current projects

Effectiveness of local transport planning and policy
METROGOV – Knowledge and capacity building in the field of planning and governance for metropolitan regions in a context of socio-environmental challenges (DAAD)
EURA Working Group on National Urban Policies in Europe
ZUKUR – Zukunft Stadtregion Ruhr
Metropolitan regions in Europe (DFG)

completed projects

Alternd zu Fuß oder mit dem Fahrrad – URBAN MOBIL OHNE STRESS (AFOOT/AEQUIPA)
Lokale Generierung handlungsrelevanten Wissens in der lokalen Klimapolitik (DFG)
Scientific policy advice in spatial planning

Effectiveness of local transport planning and policy

Duration: March 2019 – December 2021

Funding: Ministry of Transport of North Rhine-Westphalia in cooperation with the organization Zukunftsnetz Mobilität NRW

Goal of the project:

In the presence of climate change and adverse environmental effects, local transport policy and transport planning have recently gained importance in political, scientific and public debates. The need for a change in the transport sector has been recognised for decades. Nevertheless, no significant success has yet been achieved in the transport sector. This implementation gap, if not policy failure, is the motivation of the research project “Effectiveness of strategic local transport planning and transport policy”. The kickoff has been last March and the project will be finished by the end of 2021. The Project is conducted jointly by two Departments, European Planning Cultures and Transport Planning. The cooperation of two the disciplines of Political Science and Engineering supports the integrative approach needed to answer the question of why local transport policy fails.

Goal of the project is to identify factors of success and obstacles of sustainable transport planning and policy on the local level. In this context the project investigates also whether the lack of success is caused by a political implementation gap, a knowledge gap or by other factors such as financing. This is examined on the basis of ten German municipalities. Some of them are (generally) considered as pioneers of sustainable transport in Germany, others are just at the beginning of a transformation process. To identify their strategic approach, successes and failures, the study analyses technical aspects and political processes, as well as practical experience. Among others, we expect that certain types of plans and strategic approaches prove to be particularly promising and others as less effective and represent a more symbolic attitude.

METROGOV – Knowledge and capacity building in the field of planning and governance for metropolitan regions in a context of socio-environmental challenges (DAAD)

Duration: 4 years

Funding: DAAD and FAPESP

Nowadays, the challenges of metropolitan areas are widely discussed, in particular with regard to large agglomerations in the so-called Global South. Processes of state rescaling, the new roles played by state actors, private corporations and societal actors push towards a reconfiguration of planning and governance by new discourses, institutional arrangements, tools and practices. Global agendas and agreements such as the New Urban Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement are enacting the emergence of new global platforms dealing with contemporary socio-environmental trends and challenges. Considering these current global driving forces, this project proposes to consolidate an already existing international partnership aiming at generating knowledge and capacity building in the field of planning, governance and policy-making for sustainable metropolitan regions in a context of socio-environmental challenges, taking a comparative Brazilian-German perspective.
The relevance of the proposal is related to the fact that Brazil and Germany are federal states, sharing the challenge of improving intergovernmental coordination on a metropolitan and macro metropolitan scale; and – from a governance perspective – strengthening institutional arrangements and deepening cooperative practices with extra-governmental stakeholders, in order to enhance governability, effectiviness and democratic legitimacy of public action. A comparative study on metropolitan environmental planning and governance, as proposed in this research and academic exchange project, considering the particular conditions of multi-level-systems and power relations, should contribute to come to a better understanding of how these institutional and political conditions support or hinder possibilities of effectively tackling climate change with related policies and initiatives for the benefit of metropolitan sustainability.
The three universities (Dortmund, Duisburg-Essen, UFABC) propose the integration and mutual adjustment of their curriculums favouring the exchange of professors, researchers and master students, at different academic levels. UFABC and TU Dortmund have already come to an agreement about the participation of UFABC in the International Joint Master of Science “Regional Development Planning and Management” (SPRING). In the medium term, we expect that this academic cooperation project paves the way for the implementation of master programs at UFABC, taught completely in English, and the creation of joint PhD programs with the German Partners, allowing permanent interaction and exchange between the involved programs. It is important to highlight the synergies with the CAPES/Print Program of Internationalisation and a recently submitted project to FINEP on Urban Drainage and Rainwater Management, both counting on the collaboration of the partner universities and additional technical agencies located in the Ruhr Region. The project is linked in Brazil with the FAPESP-funded thematic project “Environmental governance of the Sao Paulo Macrometropolis (SPMM) in face of climate variability (Macroamb)”, under the coordination of Prof. Pedro Jacobi, IEE-USP (duration: May 2017-May 2022). Its main goal is to analyse institutional arrangements, processes of cooperation, environmental policies and territorial dynamics in the context of the SPMM, adopting an interdisciplinary perspective. The two main subprojects on environmental governance and territorial planning are coordinated by Klaus Frey and Sandra Momm, respectively. In the German context the initiative can build on two ongoing projects. At TU Dortmund the project ZUKUR (BMBF) is directed towards identifying, exploring and reducing barriers between long-term policies and goals of resilient regional development for adapting to ecological, social and economic challenges. The project at the University Duisburg Essen, integrated in the multi-disciplinary research college FUTURE WATER, is examining how water governance on the state level is affected by information exchange networks between collective actors from different sectors and levels. Both projects share with the Macroamb project the concern of adopting an integrated research focusing on the potentials and conditionalities of public policies, planning practices as well as instruments and overarching governance-forms to contribute to actively build future-oriented and sustainable regions.

EURA Working Group on National Urban Policies in Europe

Urban problems are back on the political agenda and several policy documents, such as the New Urban Agenda as well as the Pact of Amsterdam (EU Urban Agenda), call for national urban policies as one of the key measures to implement the goals defined in these documents. It’s not difficult in this respect to figure out why UN Habitat has been investing on trying to define National Urban Policies: in fact, without significant help in terms of financing but also without appropriate policy knowledge and legal instruments, supported by national governments, cities will hardly be able to implement the goals of the internationally signed urban agenda adopted in Quito in 2016 or the Pact of Amsterdam.

Given the current relevance of the topic, it’s indeed surprising that there is no comprehensive and comparative work on the trajectories of single national urban policies in Europe. National urban policies do exist in different forms and their scope and variation is very high (from the French politique de la ville to the German Städtebauförderung, the former Dutch VINEX, the British „New Deal for Communities“ (2001-2010) or the more recent Urban Renaissance). Other States do not have explicit urban policies, but consistently implement EU-measures (such as URBAN II and cohesion policies). It’s also remarkable that some member states used to have explicit national urban regeneration programmes but abolished them for different reasons (the UK being a case in point). These changes call for explanation. The EURA working group on National Urban Policies seeks answer the following questions in a comparative perspective: what are instruments, goals, etc. of national urban policies? What are the political struggles? Can we observe convergence or divergence? Was a specific type of National Urban Policy a temporary phenomenon of the post-war Keynesian welfare state? And what comes next? What kind of national urban policy emerges in more and more decentralized settings? Or is it an obsolete model?

The group met for first time at the EURA conference in Tilburg in June 2018. More to follow soon.

Zukunft Stadtregion Ruhr [ZUKUR]

Duration: Juli 2017 – Juli 2020

Umfang: 1,8 Millionen Euro

ZUKUR ist das Akronym für ein vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) gefördertes Forschungsprojekt, an dem neben 10 Fachgebieten der Fakultät Raumplanung auch drei Praxispartner teilnehmen. ZUKUR steht für Zukunft-Stadt-Region-Ruhr.

Das Projekt strebt an, die Erhaltung natürlicher Lebensgrundlagen im Sinne einer Klimaresilienz und die universelle gesellschaftliche Teilhabe zur Bewältigung sozial-ökologischer Ungleichheit mit den spezifischen Eigenarten der Städte im Ruhrgebiet zusammenzudenken. Dieses Zusammendenken fehlt noch in der Lebenswirklichkeit der Städteregion Ruhr, die von erheblichen sozial-ökologischen Ungleichheiten und Klimarisiken geprägt ist.

ZUKUR begleitet den anhaltenden Transformationsprozess der Region auf drei räumlichen Ebenen. Die drei Ebenen Region, Stadt und Quartier bilden jeweils Kulissen für Reallabore. In diesen sollen mit den Praxispartnern sowie Bürgerinnen und Bürgern innovative Lösungen zum Umgang mit Klimarisiken und sozial-ökologischer Ungleichheit entwickelt werden.

Zu den Praxispartnern gehören der Regionalverband Ruhr / RVR (Reallabor Region), die Stadt Bottrop (Reallabor Stadt) und die Stadt Dortmund (Reallabor Quartier Dortmund-Marten).

Das Fachgebiet Europäische Planungskulturen ist beteiligt an den Arbeitspaketen 4 und 5.

Metropolitan regions in Europe (DFG)

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Changing Governance and Planning in Metropolitan Regions. An international comparison of Germany, Italy and France.

Start: autumn 2016
Duration: 4 years

The function of metropolitan regions is currently re-defined in many European states due to changes in the welfare states and ever increasing global competition. In some states such as France and Italy, but also Germany we observe the emergence of scale specific governance arrangements and planning policies. The developments in the mentioned states illustrate different pathways: in Germany bottom-up, slowly and therefore contingent upon regional contexts, in France and Italy more top down with strong incentives given by central government. Regional planning is given different emphasis. The objective of the proposed research is the description and subsequent analysis of the development paths in national spatial development policies with regard to the concept of metropolitan regions in the three states. The research project seeks to find out if we can observe divergent or convergent developments. Empirically the comparison is organized around four dimensions: institutional aspects, functional aspects (competition, welfare policies), ideas (reasons and arguments) and spatial aspects. This differentiated approach allows for a more nuanced description of convergent or divergent developments. The empirical approach follows a multilevel-comparison. We compare two regions within each state and three states and six regions in total. In consequence we can distinguish national from local/regional influences.

The research questions are:

  • Which formats and strategies are observable on which scale and how are they justified (Dimension of ideas)?
  • Which public functions are accomplished in metropolitan regions and which are the implications for strategic coordination on the level of the metro region?


Zimmermann, Karsten; Galland, Daniel; Harrison, John (Hrsg.) (2020): Metropolitan Regions, Planning and Governance. Cham: Springer International Publishing; Imprint Springer.

Feiertag, Patricia (2020) Les métropoles françaises et les pôles métropolitains vus d’Allemagne. In : Demazière, C ; Desjardins, X ; Sykes, O (eds) La gouvernance des métropoles et des régions urbaines en Europe. Des réformes institutionnelles aux coopérations territoriales. Paris : Collection Recherche  du Plan urbanisme construction architecture (PUCA). n°240, 167-187

Zimmermann, Karsten; Feiertag, Patricia (2019): Return of the metro-model. Governance and planning in metropolitan regions under change. An international comparison of France, Italy and Germany. In: IRMB Papers 61, Special Issue Metropolitan Governance, 16–26.

Special Issue Re-Scaling Metropolitan Governance in Europe, Raumforschung und Raumordnung, Volume 75, Issue 3


Governance e pianificazione nelle aree metropolitane in transizione – Uno studio comparato tra Germania, Italia e Francia –

Inizio: autunno 2016
Durata: 4 anni

Lo sviluppo territoriale di molti stati europei è caratterizzato da un marcato e continuo processo di metropolizzazione, con importanti conseguenze dal punto di vista della pianificazione urbana. Nelle aree metropolitane si concentrano per esempio la maggior parte dei flussi migratori, fenomeno che comporta nuove forme di disuguaglianza e problemi di integrazione sociale. Le aree metropolitane rivelano inoltre alti livelli di inquinamento ambientale.

Tuttavia in molti casi le forme di governo locale appaiono inadeguate: si registrano per esempio, carenze nel coordinamento della pianificazione territoriale e infrastrutturale, nella pianificazione dei trasporti e in altri servizi pubblici (per esempio, gestione dei rifiuti, approvvigionamento energetico, edilizia, trasporti pubblici). In Europa infatti le aree metropolitane continuano ad essere considerate quasi esclusivamente per la loro funzione economica. Così per esempio, in Germania e in Francia.

Attraverso questo studio comparato tra Germania, Francia e Italia intendiamo interrogare e studiare il ruolo delle aree metropolitane non soltanto dal punto di vista della loro dimensione economica ma anche e soprattutto dal punto di vista della loro dimensione istituzionale (competenze formali, sistema di pianificazione), sociale e territoriale. L’approccio multidimensionale è infatti necessario per poter comprendere e spiegare la complessità ed eterogeneità delle dinamiche in corso in queste aree. Il confronto tra i diversi sistemi di pianificazione territoriale e i recenti sviluppi in Germania, Francia e Italia ci permetterà inoltre di interrogare anche la natura di eventuali convergenze e divergenze che potrebbero caratterizzarli.

Più precisamente, cercheremo di rispondere alle seguenti domande:

  • Quali forme e strategie di governo locale si possono osservare (politica nazionale di pianificazione territoriale, politiche regionali e metropolitane) e come vengono applicate?
  • Quali sono i servizi pubblici garantiti a livello locale/ regionale dalle aree metropolitane? Quali conseguenze ne derivano a livello istituzionale?
  • Può la pianificazione territoriale (in particolare quella metropolitana) svolgere un ruolo integrativo e di coordinamento fra i diversi livelli istituzionali (nazionale, regionale, locale)? Quali sono le procedure formali utilizzate?
  • Quale rapporto esiste fra la popolazione e queste nuove forme di governo locale?

completed projects


Bericht zum Abschluss des Forschungsberichts

Duration: 01.03.2015-31.01.2018 (erste Förderphase) und 01.02.2018-31.01.2021 (zweite Förderphase)

Funding: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung

Responsible: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sabine Baumgart; M.Sc. Paula Quentin; Prof. Dr. Zimmermann

in cooperation with

Prof. Dr. rer. physiol. Gabriele Bolte, MPH

Institut für Public Health und Pflegeforschung (IPP)

Abteilung Sozialepidemiologie

University of Bremen


AEQUIPA ist ein regionales Präventionsforschungsnetzwerk in der Metropolregion Nordwest. Die Kernthemen des Netzwerks sind körperliche Aktivität als wesentlicher Baustein des gesunden Alterns und gesundheitliche Chancengleichheit. AEQUIPA nutzt theoriebasierte empirische Forschung, um primärpräventive Interventionen zu entwickeln, zu implementieren und zu evaluieren. Somit strebt AEQUIPA an, die Evidenzbasis für körperliche Aktivität für gesundes Altern zu stärken und neue Erkenntnisse über umweltbezogene, soziale, kontextuelle und individuelle Bedingungen für körperliche Aktivität bei Personen der Altersgruppe 65+ zu gewinnen. Das Netzwerk wird vom BIPS koordiniert und umfasst fünf Teilprojekte sowie zwei Querschnittsmaßnahmen. Im Teilprojekt AFOOT werden Strategien der Stadtentwicklung zur Gestaltung des Wohnumfelds und öffentlicher Räume untersucht, Indikatoren für bewegungsfördernde Wohnumwelten (insbesondere Fußgänger-/Fahrradfreundlichkeit) identifiziert und als Anknüpfungspunkte für die Abschätzung von Folgen für Gesundheit und soziale Chancengleichheit genutzt. Mit dem Schwerpunkt auf Klein- und Mittelstädten der Region wird ein Leitfaden für ressortübergreifende Planungsprozesse und Verfahrensweisen entwickelt.

Further information:


Download der im Projekt entstandenen Arbeitshilfe „Aktive Mobilität im Alter fördern“ unter:


Lokale Generierung handlungsrelevanten Wissens in der lokalen Klimapolitik (DFG)

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In der interdisziplinären Forschergruppe wird aus unterschiedlichen Perspektiven der Frage nachgegangen, warum sich Städte für bestimmte Strategien und Maßnahmen des Klimaschutzes und der Klimaanpassung entscheiden und wie diese begründet werden? Es kooperieren Wissenschaftler aus den Bereichen Politikwissenschaft, Wirtschaftswissenschaft, Bauingenieurwesen und Stadtplanung.

  • Die einzelnen Teilprojekte beschäftigen sich mit den folgenden Inhalten:
  • Städtewettbewerb, Städtenetze und lokales Politiklernen im Klimawandel
  • Lokale Strategien zum Klimaschutz und Klimaanpassung in Flächenmanagement und Immobilienwirtschaft
  • Städtische Verkehrsplanung und Verkehrsmanagement- Lokale Formierung handlungsrelevanten Wissens im europäischen Kontext
  • Verwaltungsalltag: Generierung von Wissen in der Planungs- und Umweltverwaltung

Im Teilprojekt “Verwaltungsalltag: Generierung von Wissen in der Planungs- und Umweltverwaltung” soll gezeigt werden, welche Routinen der Problemverarbeitung sich in den Verwaltungen der drei Städte Stuttgart, München und Frankfurt am Main entwickelt haben. Zudem soll aufgezeigt werden, welche Wissensstrategien in den Kommunalverwaltungen gewählt werden, um Unsicherheit zu minimieren und innovative Praktiken auf den Weg zu bringen. Das Projekt untersucht auch, ob und wie der organisatorische Aufbau der gesamten Verwaltung, die den Ämtern zugeordneten Aufgabenbündel sowie Organisationsveränderungen die Generierung von handlungsrelevantem Wissen in der Planung beeinflussen. Die Fallstudienarbeit verläuft entlang einzelner räumlich und zeitlich eingegrenzter Planungsepisoden (Städtebaulicher Vertrag, Klimaprogramm, Stadtentwicklungskonzept, Entwicklungsmaßnahme).



Diepes, Christoph (2018): Klimaschutz und Klimaanpassung in der verbindlichen Bauleitplanung. Eine vergleichende Analyse ausgewählter Städte. Lemgo: Verlag Dorothea Rohn.

Urban Research and Practice, Special Issue on Local Climate Policies, Vol. 8, Issue 3

Zimmermann, Karsten; Boghrat, Jasmin; Weber, Meike (2015): The epistemologies of local climate change policies in Germany, in: Urban Research and Practice, Special Issue on Local Climate Policies, Vol. 8, Issue 3, 303-308 Download here

Jasmin Boghrat/Meike Weber/Karsten Zimmermann/Wolfram Lamping 2014: Kommunalverwaltung und Klimawandel. Wissensgenerierung, Framing, und die Erzeugung von Handlungsfähigkeit, in: dms – der moderne staat – Zeitschrift für Public Policy, Recht und Management, 7. Jg., Heft 2/2014, 289-309

Heinelt, H./ Lamping, W. (2015): Wissen und Entscheiden. Lokale Strategien gegen den Klimawandel in Frankfurt am Main, München und Stuttgart. Frankfurt am Main Campus



Prof. Karsten Zimmermann

Prof. Julian Wékel

TU Darmstadt, Fachbereich Architektur, Fachgebiet Entwerfen und Regionalentwicklung


Scientific policy advice in spatial planning

Evidenced based planning is a salient issue and evokes questions about the role of expertise and scientific policy advice in spatial planning. The paper considers recent trends in the debate on scientific policy advice (crises of expertise, privatization/democratization of expertise, blurring of boundaries between science and policy) and reflects upon these trends against the background of the particular situation of scientific policy advice in spatial planning in Germany. Many insights from the wider debate on policy advice also hold true for spatial planning. However, spatial planning, at least in Germany, reveals some particularities. The scientific foundation of spatial planning is interdisciplinary and the gap between science and practice is probably less visible compared to other scientific disciplines. This makes dualistic approaches (science – policy boundaries) questionable. At the same time recent trends towards Gesellschaftsberatung (advice for society), transformative science and transdisciplinarity are attractive directions in spatial planning.



Zimmermann, Karsten; Feiertag, Patricia (2020) Zwischen Theorie und Praxis. Die Rolle der wissenschaftlichen Politikberatung. In: Informationen zur Raumentwicklung, Jg 47, Heft 2, Themenheft Zwischen Wissenschaft und Praxis – Planung auf dem Prüfstand, S. 38-47

Feiertag, Patricia (2018) Politikrelevantes Wissen in der Raumplanung. Grenzarbeit zwischen Wissenschaft und Politik in Deutschland, den Niederlanden und der Schweiz. Rohn: Lemgo. Zugl.: Dortmund, Techn. Univ., Diss., 2018

Special Issue Disp- The planning Review, 2017, 53(4)

Gérard Hutter und Andreas Otto: Raumwissenschaft und Politikberatung – am Beispiel von Projekten zur Klimaanpassung in Städten und Regionen

Karsten Zimmermann: Relevanz, Wandel und Anforderungen wissenschaftlicher Politikberatung in der Raumplanung

Lina Berglund Snodgrass i: Conceptualising knowledge in spatial planning, and displacement of ‘the political’