Yvonne Franz

Universität Wien / 4CITIES Local Coordinator and Lecturer

Courses

Contemporary Challenges in Urban and Regional Development

Research interests

Keywords: urban geography & planning, neighbourhood development, gentrification, public space, integration policies, governance, social innovation, practice approach, urban living labs

The emergence of new “arrival spaces”: The century of urbanization is characterized by established and newly emerging migration patterns. The process of “arriving to a city” becomes more complex and multi-layered as cities are not only growing by population, but they also face challenges with regard to housing shortage, gentrification processes and the need for multiple integration policies. Besides education and workplaces, the urban housing market is of crucial relevancy for the “arriving population”. Critical reflection is needed on the availability, accessibility and affordability of housing for new residents in order to assess the limitations of “arrival spaces” in cities.

The impact of social innovation in neighbourhood development: Social innovation has been an emerging concept across policy, practice and academia to overcome societal challenges by collaborative practices between civil society, private stakeholders and public actors. The basic understanding of social innovation can be broken down to “any co-created innovation closing the gap of public welfare state service and contributing to a societal benefit”. When it comes to urban studies and more precisely to socio-spatial analyses, the questions arises: How does social innovation impact neighbourhood development? This thesis aims at a better conceptual understanding on social innovation in neighbourhood development, the involved actors and framework conditions, as well as at the development of “social innovation proxies” to identify and measure the potential of social innovation at the local scale.

The role of public spaces for socially cohesive neighbourhoods: Living quality and human wellbeing have come under increased pressure in “successful cities” due to population growth, physical densification, economic valorisation, limited open space and an increased vulnerability to climate change. More than ever, public spaces have become increasingly important as spaces for leisure and relaxation, but even more importantly as spaces for (daily) appropriations, democratic participation and spaces of encounter in diversifying societies. The core interest in this field of research asks how public space can contribute to creating cities that are more ecologically, economically AND socially resilient.

Contact

University of Vienna
Department of Geography and Regional Research
Universitätsstraße 7/C406
1010 Vienna, Austria

Tel: +43 1 4277 48783

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Joshua Grigsby

Universität Wien / 4CITIES Assistant Programme Coordinator and Lecturer

Courses

Urban Analysis 3, Geographies of Innovation and Transition

Research interests

Keywords: urban planning, transdisciplinary research, decarbonization, climate change, transition, street design, complexity, psychogeography, cinema, visual geography

Engaging the unsolvable in planning theory & practice: Wicked problems are those that may be unsolvable for reasons of complexity, uncertainty, or disagreement. However, many wicked problems such as climate change or social injustice demand responses at the level of urban planning, which tends to be solutions-oriented. This begs the question, how can a solutions-oriented field effectively engage essentially unsolvable problems? Research in this area is often transdisciplinary, involving complexity theories and systems perspectives.

Radical approaches to post-carbon transition: Fossil fuels are sufficiently embedded into modern global systems (economic, political, and social) for sociologist John Urry to have written that “burning fossil fuels to generate heat, power and movement is the most significant feature of the modern world.” The global community appears to now be forced to choose between runaway climate change and rapid decarbonization, and either option is fraught with almost unfathomable implications. Focusing on the latter, what are the consequences of decarbonization? How might urban society be reshaped by this socio-technical transition, and what alternatives to the current “carbon regime” are feasible or desirable?

Psychogeography: At its most basic level, psychogeography is the study of how the spatial affects the psychological. With ecelctic roots in literature, philosophy, art, architecture, semiotics, and of course psychology and geography, psychogeographic research typically examines how interpretations of space and design impact emotional states and social practices, exposing in the process the fact that design generally and spatial interventions in particular are never neutral. Research methods include various forms of urban exploration, documentation, and visualization.

Realities & representations in visual geography: Geography, whether human or physical, is an inherently visual discipline. Visual geography is an emerging sub-discipline concerned with the depiction of spaces and spatially embedded practices in visual media such as film, photography, and painting. Cities, in cinema, are frequently both setting and character, and the ways in which cities perform and are peformed in films can either open up new ways of seeing and understanding or reify stereotypes and simplifications. Research casts a critical lens on the framing process of visual art in order to expose the implications of observed-observer dynamics: the what, where, who, how, why, and so what of place-performance.

Contact

University of Vienna
Department of Geography and Regional Research
Universitaetsstrasse 7/5/D519 (NIG)
1010 Vienna, Austria

Tel: +43-1-4277-48685

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Alois Humer

Universität Wien / Lecturer

Courses

Contemporary Challenges in Urban and Regional Development

Research interests

Key words: spatial planning cultures; territorial governance; social and technical sector planning; comparative approaches; qualitative and quantitative research designs

Strategic spatial planning in urban regions: Under post-modern conditions, we witness an increasing mismatch of the statutory planning scales and the geographical activity spaces of society and economy. The statutory planning system operates on the levels of local (and regional) authorities, separated by administrative borders and related formal powers. Traditionally, a major challenge was to foster cross-sectoral, integrative urban and regional development. Recently, (functional/ soft) urban regions became the actual prime scale of human activity; for example with regards to labour markets, housing markets, cultural and recreational activities, and not least mobility. Innovative planning practices arise, amonst others, on the urban-regional scale and thus challenge the institutionalised planning system, its instruments and procedures on local and regional level. Additionally, they continue to struggle with the challenge of cross-sectoral integrative planning. Master theses could for example investigate these sectoral and scale tensions in planning from new-institutionalist perspectives, investigating the role and leeway of planning actors, or the (struggle with) changes of established planning procedures and instruments. On the other hand, master theses could analytically question current urban-regional structures, and investigate on future urban-regional settlement and transport concepts beyond administrative borders.

Planning instruments for sustainable urban development: The development of urban and peri-urban areas is, next to the particular goal 11, of cross-cutting importance to achieve the global sustainable development goals SDGs. The standard instruments of urban planning are passive in character. They mostly allow or suggest certain use of land, however cannot proactively work towards the realisation of the desired spatial development. Recently, various instruments of active land policy have emerged in cities across the world. Yet, they carry a financial-economic efficiency logic, or at times a social justice logic. Ecologic concerns, the third pillar of sustainability, is, at best, indirectly addressed, when innovative instruments – such as pre-emption rights, building obligations or land banking – come into play through contractual land use planning. There is much to explore about the effects of active land use policy instruments towards an (ecological) urban and peri-urban development. Master theses could (i) analyse economic, social and/or ecological logics behind, (ii) go into practice cases of (un)successful contractual land use planning and (iii) derive normative recommendations for furthering the set of urban planning instruments by transferring the same instruments into different strategic logics, alter them accordingly, or explore new instruments.

Contact

University of Vienna
Department of Geography and Regional Research
Universitätsstraße 7/C406
1010 Vienna, Austria

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Walter Matznetter

Universität Wien / Lecturer

Courses

Principles in Urban Planning and Urbanism

Research interests

Keywords: comparative urbanism, housing policy, education, internationalisation, infrastructure

Urban housing markets and housing policies: From pre-industrial times, housing shortage has been an endemic problem of cities. In the era of the welfare state, relief has come from national housing policies. With neoliberalisation, urban housing is being re-commercialized, and housing interventions are re-scaled downwards to the urban and regional levels – making comparative studies of selected urban housing sectors within the same nation-state or welfare regime, or between different states and welfare regimes a revealing field of research.

Internationalisation of higher education: The 4CITIES Master is part and parcel of a global phenomenon, the internationalisation of tertiary education. There are 3 million international students today, a mere 2% of all students worldwide. Within Europe, the  percentage is much higher, but most of it is intra-European mobility. The life-time repercussions of being internationally mobile are wide-ranging, but under-researched: from transnational ways of working and living, to international career patterns, to expat retirement colonies. Much of these lives has an urban focus, and offers avenues for innovation, travelling concepts and inspiration, sometimes frustration. At Vienna University, we have a large body of transcribed interviews with international students that could be used as a starting point for comparison.

Urban infrastructure in global cities: Despite globalisation, the material infrastructure of cities is highly uneven, even amongst European cities. Due to the longevity of investments, supply and cost of water, energy, transport etc. is deeply rooted/embedded in specific urban political/planning history. Infrastructure of different age, dimension and importance could be subject of comparative research, from tramway lines and Wi-Fi hotspots to waste collection and cash-machines. Even pre-industrial infrastructure is being utilized again, as cultural heritage and tourist attraction, think of aqueducts and fortifications.  As a global city, the quality of a city’s infrastructure is contributing to its attractiveness as a place for investment, hence to its competitiveness.

Contact

Institut für Geographie und Regionalforschung der Universität Wien
Universitätsstraße 7
1010 Wien, Austria

Tel: +43-1-4277-48683

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Patrick Sakdapolrak

Universität Wien / Professor of Population Geography and Demography

Courses

Urban Population Dynamics

Research interests

Conceptual: Vulnerability, Resilience, Livelihoods, Bourdieu’s Practice Theory
Thematic: Human-Environment Relations, Migration and Flight, Health and Illness
Regional: South Asia (India), Southeast Asia (Thailand), East Africa (Kenya)

Contact

Department of Geography und Regional Research
Universitätsstraße 7/5
1010 Vienna, Austria

Tel: +43-1-4277-48730

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Michaela Trippl

Universität Wien / Professor of Economic Geography

Courses

Geographies of Innovation and Transition

Research interests

Keywords: Regional structural change, industrial dynamics and diversification; Regional innovation policy; Mobility and migration of skilled workers; Role of universities in regional development; Cross-border regional development.

Contact

Department of Geography and Regional Research
Universitätsstraße 7, 5th floor, Room: A0528
1010 Vienna, Austria

Tel: +43-1-4277-48720

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