Habitat Unit

Associated Researcher

Prof. Dr. Peter Herrle 

Peter Herrle


Curriculum Vitae

For 17 years, Prof. Dr. Peter Herrle had been the head of the Habitat Unit. His research activities covered the fields of mega-urban regions, housing provision and housing arrangements, informal urban development, architecture and identity, urban governance (including the involvement of the civil society and NGOs in developing and transitioning countries) and the international civil society networks and their role in local housing processes.

He was able to offer a broad perspective on international architecture and planning in his teaching thanks to his engagement in numerous countries in the Middle East, Asia, South America and Africa. Study trips, international workshops and summer schools abroad extended his teaching in Berlin. Moreover, Prof. em. Herrle is the initiator for the Urban Design Master Program in cooperation with the Tongji University Shanghai (2005) and the Urban Management postgraduate master’s programme (2004) and thus shaped the teaching opportunities at the TU Berlin significantly. At Tongji University Shanghai, he has been a permanent Advisory Professor since 2002 and the head of the academic board for the international and interdisciplinary Urban Management programme for urban development practitioners. From 1996 to 2001, he was also the coordinator of the CUIDAD network supported under the EU ALFA programme. The network included partners from Lima, Mexico City, Athens, Sao Paulo and Rotterdam.

He is still actively engaging in teaching and research at the Habitat Unit by supervising research projects and doctoral theses.

Beyond his activities at the Habitat Unit, he has given advice through the OIKOS Human Settlement Research Group to institutions and has been a member of organisations such as the German International Development Cooperation GIZ, the World Bank, the Catalytic Fund of the Cities, Slum Dwellers International, Misereor. From 2008 to 2010, he was a member of the international advisory panel for the UNESCO chair in Sustainable Urban Development for Asia and the Pacific.

Advise on his research fields have also been given to governments such as China, Yemen and Egypt. As an editor he has worked for the Habitat International Series (LIT Publishers) since 2003 and as co-editor of the Megacities and Global Change Series (Steiner Publishers) since 2008.


1978 – 1983
Doctorate of Engineering (Dr.-Ing.)
Including a PhD scholarship by the Studienstiftung des Duetschen Volkes
awarded for fiel work in India and Nepal
Stuttgart University

1967 – 1974
Sociology, Architecture and Urban Planning
Universities of Mannheim, Darmstadt and Stuttgart

Employment History+

Since 2013
Professor emeritus
Habitat Unit, TU Berlin

Since 2005
Head of the Academic Board of the Urban Management Master Program, International postgraduate program for practioners in urban development, supported by DAAD and GIZ

Since 2002
Permanent Advisory Professor
Tongji University Shanghai

1995 – 2012
Professor for Architecture and International Urbanism
Habitat Unit, TU Berlin

1996 – 2001
Coordinator of the CIUDAD network
including the Universidad Nacional de Ingeneria (Lima), Instituto Politechnico Nacional (Mexico City), National University of Athens, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Institute for Housing Studies (Rotterdam), TU Berlin, supported by the EU ALFA program

Research Projects+

Since 2011
DFG Project: Housing for the Urban Poor – From Local Projects to Global Networks
Habitat Unit, TU Berlin

Since 2011
DFG Project: Vernacular Architecture in the Himalayan Region. An inventory of Vanishing Traditions.

2008 – 2012
DFG Project: The Significance of Ernst Boerschmann for Cultural Transfer: Reception and Impact of his Research between 1902 and 1949 on Traditional Chinese Architecture.

2006 – 2009
DFG Project: The dynamics of peri-urbanization in the Pearl River Delta: Emerging land use patterns, urban villages and their linkages to global mechanisms. In the framework of the 6-year DFG Priority Program 1233 on 'Megacities – Megachellenge: Informal Dynamics of Global Change', Habitat Unit, TU Berlin and University Kassel

2004 – 2008
DFG Priority Program: Megacities – informal Dynamics and Global Change. Member of the coordination committee.

2006 – 2007
BMBF Project: Governing emerging megacities: Water, health and Housing in Pearl-River-Delta/China and Pune/India. BMBF (German Ministry of Education and Research) initiative on 'Research on the Sustainable Development of the Megacities of Tomorrow', Habitat Unit, TU Berlin; Institute of Geography, University Cologne; UFC Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig and InWent Internationale Weiterbildung und Entwicklung GmbH

2003 – 2005
Volkswagen Stiftung Project: The "own" and the "foreign" in architecture. Architecture and the making of identity in the developing world. A comparative study with reference to Brazil, Mexico, the Middle East, India and Singapore.

2002 – 2003
GTZ Project: Environmental Management in Low-income urban Settlements, cross country study and guidelines for improvement.

1999 – 2002
Regional Development Plan for the Region XI (Aysén) in Chile. Responsible consultant for chapters on human settlement development and housing

1996 – 1999
Informal Urban Development in Metropolitan Cities of India. In collaboration with Prof. Dr. Neelima Risbud. Habitat Unit, TU Berlin and School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi

1995 – 2000
DFG and BMZ project: Physical Densification in Informal Settlements of Lima and Mexico City.

1979 – 1983
DFG project: Research on housing and urban planning in developing countries, field work in the Philippines and India. Head of research team at Stuttgart University

Teaching Activities+

Teaching has included the fields of: urban governance; civil society involvement; international networks; urban conservation and architectural heritage; urban design; urbanisation, sustainable urban development; housing and upgrading policies; decentralised urban management; perticipative planning techniques; strategic and action planning; training modules, training manuals and handbooks; training and institutional development.



with Astrid Ley and Josefine Fokdal (forthcoming 2015) From Local Action to Global Networks: Housing the Urban Poor. London: Ashgate.

with Josefine Fokdal and D. Ipsen (2014) Beyond Urbanism. Urban(izing) Villages and the Mega-urban Landscape. The case oft he Pearl River Delta, China. Münster: LIT Publishers.

with E. Wegerhoff (2008) Architecture and Identity. Münster: LIT Publishers

with L. Zhu and Sonja Nebel (2007) Yangzhou Urban Upgrading Strategy. Beijing: Phoenix Science Press

with et al. (2002) Improving Waste Management in Urban Low Income Areas. Wiesbaden: Universum Verlagsgesellschaft 3vls


Book contributions

with Astrid Ley and Josefine Fokdal (2014) Entangled or empowered? Networks of grassroots organisations and NGOs in housing and human settlement processes. In: C. Haferburg and M. Huchzermeyer, eds. Urban Governance in Postapartheid Cities: Modes of Engagement in South Africa's Metropolis. Borntraeger Science Publishers

with Josefine Fokdal and Astrid Ley (2012) New Urban Players in Africa and Asia: The Role of Grassroots organizations. In: K. Töpfer and H. Mieg, eds. Institutional and Social Urban Innovation for Sustainable Urban Development, n.a.

with Josefine Fokdal (2012) Dörfer in der Stadt, Städter auf dem Land – Wohnen im Perlflussdelta in Südchina. In: T. Harlander, ed. Soziale Mischung in der Stadt. Kraemer

(2010) Stichwort "Informelle Siedlungen". In: Henckel et a., eds. Planen – Bauen – Umwelt. Ein Handbuch. VS-Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften

(2008) Architecture and Identity? Steppenwolf and the Carriers of Change. In: with E. Wegerhoff, eds. Architecture and Identity. LIT Publishers


Refereed articles

with Anna Wozniak (2014) Bhutan auf dem „mittleren Weg". Universitas, (69)

with Josefine Fokdal (2011) Beyond the Urban Informality Discourse – Negotiating Power, Legitimacy and Resources. Geografische Zeitschrift, (99)

with Josefine Fokdal (2010) Negotiated Space: Urban Villages in the Pearl River Delta. Trialog, (102/103)

(2008) About the imprint of villagers on the mega-urban landscape in South China. The role of 'Urban Villagers' in the development oft he Pearl River Delta. Geografische Rundschau, (60)


Other articles and publications

with Astrid Ley and Josefine Fokdal (2014) From Beneficiaries to Negotiators – How Urban Poor Transnational Networks Bargain for Better Housing. Sustainable Living Urban Model. In: Slum Lab, (9)

with et al (2006) The Metropolises of the South: Laboratory for Innovations? Towards Better Urban Management with New Alliances. In: Policy Paper 25: Development and Peace foundation. Bonn

with Sonja Nebel (2005): Old City of Aleppo. Conservation and Development Strategy. Directorate of the Old City of Aleppo GTZ

with Uwe-Jens Walther (2005) Socially inclusive Cities. Emerging Concepts and Practice. In: Habitat International Series

Professional and Academic Affiliations+

SRL - Association of Urban and Regional Planners, Germany

Architektenkammer (Chamber of Architects)

TRIALOG - Zeitschrift für das Planen und Bauen in der Dritten Welt
Association for scientific Research of Planning and Building in the Developing Countries

N-AERUS Network
Association of European Researchers on Urbanization in the South

Deutscher Werkbund (German Work Federation)

World Society for Ekistics

Habitat International Series at LIT Publishers

Megacities and Global Change Series at Steiner Publishers