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Project information

Project team

Isolde Brade, Wladimir Sgibnev, Yuliana Lazova


RWTH Aachen University; Perm State University, Russia; Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine

Duration of project

11/2016 – 04/2019

Funded by

Volkswagen Foundation

Further information

Yuliana Lazova
Tel. +49 (0)341 600 55-155

Shifting paradigms – Towards participatory and effective urban planning in Germany, Russia and Ukraine

TRIPAR paradigms

Debates on urban planning and governance give the impression that a shift of planning paradigms towards participatory and effective planning practices is over in Western European contexts, and on the rise in post-socialist countries. However, empirical research on the local level and its actors indicate important deficiencies and differences with regard to the scope and quality of planning paradigm change. This equally concerns cities in Western and Eastern Europe, which is not yet reflected in academic literature and public debates.

The project addresses this issue, and provides an interdisciplinary comparative analysis of local stakeholders’ specific urban planning concepts, including the role of underlying principles of participation and effectiveness. Their interpretation and implementation in planning processes in Russia, Ukraine and Germany constitutes the project’s research focus. The project strives to gain insight into the shift or persistence of local planning paradigms; their causes; as well as challenges and chances for participatory and effective planning processes in diverse European contexts.

The project does so in adopting a transnational comparative stance, which allows discussing the local embeddedness of shifting planning paradigms. By means of an analysis of local planning conflicts in from Aachen (Germany), Perm (Russia) and Vinnytsia (Ukraine), the project identifies prevailing local planning paradigms, focusing on planning professionals and civil activists. It develops – firstly – a theory-driven, yet empirically informed model, which reveals and explains shifting scopes and qualities of local planning paradigms. Secondly, it initiates process of mutual learning and reflexivity on local and transnational scales in playing-back research results to current urban conflicts and planning debates. This empowerment approach constitutes an important novelty in urban studies and planning research, and thus deploys both theoretical and practical relevance.

The project’s network character stands out as the project other major feature. The lead partner, the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, IfL), possesses a long-standing and intense research network experience and therefore takes the responsibility for coordinating the participating research teams. Summer schools, workshops and conferences will provide platforms for the involvement of stakeholders, scientists and practitioners; for a discussion of results and mutual learning for all parties. The project thus creates a promising point of convergence and lays ground for lasting and sustainable cooperation. At all stages, the project involves early career researchers and embeds them in an elaborate framework of training and practice.


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