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Current Projects
Non-governmental   organisations: Strategies of spatial order formation (Subproject of the SFB 1265)
In the subproject C02 we investigate non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in two highly topical and dynamic thematic areas, housing and asylum policy. The aim of the project is to assess the interaction between NGOs and other actors within the policy fields, as well as the spatial references and their relevance for the strategies and fields of action of the organisations. Both policy areas are characterised by a shifting interplay between different spatial scales (e.g. local, national, regional, global), shaped by both state and non-state political and economic actors.
The focus of the project is on NGOs and their networks, in particular on the different ways in which local particularities and translocal interdependencies are linked together. We are investigating a wide range of NGOs, from small local to large, highly professionalized international organizations. We do not see NGOs as a uniform actor, but rather as collective civil society actors who often show great differences among each other. The activities of NGOs, their networking and political relations as well as the basic premises of their work are examined in detail.
To enable an analysis that reflects the heterogeneity of NGOs and the complexity of the policy fields, we work with an innovative qualitative mix of methods, which consists not only of spatially focused organisational and network analyses but also of socio-spatial mapping, mind maps, participating observations and interviews with experts and actors within the policy fields and NGOs.
Biographies of the Middle Classes: Spatial Experience and Meaning in the Life Course Narrative (Subproject of the SFB 1265)
This research project investigates spatial constitutions of members of the middle classes from a biographical perspective in Kenya and Germany. It explicitly focuses on translocal spatial references of the family sphere on the one hand and the working environment on the other. Based on narrative-biographical interviews, relevant biographical spaces are reconstructed and analysed with regard to their similarities and differences.
Due to the explorative character of the project, different comparison categories (e.g. rural/urban, gender, age or religiosity) will be equally tested and their explanatory value challenged. Comparing German and Kenyan middle classes will only be one of many comparisons. We expect this category to be of explanatory value because middle classes in Kenya mainly emerged in the last decades under the conditions of a globalized world economy without the framing of a welfare state, whereas the emergence of German middle classes at the end of the 19th century was a process deeply interwoven with the establishment of the German welfare state.
The aim is to develop an empirically founded conceptualization of typical biographical strategies in coping with the tension between the sphere of reproduction and the world of work from a spatial perspective.
Digital Urban Planning: Planning Practices and Physical Arrangements (Subproject of the SFB 1265)
The research is part of the project area “Spaces of Communication” investigating transformations in communicative action resulting from mediatisation processes, and their implications for the re-figuration of space. The aim is to specifically research transformations in urban planning across the globe, using the example of new digital technologies and communication media. Three questions form the core of our research:
  • How can digitisation in urban planning since the 1970s be described and systematised?
  • How have urban planning practices changed against the backdrop of digitisation processes, and what spatial constitutions of planning go along with these changes?
  • How have material and physical arrangements of urban development changed on the basis of digital planning and relative to previous arrangements (comparing analogous plans) in the 1960s?
Three interconnected areas will be taken into account regarding digital planning practice: urban structural planning, especially work based on geographical information systems (GIS) for the processing of rather diverse information; urban design planning, in particular work with tools such as computer-aided design (CAD); and communicative planning with the participation of stakeholders and citizens involving the use of 2D- or 3D-simulation tools. Mediatisation processes are investigated using the examples of four cities on four continents: New York City (North America/USA), Lagos (Africa/Nigeria), Songdo (Asia/South Korea) and Frankfurt/Main (Europe/Germany)

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