, catalogues best practices for policy and planning to date, develops new proposals for best practice on the basis of empirical analyses, and at the same time devises a digital planning tool intended to illuminate the corresponding planning processes using 3D city models. more

Simulation, GIS and CAD software, 3D visualizations, 3D printers and drone technology have become part of the digital infrastructure for planners. They use digital tools and software to analyze, understand and shape the future of cities. The dissertation project investigates how digital arrangements coconstruct the design and planning practicse of urban planners. Martin Schinagl does this by applying methods of qualitative social research and ethnographic workplace research in private and public planning offices. By cross-culturally comparing a number of planning offices in different cities of the world (Lagos, New York, Frankfurt), the project aims to find out how communicative actions and spatial imaginations differ and resemble each other in mediatized working environments. more

In current times, many rural regions in Europe are facing major social and economic problems. With a declining population in rural areas, both the public and private sectors struggle to keep services at the same levels as before. However, due to a decrease in revenue they are often only poorly maintained and as a result can become under-utilised and end up with being withdrawn. Similarly, also local living conditions and quality of life decreases as unemployment rises and skilled labour becomes limited.<br/><br/>These developments are mirrored in the media where structurally weak rural areas face recurring negative discourses. This can further reduce economic opportunities by framing the regions as a less rewarding context for both economic development and for everyday living,... more

The following project starts from the assumption that space is not an inert, background category. Instead, like time, it is performed through specific intra-actions with/in practices (Barad, 2007). This presents a challenge; how to grasp practices intended to change space, such as those in social innovation and territorial transformation which are simultaneously affected by the spaces, or spatialities that they enter? It is in this entangled more-than-human performativity which my research engages. more

Changing patterns in the production, consumption and delivery of goods are forcing urban quarters to adapt. In recent times, there has been a significant rise in the quantity of goods ordered and delivered. Increasingly, groceries for immediate consumption are also being ordered and delivered, alongside other products of mid- and long-term needs. The resultant rise in the quantity of transported goods, and the emergence of intricate delivery networks, pose a major challenge for cities. As ever more delivery vehicles navigate city streets, pollution and traffic congestion increase, while traffic accidents become more likely. Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research has launched the “Urban Quarter 4.0” (Stadtquartier 4.0) research project in an effort to identify and experiment with solutions to such challenges. more

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

An inseparable part of modern society, innovation is currently acquiring new contours in its relation to society: Societies are becoming innovation societies, in which innovation is one of the main driving forces of change. Innovations in modern society are primarily (re-)produced in innovation fields, i.e. action fields which are constituted by the interactions between actors and which are based on specific, innovation-related topics. In this process, innovation becomes an increasingly reflexive, heterogeneously distributed, and ubiquitous phenomenon. The Graduate School thus addresses the following key question: How does the innovation society constitute its transformations reflexively as innovation? 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

The BMBF research project made a contribution to the development of the town of Bischofswerda and the examination of innovation processes. The Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space IRS was responsible for one part of the project under the title “Scientific concept and support of the future workshop Bischofswerda and evaluation of the overall process”. more

The lead project explores municipalities in structurally weak rural areas where citizens and actors from politics, administration or business seek creative ways to solve local problems. The lead project’s aim is to investigate these innovative projects in rural areas. The civic engagement under study ranges from renewable energies, local supply as well as arts and culture. more

Im Modellprojekt des Förderprogramms „Zusammenhalt durch Teilhabe“ des Bundesministeriums des Innern, ging es darum, auf ländliche Räume angepasste, innovative Medienstrategien, Kommunikations- wie auch Interaktionsformen zu entwickeln, zu etablieren und zu verbreiten, um auf diesem Wege demokratisches Engagement, Partizipation und Kreativität zu wecken. Das IRS unterstützte die Projektdurchführung mittels der Aufarbeitung des Forschungsstandes zu zivilgesellschaftlichem Engagement, Teilhabe und Kommunikation in ländlichen Regionen. 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

Regeneration of Cities and Towns

Coastal regions are and will continue to be strongly affected by mega trends such as environmental change and migration. Traditionally, internal migration originates from but also flows to coastal regions. This particularly applies to international migration as well. At the same time, coastal regions worldwide are strongly impacted by unfolding geomorphological, climatic and societal changes. more

Department for Historical Research

The thesis addresses the changes of East- and West-German planning cultures between 1959 and 1989 along analysing public communication of cases in urban planning. By focussing on historic cases of planning projects on a micro/local level in East and West Berlin, the arenas of public planning communication will be reconstructed. more

The project focusses on the question to what extent the architects from the GDR – a country whose building practice was increasingly shaped by the principles of industrial prefabrication – have played a part in regional contexts, structures and construction methods. This implicates the issue of possible freedom of action for the planners in creative transfer and fusion processes. more

The debate about the preservation, demolition and conversation of transport infrastructure and architecture in cities is an ongoing topic in the cities with its changing mobility trends. Since the 1960s it is also widely debated in the public media. The thesis analyzes the conflicting and complex historical professional discourse and its reception in the media and wants to identify paths of arguments to get an insight of the current debates by studying four cases in the east and west. more

After 1945, European cities were developed in ways to accommodate road traffic and related mobility patterns. This led to conflicting trends: while the planning principle of the “car-friendly city” was increasingly losing popularity from the 1970s onwards, mobility and car traffic continued to increase in many cities. The lead project investigates central, hitherto unexamined contradictions within these developments by means of several historical case studies. The projects analysis in detail the role of municipal actors, planners and the public, the reshaping of the building stock through street expansion projects, and the link between road traffic and the shaping of open urban space. more

The design of open spaces in the German Democratic Republic can be described as a history of steady decline – from rather ambitious planning projects in the 1950s to a dearth of ideas and increasing state micro-management. The Lead Project focused on the key areas of urbanisation strategies, planning personalities and networks and the intricate interplay between authority and the public sphere. 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