Category Archives: Research

Planning and the Mind

The Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) thematic group on Planning Theories hosts a series of talks and discussions in their ‘Infinity Series’, inspired by the Marvel Universe. On 8th March 2022, I talked about “Planning and the Mind”. In the following, my input presentation to this discussion.

I would like to start with some of my thoughts on “Planning and the Mind”.  It is hard for me to talk about the mind today, while we see how an isolated and brutal mind can cause so much pain, war, destruction, and emptiness. Nevertheless, this strengthens my belief in spatial planning in democratic societies and my ambition to talk about planners today.

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Schwäbische Alb

Certainly creating uncertainty: a complex post-corona roles puzzle

Corona unveils a canvas to learn for the roles that planners need to explore, develop, and enact when facing global crises. Two counterintuitive claims help explaining. First, planning needs more uncertainty to take its roles. The more we know about the unfolding crisis, the harder any action becomes. This takes us to the heart of planning: values and societal goals. Second, planners should plan for uncertainty, both acknowledging and actively creating uncertainties. Reduction and production of different uncertainties are inevitably linked. Post-corona planning must even plan for uncertainty to succeed.

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Roundtable Postgrowthplanning

Hybrid conferencing and hybrid academics – experiences and future thoughts

The future of academic work might look different than it used to be. We will not see the re-emergence of larger venues and (international) conferences before at least early 2021. While small-scale meetings become possible again, gathering with hundreds of people from different countries in one place seems to be of a distant past. Travel restrictions provide unequal opportunities to participate in academic events depending on locations. However, there is something in between going and not going. The sustainability of (large) conferences was in question long before Corona made the reduction of travels an immediate health necessity (see e.g. Wenner et al. 2019). Hybrid conferencing (digital & physical combined) and hybrid academics may be on the rise. In February 2020, without knowing about upcoming Corona restrictions, we engaged in a hybrid format in Dortmund on “Post-growth from international planning perspectives: Digital roundtable on the future of planning in a post-growth world”.

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Detroit 2018

Post-Corona avenues in spatial planning practice & research

We live in an extreme situation in most countries since mid of March 2020. It can hardly be expressed with words in any of our languages. We are moved to see impacts as well as strong collective measures taken in Europe and worldwide. We all live in space and we will continue to live and plan in space. The more we get knowledge and control over COVID-19, the more we will be able to think ahead and to restart a collective debate on spatial visions, their ethical/moral foundations and ways to organize and lead them. I am active in discovering future possibilities for spatial planning, changes induced by Corona and our means to lead spatial development in times of crisis.

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Ann Arbor, MI

Planners for Future – or: how should we (re-)act?

The new decade starts in 2020 with intensified talks about environmental change, climate change and a global crisis. These challenges do not only excel the global dimension of human activity. They also exhibit the emergence and growth of strong social movements like ‘Fridays for Future’, ‘Extinction Rebellion’ and many more.

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Unsicherheit und Komplexität in Planungsprozessen

Unsicherheit und Komplexität in Planungsprozessen

Der Abschluss meiner Dissertation an der TU Dortmund ist schon fast drei Jahre her. Seit wenigen Tagen ist die Arbeit ” Unsicherheit und Komplexität in Planungsprozessen: Planungstheoretische Perspektiven auf Regionalplanung und Klimaanpassung” jetzt auch digital als PDF verfügbar. Text und Seitenzahlen stimmen mit der Veröffentlichung im Rohn-Verlag aus Oktober 2016 überein (ISBN: 978-3-946319-07-8).

My PhD Thesis (book pubslished in late 2016) from TU Dortmund University is now available as PDF in its full text version. Translated title: “Uncertainty and Complexity in Planning Processes: Theoretical Perspectives on Regional Planning and Climate Adaptation”.

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Sechs Thesen einer Postwachstumsplanung

Die Diskussionen der letzten zwei Jahre und das Aufeinandertreffen von Postwachstum und Stadt-/Raumplanung haben wir im Frühjahr 2019 in sechs Thesen zusammenfassen können. Im April 2017 ist mir auf einer Zugfahrt im Münsterland bei der Vorbereitung unserer ersten Diskussionsreihe zu Räumen, Akteuren und Prozessen in einer Postwachstumssgesellschaft der Begriff “Postwachstumsplanung” eingefallen. Seitdem haben wir ihn im Kollektiv ausgebaut über viele Formate, unsere Facebook-Seite, eine eigene Domain und zuletzt Anfängen eines YouTube-Kanals.

Diese “Sechs Thesen einer Postwachstumsplanung” von mir und Viola Schulze Dieckhoff wurden in der vorliegenden Form am 29. Juni 2019 auf dem ARL-Kongress „Postwachstum und Transformation: Planen – Steuern – Wirtschaften“ mit einem Sonderpreis des Förderkreises für Raum- und Umweltforschung e. V. (FRU) und der Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung (ARL) ausgezeichnet.

The discussion of more than two years to bring post-growth research and spatial organisation and planning together is condensed into six propositions, awarded with a special award for spatial and environmental research in 2019.

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Raum und Würde

Raum und Würde | Spaces of Dignity

Mit Veröffentlichungen und Veranstaltungen ist die Arbeitsgruppe “Spaces of Dignity” im Rahmen der Global Young Faculty (vorläufig) zu einem Abschluss gekommen. Ich bin froh, in den letzten 1,5 Jahren hier viel gelernt zu haben, mit vielen unterschiedlichen Menschen sprechen zu können und ein wichtiges Thema – die Zusammenhänge von Raum und Würde – über vielen disziplinäre Grenzen hinweg beleuchten zu können. Die Global Young Faculty wurde auf einer gemeinsamen Veranstaltung aller Arbeitsgruppen am 15. März 2019 auf der Zeche Zollverein abgeschlossen.

With publications and events, the working group “Spaces of Dignity” within the Global Young Faculty (preliminary) finished its work. I am happy and proud about the opportunity to learn much during the past 1.5 years, to speak with many diverse people on this important topic – the relations between dignity and space – beyond manifold disciplinary boundaries.

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Midtown Detroit

Detroit: who plans?

Ten days in Detroit provided me with some more insights into how the city works and what lies behind recent changes. Many conversations yielded deep insights, but also puzzled me with further questions and issues around the role of planners in processes of urban change and renewal. Time to wrap up some still preliminary and unfinished ideas.

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Detroit: first impressions

The last four days between Thursday and Monday provided many experiences and insights into different parts of Detroit, its ongoing changes and its people. Not enough for any concluding thoughts, but just enough for some ideas. The following paragraphs are therefore some unorganized impressions that are preliminary, might change during the next weeks and themselves include more questions than answers.

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