Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Urban Sociology




Urban Citizenship-Making at Times of Crisis. Building local-level resilience among migrants in Berlin, Copenhagen and Tel Aviv (Research Project; 4/2021-10/2022)

This 18-months project is interested in the urban dimensions of the Covid-19 crisis. It focuses on the role of community organizations for access to information and resources under pandemic conditions, especially for migrants. The research set-up is comparative and works with case studies in Berlin, Copenhagen, and Tel Aviv in order to pay attention to locally specific settings. Project leaders are Dr. Henrik Lebuhn (Berlin), Dr. Nir Cohen (Tel Aviv), and Dr. Tatiana Fogelman (Copenhagen). Located at the Georg-Simmel-Center for Metropolitan Studies at HU Berlin, the project is funded by Volkswagen Foundation as part of the program "Corona Crisis and Beyond - Perspectives for Science, Scholarship and Society".

  • Project Duration: April 2021 until October 2022
  • Research Assistants: Daniela Krüger (Berlin); Lisa Chodorkoff (Kopenhagen); Mayaan Ravid (Tel Aviv)


Health Justice. Critique and Dissemination (Teaching Research; SoSe 2022)

In this teaching research project, we first work our way into current debates on the topic of "city and health", especially with regard to the literature on environmental justice, critical social epidemiology, critical cartography, and urban sociological approaches to care. On this basis, we then develop our own media formats that make the topic of environmental and health justice accessible and understandable to a broader public. Using tangible examples, we also critically reflect on the implicit presuppositions. As an "output" of this project, we plan to design and compile material for teachers and political educators. The material will be made available to all interested parties via the Berlin educational server. The project is a cooperation between the Department of Urban and Regional Sociology (Henrik Lebuhn) and the Department of Geography (Henning Füller) at HU Berlin and is primarily aimed at BA students.


Urban Citizenship in Berlin & Tel Aviv (International Cooperation; since 2009)

The cooperation between the Dept. for Urban- and Regional Sociology at HU Berlin, Tel Aviv University, Bar Ilan University and Ben Gurion University includes several individual exchanges as well as two international woskhops: The symposium on 'Urban Citizenship Revisited. Rights, Recognition and Distribution in Berlin & Tel Aviv' took place at HU Berlin on September 15/16, 2011; the symposium on 'Housing as a Human Right: Berlin & Tel Aviv' took place at Tel Aviv University on December 20, 2012. A joint special issue on 'Urban Citizenship and the Right to the City. The Fragmentation of Claims' was published in IJURR 39.4 in fall 2015. In 2017, Nir Cohen, Oren Yiftachel and Henrik Lebuhn organized a panel on 'Neoliberal Urbanism and the Un/Desired Citizen-Subject' at the RC21 conference in LeedsFunded by: DAAD, DFG, HU Berlin, Minerva, Tel Aviv University   




Learning in the postmigrational City (Teaching Research; 2018-19)

This project took place in Vienna, Austria, and explored how diversity is being negotiated in various formal and informal learning settings in the city, and how maneuvering diversity plays out differently from site to site. This also included a focus on the built environment, how it expresses, facilitates or impedes intercultural encounters, and needs to be understood as part of de/constructing "the other". The project was part of the ongoing research at SKuOR at the University of Technology Vienna and was coupled with a Visiting Professorship for Urban Studies for 2018 and 2019 in the area of "Urban Citizenship. Public Space, Post-Migrational Perspectives and Civic Innovation". In October 2019, students' work was published in a supplement for Vienna's city magazin "Augustin". The one year project ended with an international conference about CARE and/in the city, which took place in Vienna in November 2019; the contributions will be published in an edited volume (Routledge, forthcoming in 2020). With Nir Cohen (Bar Ilan University) and the SKuOR-Team chaired by Sabine Knierbein. Funded by KTH and TU Vienna.


Stadt und Grenze  (Teaching Research & Cooperation; SoSe 2018)

This project was a cooperation with Dr. Henning Füller, Dept. for Cultural and Social Geography at HU Berlin, and the exhibition "Berlin Global" of the City of Berlin at the Humboldt Forum. Parallel to the development of the exhibition space on "borders" at Humboldt Forum, students conducted empirical research exploring borders and boundaries in Berlin. We focused on invisible, material and symbolic borders shaping access to and exclusion from public space and urban resources along categories such as age, gender, income and migration. Research material and results will feed into an interactive media installation in the exhibition and invite visitors to enter a critical dialogue about contemporary urban borders in Berlin. The exhibition will open in Spring 2021; the website offers first virtual impressions. Nominated for HU Berlin's Good Teaching Award 2018; funded by: Stadtmuseum Berlin Foundation.


SoWiDa (Media Project; 2015-17)

In this project, we used HU Berlin's Medienrepositorium to develop a Social Sciene Database (SoWiDa) for empirical research data. We also implemented new hard- and software and developed a new App (DatSurvey) in order to facilitate the tablet-based data collection at the Institute for Social Sciences.

Our new tablet-based survey tool was successfully tested in Fall 2015 during an extensive household survey, which the Dept. for Urban and Regional Sociology conducted in cooperation with INPOLIS for the District of Berlin Mitte. Additionally to 'DatSurvey', an App that we are developing ourselves, we are now also offering the software 'Question Pro' on our Tablets. In Spring 2017, we completed the development of the Medienrepositorium and entered the first datasets. During the Spring semester 2016, we offered a beginner-level SQL-workshop for database management (with Dr. Andreas Kunert /CMS). Further workshops to introduce the new database as well as our tablet-based survey tool are in the planning; a follow-up project together with Prof. Niels Pinkwart and Dr. Andreas Lingnau (both HU Berlin/Computer Science) is in preparation. Funded by HU’s Media Commission (Funding Program 2015).

- Duration: July 2015 to June 2017
Project Supervisor: Dr. Henrik Lebuhn
- Student Assistants: Robert Vief (2015-16) & Lara Danyel (2016-17)


Immigration, Claims-Making, and Policy Innovation: Exploring Urban Citizenship in New York City (Research Project; 2016)

Against the background of recent migration movements into cities of the global North, the project explores the role of migrant organizations for the development of new urban policies that aim at the incorporation of immigrants. Theoretically, the project is informed by the debate on urban citizenship, which focuses on questions of urban participation, as well as by the literature on urban governance investigating local networks of state and non-state actors. During a five-month fellowship at the Graduate Center, CUNY, the project uses the example of New York City to empirically investigate how claims and expertise of migrant organizations, immigrant rights- and advocacy groups are channeled into the political arena of the city. In November 2016, experts discussed preliminary results during a workshop at the Center for Urban Research (CUR). A first publication coming out of the project appeared in Luxemburg - Zeitschrift für Gesellschaftsanalyse und linke Praxis (December 2016). Funded by CUNY/ARC, HU Berlin and Thyssen Foundation. Duration: August 1 to December 31, 2016. 


Resourceful Cities - Berlin & Vienna in Comparative Perspective (International Cooperation; 2015-2016)

In two international workshops, we discussed issues of access to and exclusion from urban resources in Berlin and Vienna in comparative perspective. This included dynamics on the neighborhood level and the role of local networks, resources and social capital as well as more institutionalized politics concerning, for example, the stratification of rights for immigrants and the structure of the housing market. The comparative perspective figured central in order to identify locally specific factors and sharpen research questions in diverse urban contexts. As part of the first workshop on 'Resourceful Cities', which took place in december 2016 at the University of Vienna, we also organized a public event on 'The Right to the City between Participation and Protest'. The second workshop took place at HU Berlin in June 2016 and was entitled 'Neither Coping nor Resistance. Maneuvering Housing Inequalities at the Margin of the City'.

With: Ilker Atac, Talja Blokland, Uli Brand, Ayse Caglar, Cansu Cielek, Roberta Cucca, Kristina Eisfeld, Andrej Holm, Daniele Karasz, Yuri Kazepov, Bettina Köhler, Sarah Kumnik, Ryan Jepson, Henrik Lebuhn, Christoph Reinprecht and Henrik SchultzeFunded by HU Berlin's 'Strategische Initiativförderung'

Duration: November 2015 to July 2016
Project Supervisor: Dr. Henrik Lebuhn 


Partizipation und 'bottom-up urbanism' am Beispiel der Nachnutzung des Flughafengebäudes am Tempelhofer Feld (Teaching Research; SoSe 2015)

In this project-seminar for BA-students, we used the example of the former airport Tempelhof to explore possibilities of participatory and ‚bottom-up’ oriented conversions of large-scale urban projects. Besides investigating processes of participatory planning, students familiarized themselves with various qualitative methods and with the desgin of research projects. For example, students developed best/worst practice models for urban conversion projects, conducted expert interviews with local politicians and used mapping methods to understand and visualize the use of the former airport and the surrounding neighborhoods. Our course cooperated with a seminar taught by Prof. Johanna Schlaack at the Center for Metropolitan Studies at TU Berlin. On October 28, 2015, both courses presented their work at a public event organized together with the Böll Foundation Berlin (please see also the RBB Abendschau report from October 26). Please klick HERE to check out our online-documentation.


Partizipative Stadtpolitik (Teaching Research; SoSe 2013 & WS 2013/14)

In this two-semester MA-project we cooperated with various practice-partners in Berlin and investigated the opportunities as well as the limits and ambivalences of participatory instruments in urban politics. Students developed and conducted their own empirical and theoretical research. Using various qualitative methods such as the analysis of documents, expert interviews, and mapping, we explored topics like the round table negotiations about Berlin's real estate trust, the citizen budget in Berlin/Lichtenberg, and participatory planning in Gleisdreickpark. The course was awarded the Faculty Prize for Good Teaching 2013. In May 2014, we finished the project with a public roundtable discussion with invited experts at the Georg Simmel ‚Think and Drink’ Colloquium (Documentation: 123 Comics).


Migration, Stadt, Citizenship (Teaching Research; SoSe 2012 & WS 2012/13)

Departing from the concept of Urban Citizenship, students in this two-semester MA-project explored the international debate on migration, cities and citizenship in order to then develop their own theoretical and empirical research projects. Using qualitative methods like group interviews, expert interviews, and discourse analysis, the students' work covered a range of topics such as the question how immigrant youth experiences discrimination in Berlin's schools, and the diversity reform of the city administration, to name just two examples. The course received funding from HU's Study-Department, and it cooperated with the MA-research project 'Stadt und Migration: Citizenship from below’ lead by Prof. Sabine Hess at the University of Göttingen. We finished the project with an International Symposium on ‚Stadt und Migration’, which took place in Göttingen (March 2013), and with a Special Issue in the Journal Sub/Urban (Dezember 2014).