2016 – 2019
Post-Rural Urbanism: A Comparative Study of Alternative Socio-Spatial Practices in Urbanised and Dispersed Hinterlands across Germany and China
In the context of an accelerated urbanisation on planetary scale, the PhD project seeks to investigate extended urbanisation processes within dispersed hinterlands across Germany and China, which affect material and societal conditions, relations, life-styles, economies and ecologies alike. It is against this backdrop that the project focuses on the social capital of local grassroots initiatives and their established networks engaging in the development of alternative, cooperative and sustainable economies and life-styles, which contribute to progressive social change within regions. Through the empirical analysis and theoretical classification of these emerging practices and their socio-spatial dimension, the project on the one hand, aims to contribute to a critical reflection and broader discussion about participatory planning approaches within urban-regional development. On the other hand it attempts to achieve a more sophisticated conceptualisation of urbanised post-rural hinterlands beyond the omnipresent categories of ‘methodological cityism’ and its exclusionary binaries of urban-rural, town-countryside, or center-periphery.