As the title of our research group indicates, we are interested in the political and governmental practices of producing, maintaining and transforming geographical space. Rather than perceiving space as a passive backdrop of society we highlight the ways in which space is constituted and produced alongside economic and political activities and, therefore, in social practices. In the spirit of socio-spatial dialectics, we also scrutinize the myriad ways in which these produced spatial formations (administrative and other territories, city spaces, special economic zones etc.) and on-going political, economic and governmental actions inescapably shape one another.
The above-mentioned theoretical standing already hints that our perspective on spatial planning is not technical or apolitical. We draw from recent developments in Human Geography and cognate fields and highlight that spatial planning practices are never “neutral” or technical expressions of rationality but rather bound to larger global political-economic developments and cultural shifts. Our aim is to examine and conceptualize historically contingent planning practices themselves, and to focus on the recent spatial constitution and transformation of states and cities in the age of entrepreneurialism, post-Fordist economic development or the purportedly knowledge-intensive form of capitalism in particular. In so doing we seek to disclose often-hidden “political” and “governmental” aspects of spatial planning activities. Moreover, we pay particular attention to the link between expert knowledge production, the constitution of economic and urban forms, and the spatial governance of political communities in/through spatial planning. Finally, we inquire into how processes of uneven geographical development and inequalities are produced and tackled in contemporary spatial planning and policy processes.
Central research themes
- Political geographic dynamics and formations of knowledge-intensive forms of capitalism
- Political geographies of urbanization
- State spatial transformation
- European spatial planning
- Strategic spatial planning
- Planning theory in the context of knowledge policies and politics