The goal of the Young Investigator Group Preparation Program (YIG Prep Pro) is to support postdoctoral researchers in (further) developing their own research profile and setting up their own research group. More information on the program can be found here. My fellowship focuses on the topic of actors in transition processes. In particular, I focus on the research fields of urban and regional transitions in general and energy transitions in particular.
Urban and regional transitions
The shift toward sustainable urban and regional development requires the reorientation of planning toward transformative planning practices. Transformative planning practices are characterized by co-creation and experimentation. Recent work on practices of urban planning and development shows, however, that the necessary shift toward transformative practices is often not achieved.
My work focuses on the question of how novel research insights could contribute to transformative urban and regional development. So far, there is still a research gap regarding the problem of actors’ lack of transformative agency in practice: There remains a need to understand how, why, and under what circumstances citizens, science, industry, and government (with a focus on urban and regional planners) are willing and able to jointly shape the transition to urban and regional sustainability. Therefore, my work aims to provide insights into actors (individuals), actor relations (interaction), and possible activities to influence actors’ practices to enable transformative practices (intervention). To this end, I aim to provide an integrated socio-psychological and spatial analysis of sustainable urban and regional development.
In the research program Seeds for SEETs, I investigate new conceptual and practical design approaches for a social-ecological energy transition. The topic of energy transition should be expanded beyond the technical focus in which it currently operates to include ecological and social aspects. The “seeds” represent core approaches for the social-ecological energy transition (SEETs).
Three challenges can be identified on the way to a successful transition:
- Social: How can we communicate the topic of energy transition in a citizen-oriented and socially inclusive way? How can we include women and other previously underrepresented groups?
- Ecological: How can we increase the focus on ecological perspectives that have been neglected so far? How can we pursue an ecological-holistic approach? How can we focus on understanding the relationship between humans and nature?
- Transformative: How can we combine transformative and transformational research in energy research?
In transition experiments, for example as part of the project “Dein BalkonNetz – Energie schafft Gemeinschaft” (Your Balcony Network – Energy Creates Community), these challenges will be explored in the experimental environment of Karlsruhe’s Oststadt and the extended urban space.
Von der Idee zum Realexperiment: Dein BalkonNetz.
2021, July 27. Beyond Technology : Perspektivenwende in der Energietransformation (2021), Online, July 6–27, 2021
Thinking about individual actor-level perspectives in sociotechnical transitions: A comment on the transitions research agenda.
2020. Environmental innovation and societal transitions, 34, 341–343. doi:10.1016/j.eist.2019.10.005
Connect to transform – Enabling transitions towards smart and sustainable cities.
2019. 3. Digital Changemakers Summit: „Smart and Sustainable Cities“ (2019), Mannheim, Germany, October 18–19, 2019
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
Tel.: +49 721 608-24553