Doctoral Theses

The grammar of planning: A practice-theoretical comparative case study of planning culture in smart city implementation processes in Amsterdam and Vienna

Andreas Putlitz

Planning culture is a growing field in the spatial sciences, arguing that differences in styles and outcomes of planning cannot be fully explained by existing theories. The concept of planning culture, however, is often merely used as a residual variable, which is held responsible for a lack of predictability of planning processes, without coming to terms with its covert and complex modus operandi. Methodologies of planning culture and the corresponding outcomes of empirical research, therefore, are often disappointing. The main goal of this study, is to address prevailing methodological weaknesses in the field of planning culture by means of a practice-theoretical methodology, as well as to conduct an international comparative case study of planning culture in smart city implementation processes in the cities of Vienna and Amsterdam. First empirical results from the field have revealed a remarkable resemblance of the smart city implementation to a recognizable stereotypical planning culture in both cases, and suggest a deeper rooting of the phenomenon in the underlying historical background of the cities, which provides legitimacy for corresponding practices of planning.

Keywords: Urban Planning, Smart City, Planning Culture, Practice Theory


Policy-relevant knowledge for spatial planning: Boundary work between policy and science in Germany, the Netherland and Switzerland

Patricia Feiertag

Which actors are generating or brokering policy relevant knowledge in spatial planning? Which negotiations are taking place at the boundary of science and politics? To what extent is the constellation of knowledge infrastructures specific in different European countries?

Spatial policy needs to be informed and legitimized by sound knowledge concerning spatial development trends, upcoming challenges, potential instruments and their impact. The thesis deals with the constellation of knowledge infrastructures for policy advice, meaning the organizations that generate and provide politically relevant knowledge and advice, in the field of spatial planning in the three countries Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, exploring their development over time as well as aspects that are specific for the country or the discipline.  The role of experts in policy making is formed to a certain point by country specific styles of policy making and cultures of expertise (Renn). Furthermore, the balancing of requirements from the two social systems science and politics is explored in an in-depth case study of the German Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development BBSR. According to Gieryn (1983) and Halffman/Hoppe (2005), there is a constant boundary work taking place, defining what is regarded as scientific and thus trustworthy as well as negotiating the relation and division of labour between experts and policy makers. The research method consists of expert interviews and document analysis in the German case with insights from policy advice in the Netherlands and Switzerland based on existing empirical work and desktop research.

Co-Supervisor: Prof. Stefan Siedentop, ILS/ TU Dortmund

Keywords: policy advice, boundary work, comparative research, spatial planning


Strategizing the Temporary: A Comparative Analysis of Temporary Use Institutionalization & Acculturation in German and Dutch Planning

Robin Chang

The growing recognition of temporary use (TU) in urban planning practice is not fully expressed by the number of TU host countries and communities, nor number of projects touting its regenerative capacity in the urban landscape. Relevance of this trending significance is also signaled by the plethora of new terms that suggest a non-traditional, adaptable, ephemeral, and civic-based planning approach that often tactically activates long-term changes (Glick, 2012; Lydon et al., 2012; Elisei, 2014). Variations of TU range from ‘performative planning,’ ‘flexible urbanism,’ ‘DIY urbanism,’ ‘pop-up urbanism,’ to ‘temporary’ and ‘tactical urbanism’ and hint at the various contexts through which planning practice and theory are evolving from the fissure breaks in stoic urban development frameworks. As a positive ‘floating signifier’ that many proclaim as a pragmatic, and cost-effective stop-gap measure, TU can be implemented with a range of formal and informal actors, through open and iterative processes (Blumner, 2006; Schlegelmilch, 2008; Rall and Haase, 2011; Lehtovuori and Ruoppila, 2012; Németh and Langhorst, 2014; Patti and Polyak, 2015; Ferreri, 2015). TU is often contextualized by complex socio-economic restructuring, and emerges as initiatives at the micro level with lofty aims to mitigate complex challenges such as loss of employment and industries, urban shrinkage, and urban decay. However, this planning phenomenon is not without weaknesses as macro level unpredictability and uncertainty hinder its implementation, while institutional and procedural hindrances further exacerbate challenges (Bishop and Williams, 2012).
Constructive optimism and critique feature TU in urban planning and public administration research and attempt to better understand TU phenomena and also resolve institutional barriers. This is evident in the scholarly, professional and civic documentation on TU typologies, models and contexts (Blumner, 2006; Andres, 2013; Oswalt et al., 2013; Ferreri, 2015; Lydon and Garcia, 2015; Patti and Polyak, 2015). While such work does shed light on the diversity of TU practices and models, not much research has provided insight as to the complex development that results in stable and institutionalized TU. Complementing the wealth of knowledge on this emerging urban planning approach, this research aims to determine configurational conditions of TU initiatives that help practices crystallize into long-term ventures. By taking a Critical Realist position, this research examines the specific self-organizational and routinized interactions that manage and codify values, to compel commitment to tactical practices. Comparative case studies from the Dutch city of Rotterdam and the German city of Bremen help narrate the TU phenomena and inform the complex and contingent nature of the organizational and social learning processes necessary to strategize the temporary.

Keywords: temporary use, complexity, self-organizing, contingency

Andres L (2013) Differential Spaces, Power Hierarchy and Collaborative Planning. A Critique of the Role of Temporary Uses in Shaping and Making Places. Urban Studies 50 (4): 759–75.
Bishop P and Williams L (2012) Temporary urbanism. drivers and conditions. In: Bishop P and Williams L (eds) The Temporary City. London, New York: Routledge, 21–35.
Blumner N (2006) Planning for the Unplanned: Tools and Techniques for Interim Use in Germany and the United States. Berlin.
Elisei DP (2014) Temporary Use as a Tool for Urban Regeneration.
Ferreri M (2015) The seductions of temporary urbanism | ephemera. Ephemera 15 (1): 181–91.
Glick D (2012) Bottom-Up Urbanism: A Survey of Temporary Use in Europe. Accessed 1 May, 2016.
Lehtovuori P and Ruoppila S (2012) Temporary Uses as Means of Experimental Urban Planning. SAJ 4 (1): 29–54.
Lydon M, Bartman D, Woudstra R, and Khawarzad A (2012) Tactical Urbanism Volume 1. Short-term Action || Long-term Change.
Lydon M and Garcia A (2015) Disturbing The Order of Things. In: Lydon M and Garcia A (eds) Tactical urbanism. Short-term action for long-term change. Washington, DC: Island Press, 1–24.
Németh J and Langhorst J (2014) Rethinking urban transformation. Temporary uses for vacant land. Cities 40: 143–50.
Oswalt P, Overmeyer K, and Misselwitz P (eds) (2013) Urban catalyst. The power of temporary use. Berlin: Dom Pub.
Patti D and Polyak L (2015) From practice to policy. Frameworks for temporary use. Urban Research & Practice 8 (1): 122–34.
Rall EL and Haase D (2011) Creative intervention in a dynamic city. A sustainability assessment of an interim use strategy for brownfields in Leipzig, Germany. Landscape and Urban Planning 100 (3): 189–201.
Schlegelmilch F (2008) Zwischennutzungen und Nischen im Städtebau als Beitrag für eine nachhaltige Stadtentwicklung. Ein Projekt des Forschungsprogramms “Experimenteller Wohnungs- und Städtebau”(ExWoSt) des Bundesministeriums für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung (BMVBS) und des Bundesamtes für Bauwesen und Raumordnung (BBR), Werkstatt H. 57. Berlin, Bonn: BMVBS; BBR.


Urban Regeneration: Planning Strategies forPost-Socialist

Da Hae Lee

Planning, a Profession? The Emergence of Spatial Planning as a Distinct Profession in Europe: the Example of Ireland and Germany

Dónall Ó Ceallaigh

The overall theme of the proposed PhD research project is how spatial planning is viewed as a distinct ‘profession’ in two different European countries, namely Ireland and Germany. The proposed research will also investigate the possible emergence of a common understanding of spatial planning as a distinct profession in the wider European context. The research idea  originates from a two stage research project the candidate undertook 2012 and 2013 into to the mutual recognition of the professional qualifications of planners across Europe on behalf of the ECTP-CEU. This research indicated that spatial planning appears to be well established as a distinct profession in United Kingdom and the Republic in Ireland which have prominent professional representative bodies that specifically identify themselves with spatial planning. However, in many other European countries including Germany, such bodies do not seem to be as prevalent and instead of being viewed as a distinct profession, spatial planning appears to be much more closely identified with other established professions such as engineering and architecture.

The proposed research will seek explore the factors which may explain such differences in how spatial planning is understood as a distinct standalone profession in Ireland and Germany. The examples of Ireland and Germany are viewed as being particularly relevant to the exploration of this issue as they represent ideal types not only of two very different spatial planning cultures but also of two different understandings spatial planning as a profession.

Co-Supervisor: Dr. Andrea Frank, Cardiff


Kommunikation und Beteiligung im kommunalen Klimaschutz

Friederike Behr