Director's Unit

Even so the concepts of vulnerability and resilience – highly influenced by human ecology and environmental risk research – increasingly have been adapted to research areas in social sciences, desiderata still remain. In the cross-departmental project, a theory-based concept was developed that addresses the desiderata. It is based on a social constructivist approach, actor-network theory and on relational theories on space. more

Dynamics of Economic Spaces

The research project “Coping With Crises in a Resilient Manner” (RESKIU) deals with the potential for crises to provide solutions, and seeks to explore what can be done by the involved actors not only to mitigate the symptoms of crises, but also to create and use “opportunities” for structural change. The project has a duration of three years and will bring together basic and applied research on crises. more

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

Even so the concepts of vulnerability and resilience – highly influenced by human ecology and environmental risk research – increasingly have been adapted to research areas in social sciences, desiderata still remain. In the cross-departmental project, a theory-based concept was developed that addresses the desiderata. It is based on a social constructivist approach, actor-network theory and on relational theories on space. more

Institutional Change and Regional Public Goods

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

Cities create approximately 70% of all greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time being substantially impacted by climate change. Especially extreme weather occurrences like torrential rain fall, flooding, and heat waves often result in costly property damage, which in result – caused by inept behaviour in dangerous situations and insufficient preparation – often have an adverse effect on citizens’ health. The BMBF research project “Urban Resilience Towards Extreme Weather Incidents – Typology and Transfer of Adaptation Strategies in Small Metropolises and Medium Sized Cities” aims to measurably strengthen the resilience of cities and towns by working closely with administrations, branches of civil protection, and residents. 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

Beispiele für aktuelle Trends in der Energiewirtschaft sind die Debatten um die Rekommunalisierung von Energieversorgungsunternehmen bzw. Netzen oder auch die Entwicklung und Umsetzung regionaler Energie- und Klimaschutzkonzepte. Am Ende der Studie für die Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung stand eine Zusammenstellung aktueller Herausforderungen für die lokale und regionale Energiepolitik sowie ein Ausblick auf weitere Forschungsbedarfe. more

Even so the concepts of vulnerability and resilience – highly influenced by human ecology and environmental risk research – increasingly have been adapted to research areas in social sciences, desiderata still remain. In the cross-departmental project, a theory-based concept was developed that addresses the desiderata. It is based on a social constructivist approach, actor-network theory and on relational theories on space. 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

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

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

The aim of the project is to investigate in how far ways of dealing with aquatic phenomena such as, for example, floods in river regions is influenced by cultural knowledge. It focuses on perceptions of potential vulnerability (constructions of vulnerability) and local risk reduction practices (constructions of resilience). 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

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

Even so the concepts of vulnerability and resilience – highly influenced by human ecology and environmental risk research – increasingly have been adapted to research areas in social sciences, desiderata still remain. In the cross-departmental project, a theory-based concept was developed that addresses the desiderata. It is based on a social constructivist approach, actor-network theory and on relational theories on space. 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

Researchers from the IRS, from the Istituto per la Ricerca Sociale (IRS) in Milan, and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) in Brighton are studying the European labour market to derive qualitative and quantitative data on its dynamics on the national and regional level. This cooperative project is part of the European Union's ESPON 2020 programme. The scholars afford special attention to key developments and factors, such as local circumstances and policies, that impact the particular geographical pattern of Europe's labour market. more

This project has connected and provided advanced training to museum staff and other interested parties, helping them reflect on how museums might tackle the topic of migration. For this purpose, three events (in October, November and December 2016) were held in the Berlin/Brandenburg region to fostering dialogue over the way regional museums might portray and explain the increased flow of asylum-seekers to Europe since 2015. more

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

The purpose of this thesis is to advance the understanding of refugees’ everyday life conditions within the European Union today. While in the years of the cold war the “refugee” was rather seen as a “hero”, nowadays (s)he is represented as a “victim” (Marchetti, 2014b): In the public discourse the word “Refugee” is currently associated to words such as “marginalization”, “poverty”. Indeed most of refugees are experiencing all of this. Moving away from this perspective in this dissertation I consider refugees as social actors in the European Union system; I have focused on their mobility across countries, namely Italy and Germany, because mobility is a necessary – although unequally accessible – resource in order to build a living. This thesis describes and explains the mechanisms that lie in refugees’ lived experiences of discrimination and marginalization, notably focusing on the legal status of refugees and their mobility, analyzing their interaction within the Schengen area. Basing on an ethnographic research, this thesis thus explores and analyses the cross-national mobility of refugees’ within the Schengen area and the living conditions of refugees both in loco and while moving across Turin and Berlin, two cities that are two important knots in the wide spanning web of contacts of refugees who took part in my research. more

Even so the concepts of vulnerability and resilience – highly influenced by human ecology and environmental risk research – increasingly have been adapted to research areas in social sciences, desiderata still remain. In the cross-departmental project, a theory-based concept was developed that addresses the desiderata. It is based on a social constructivist approach, actor-network theory and on relational theories on space. more