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Call for Membership: Planning & Governing the Metropolis

To establish an international academic working group (IAK) on

"Planning & Governing the Metropolis"

the ARL is currently looking for participants. The members of the working group will work for approximately three years together and address the topic and its sub-aspects both from inter- and transdisciplinary perspectives.


Different processes of rescaling (up, down, trans-scaling) in the EU countries have multi-faceted im-pact to the metropolitan governance and planning institutions. There is a variety of institutional forms, planning practices and episodes manifested and experimented recently in the metropolitan regions of Europe, but there is a gap of knowledge about these structures and processes - both in academia and practice . Despite a diversity of books produced in the last few years on metropolitan governance issues pre-senting collections of case studies, there is no systematic comparison of factors that influence the institutional form of metropolitan governance, the success factors and the performance of metropol-itan governance and especially the role of metropolitan planning. Nowadays, a distinct set of problems and challenges for the metropolitan planning emerge. Included in these emerging hurdles are: non-regulated competition among municipalities to attract new in-vestments, new fragmentations and contradictions under fiscal and economic crisis, unprecedented external episodes, new environmental and demographic problems, uncontrolled migration and refu-gees flows, increased inequalities, social and territorial segregation, and new poverty in the cities. All these challenges reformulate new requirements for planning and development agendas at different scales.

In the past, academics and practitioners gave priorities to the issues of entrepreneurship, competi-tion, performance of metropolitan institutions, “market”-led planning, while they undermined the issues of redistribution, local democracy, social justice, and environmental challenges (green infra-structure). Consequently, open questions as to how and whether these new challenges and prob-lems should be addressed by metropolitan planning and development practices and institutions re-main. A critical appraisal is required which will not only focus on criteria of performance, innovation and efficiency, but also on criteria of democracy, transparency, social justice and social cohesion.

Aims and research questions

Main questions to be dealt within these three years are:

a. Institutions

How can we explain the variety of forms of metropolitan institutions among the EU countries (or even in the same country) and how to interpret their transformations across time? What are the reasons for change, from consolidated forms to abolishment of metropolitan institutions and then again to resurgence of new forms, e.g. London, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Manchester etc.? How do metropolitan institutions deal with the new challenges and problems?

b. Actors

How important are actor constellations in the rescaling processes? Do they influence transformations and/or continuities of metropolitan governance and planning? How are actor’s strategies at different scales reconstructing? How are horizontal and vertical power relations transforming? E. g. between national spatial strategies for metropolitan regions and local actor strategies in the metropolitan areas (juxtaposed or negotiated).

c. Practices/Discourses/ Cultures

How important is the local context? How important are beliefs, concepts/ideas, frames, narratives and knowledge for the public discourse and the metropolitan governance and planning practices? How is a prevailing/ hegemonic narrative constructed from different and juxtaposed planning and development practices in metropolitan areas?

Organisation and procedure

The call is addressed to academics and researchers from European countries, who have solid exper-tise on metropolitan governance and planning issues and are interested to contribute (in a compara-tive perspective) to debate on the aforementioned challenges that metropolitan institutions have to deal with in the future.

We invite you to participate in an International Working Group, initiated by ARL, which will be chaired by Prof. Panagiotis Getimis (TU Darmstadt) and Prof. Karsten Zimmermann (TU Dortmund). The working period will last for approx. three years. The group will meet for two to three workshops a year. Meetings will be held at various locations across Europe, mainly where group members are located. The group will consist of up to twelve permanent expert members, complemented by invited experts relevant to the topics of research. Officials and practitioners of relevant institutions originating especially from the meeting locations can be invited. Open meetings with the participation of scholars or session at international conferences (AESOP, EURA) are possible to promote exchange and communication across Europe. The ARL will reimburse travel expenses to all working group members and invited experts according to the German Federal Travel Expenses Act.

The research and work programme will be set out in detail at the constituent meeting. The members are expected to contribute actively to this programme, establishing a fruitful and output-oriented dialogue. The results will be published in a scientific book, and, in aggregate form, via communication channels of the ARL. Furthermore, the group will strive for the presentation of findings in respective conferences and congresses within Europe.


The IAK’s work programme requires an inter- and transdisciplinary approach, inviting the involvement of members of research institutions in urban and regional planning, geography, environmental studies, political sciences, regional economy, and other relevant disciplines. If you are interested in participating in the working group, please submit your statement of interest (in digital form) by 26.02.2016.

In your application you should 1) briefly explain your interest in participating (max. 300 words), 2) specify your research perspectives and potential contributions to the working group (max. 500 words) and refer to your relevant professional skills and experience (short CV, including the bibliography of your most relevant publications/projects; max. two pages). Please send your application in digital form to Evelyn Gustedt as the responsible expert at the Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (ARL).

Dr. Evelyn Gustedt
Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (ARL)
Head of Department “Spatial Planning and Policy”
Hohenzollernstr. 11
30161 Hannover (Germany)
Tel.: +49-511 34842-29