Dynamics of Economic Spaces

The dissertation project addresses the questions to what extent the constitution of creative everyday spaces is changed by a combination of on/offline spaces. How do working practices change? To what extent are interactions and spaces expanded and what new (digital) hurdles arise? Using fashion design as an example, the online platform Instagram is identified as an influential actor in the socio-technical everyday fabric of fashion designers and the role of the platform in shaping practices and spaces is critically assessed. more

The lead project focalizes digital online platforms as well as their relevance for design processes in the fashion industry. Thus, it addresses the question, to what extent creative collaboration can be digitalized. All platforms have in common that they enact specific interfaces between the "concrete" and the "virtual" world, at which human actions are translated into data and vice versa. The lead project analyses how different specialized digital platforms are used in design processes, and which spatial patters and divisions of labour in creative work emerge as a consequence. The advance of digital platforms into a formerly more analogue industry like fashion bears the potential to fundamentally change spatial arrangements of creativity-based value creation, to the benefit or at the expense of established creative centres. more

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 project adopts a cultural economic approach to investigate the discourses that constitute the development of French campuses abroad and the materialization thereof in the space of the campuses, while paying attention to the dissonances and renegotiations involved in the process. Addressed through qualitative expert interviews with decision-makers working in French public and private higher education institutions, the following research question guides the analysis: “How is the development of French branch campuses discursively and materially constructed, branded and experienced?” more

This dissertation project investigates transnational urban education zones (TUEZs) in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. These purpose-built urban areas were created to host offshore campuses of foreign universities. TUEZs like Dubai International Academic City or Education City appear to be part of distinctive urban development strategies while at the same time being connected discursively to transformative economic rationales. The project aims to make sense of the strategic decisions of governments to establish such zones, how they relate to urban imaginaries connected to global city ambitions, and how they are connected to future aspirations towards a knowledge-based economy. more

Universities get access to national higher education markets in South East Asia through investments in offshore branches and international partnerships. How market access is regulated and how transnational networks are coupled with regional contexts is not only subject to temporal change. It is also of utmost economic and socio-cultural relevance to the actors involved. This PhD project examines these issues in the case regions of Malaysia and Singapore. more

In the past twenty years, the number of students completing university studies in a foreign country has constantly been on the rise. In addition, many universities are investing in international branch campuses (IBCs) abroad. These are initial indices for a parallel globalisation of knowledge-intensive branches of the economy and of the university landscape. The Leibniz Junior Research Group “Constructing Transnational Spaces of Higher Education” (TRANSEDU) is concerned with the relationship between globalised economic processes and the internationalisation of the academic and research landscapes. 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

In his dissertation project, Andreas Kuebart researches the phenomenon of seed accelerators from the perspective of relational economic geography. The project aims to study seed accelerators as interfaces between newly created business on the one hand and specialized expertise mobilized in dense local and trans-local communities, social capital that resides in strategic networks and sub-sequent venture capital investments on the other. The rapid spread of the concept of seed accelerators itself show the relevance of establishing new ventures for the digital age, while this topic has been missing on the radar of economic geography so far. 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

Große Forschungsinfrastrukturen, wie etwa ein Elektronensynchroton oder ein Forschungsreaktor, sind für viele experimentelle Zweige der Grundlageforschung notwendig. Ihre sehr kostspielige Unterhaltung lässt sich jedoch immer weniger allein durch ihren Nutzen für die Grundlagenforschung legitimieren, vielmehr wird vermehrt gefordert, sie sollen auch gesellschaftlichen Nutzen bringen, etwa indem sie Europäische Unternehmen dabei unterstützen, innovativer und damit wettbewerbsfähiger zu werden. In diesem Projekt evaluierte das IRS die Kooperationen von Großforschungseinrichtungen im Ostseeraum im Hinblick auf die dezentrale, verteilte Nutzung der Forschungsinfrastruktur. more

Das IRS erstellte in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Geographischen Institut der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin im Auftrag der Senatsverwaltung für Wirtschaft, Technologie und Forschung eine umfassende Aufstellung der Berliner Lab-Szene. 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

Dynamics of Communication, Knowledge and Spatial Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Department for Historical Research

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

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

DigiPEER war das bislang aufwändigste Erfassungsprogramm der Wissenschaftlichen Sammlungen am IRS. Sein Anliegen bestand darin, den freien Online-Zugriff auf 5.000 großformatige Pläne jedes beteiligten Archivs zu ermöglichen und unter dem Dachthema der Raumaneignung in der Moderne in einem Internetportal zusammenzuführen. 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