Georg-Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies

Latest News

Good Practice for Industrial Heritage Sites


Good Practice WheelA major challenge, especially in dealing with transformed industrial heritage sites, is to incorporate concerns for conserving the protected site with those of urban development
planning. We suggest a joint heritage conservation and urban development. Our results are presented on the website “Good Practice for Industrial Heritage Sites” (

Main result is the Good Practice Wheel: This systematization bases on the policies of the UNESCO World Heritage program and integrates concerns of urban development and local communities.

The project “Good Practice for Industrial Heritage Sites”, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), applies research knowledge to the practice of heritage management at the Zollverein Industrial Complex UNESCO World Heritage site, the former Zollverein coal mine in Germany.

white pic Zollverein represents a complete example of coal mining infrastructure, providing evidence of the 150-year evolution and decline of this essential industry in the Ruhr region.

Run between Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and the Zollverein Foundation, the two-year knowledge-transfer project supports the definition and documentation of an exemplary industrial heritage management. It is based on research into industrial heritage sites in transformation (Oevermann & Mieg, 2015), and the synchronic discourse analysis, a research instrument to analyze conflicts and bridging values in planning processes (Mieg & Oevermann, 2015).



Poster CFP SFG 3Students (Urban-) Research Group

the student research group calls for members joining for next year's project (WiSe 19/20 - WiSe 20/21). More information reagarding the new topic will be announced soon!

The goal of the Student (City) Research Group (SRG) is based on two principles. On the one hand, the SRG is to offer students a space in which they can try out scientific research and experience an interest-led introduction to research. On the other hand, it is to be an instance of learning from each other and  with one another. This means that the SRG should open up two perspectives for students: a professional-academic and a pedagogical perspective.

In last years cycle the research group worked on urban democracy - dealing with urban right-wing populist discourses with regard to democracy to be exact. They concerned themselves with the following questions amongst others:

Who represents right-wing populism in the city? What are, or are there, right-wing populist strategies and practices for the appropriation of urban spaces? To what extent can urbanity be regarded as a way of life that guarantees democracy, negotiation and integration?


Planning Processes within the City: the synchronic Discours Analysis - A Research Method for the Planning Praxis



Latest Publications

Tourism and Everyday Life in the Contemporary City

Thomas Frisch, Christoph Sommer, Luise Stoltenberg and Natalie Stors


GSZ Urban Research Group publishes edited volume

For several years, urban research has been pointing out the tense relationship between urban everyday life and tourism. “Overtourism”, “tourismphobia”, and “sustainable urban tourism” are some of the keywords which characterize the on-going debate. The Georg-Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies joined this discussion early on and adopted a broader perspective. Since 2015, the Urban Research Group: New Urban Tourism focuses not only on potential risks of urban tourism but aims at stimulating a fundamental discussion about city tourism per se. In order to pursue this goal, the group meets several times per year and has organized an international conference which took place in May 2017 at the GSZ. Four members of the group have edited the volume Tourism and Everyday Life in the Contemporary City which will be published in March by Routledge. Throughout eleven chapters, the volume studies the manifold dimensions of the complex entanglement of city tourism and urban everyday life. It gathers the diverse phenomena of city tourism under the term new urban tourism. This kind of tourism is characterised by three dimensions: the extraordinary mundane which recognizes the recent appeal of ordinary life in urban tourism; encounters and contact zones which takes into account the new possibilities of connecting different city users with each other; and urban co-production which stands for the heterogeneous actors who jointly shape urban everyday life. Each chapter focuses on distinct aspects of these three dimensions and the volume includes different academic disciplines. Covered subjects vary from the discussion of consequences of ‘touristified’ neighbourhoods to a critical study of the phenomenological concept of dwelling; from the influence of short-term accommodation rental services on urban everyday life to the production of hangout commons in Berlin.

For more information and pre-order please visit Routledge: and-Everyday-Life-in-the-Contemporary-City/Frisch-Sommer-Stoltenberg- Stors/p/book/9781138580725




KOSMOS Publication GENZ We are delighted to send you our printed workshop publication.
It is based on lectures, discussions and collaboration during the KOSMOS Workshop “Beyond Urban Transformation. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Everyday Life.” The workshop was organized by the Urban Ethnography Lab at Georg-Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies, Humboldt-University of Berlin, in cooperation with Harvard-University (USA) and University of Toronto (Canada). It was funded by the Excellence Initiative of Humboldt-University of Berlin and took place during September 5-8, 2018. The Urban Ethnography Lab aims to promote urban ethnography at an inter- and transdisciplinary level, to foster international collaboration on research projects in urban settings, knowledge exchange, and the building of networks among students and researchers dedicated to engage, explore and enhance urban ethnographic methods. Furthermore, we aim to solidify existing partnerships, while promoting further collaborations with new institutions. The workshop has set in motion future prospects, and we look very much forward to upcoming activities and more of those exciting discussions on urban futures. More information at:




Cover_Blokland.jpgCommunity as Urban Practice

In march 2017 Talja Blokland's book about a central idea in urban studies was published:

Talja Blokland: Community as Urban Practice

Community is a central idea in urban studies but remains conceptually vague and empirically difficult to work with. Building on existing theories of community, Talja Blokland offers an important contribution to defining and understanding this key theme.

Blokland argues that there has been too much focus on community as a stable construct, formed by durable relationships with kin, friends, social groups or neighbours. She draws attention to the non-durable, fluid encounters that constitute community, theorizing communities as shared urban practices in a globalizing world.

white pic The book proposes two core ways of thinking about community: the dimension of familiarity, defined by our ability to construct identities, and the dimension of access, defined by our freedom to enter and leave urban spaces. These dimensions form various urban configurations which enable us to experience and practise community in diverse ways. As this book maintains, community is after all an urban practice, not a fixed state of affairs.

More information is to be found on the homepage of Wiley.



Cover_Gentrification in Berlin-transcriptGentrification in Berlin

In september 2016 the book Gentrifizierung in Berlin was published:

Ilse Helbrecht (Hrsg.): Gentrifizierung in Berlin. Verdrängungsprozesse und Bleibestrategien

How to deal with Gentrification is one of the key questions of current urban development as it means that poorer parts of the population are driven out of their neighbourhood by more wealthy inhabitants. Until now, there has been no research on the impacts of Gentrification for those who have to leave. Where do they move? How does it feel to have to leave their neighbourhood? What strategies do exist to stay? Taking the example of Berlin, the german "capital of gentrification", this book investigates these urging questions using innovative research methods.

Further information is available at the website of transcript Verlag.






IMS_Urban HeritageIMS: Thematic focus - Urban Heritage

recently the first half-year report on information on modern urban history was published:

Oevermann, Heike/Frank, Sybille/Gantner, Eszter (Hrsg.): IMS: Themenschwerpunkt Städtisches Erbe - Urban Heritage. Berlin: Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik 2016.

This issue is looking into urban heritage from an interdisciplinary point of view. Contributions from ethnology, history, urban archaeology, architecture, social sciences, geography and marketing theory are examining urban heritage from different points of view and are placing different thematic emphases. The main topic closes with a review of the omnibus volume "Urban heritage, development and sustainability: international frameworks, national and local governance" by Sophia Labadi and William Logan (eds.).

white pic Basis for the main topic are debates and findings from the colloquium "Metropolitan Studies meets Heritage" (Summer Semester 2013), the workshop "Urban Heritage" (January 2014), and the conference "Urban Heritage and Urban Images" (October 2015), which were initialized and held by the editors in cooperation with the Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies.

A detailed summary of the issue can be found on the Difu-Website. It is also possible to order the issue on that page.


3638 Cover Planungsprozesse in der Stadt rgbPlanning processes within the city

Recently the book Planungsprozesse in der Stadt was published:

Harald A. Mieg, Heike Oevermann (eds.): Planungsprozesse in der Stadt:  Synchrone Discourse analysis Research instrument and practical tool

These days, planning procedures are the concern of numerous key players, namely representatives of the planning professions, local citizens’ groups and initiatives, creative individuals, property owners, and those in politics, commerce and industry. This sphere has acquired many voices.

Bearing this fact in mind, students of the Institute for European Ethnology (Jonas Müller and Jan Lange) have initiated an interdisciplinary exchange on how ,Planning‘ is actually planned. A special issue of the Berliner Blätter, (a regular institute publication) is also now being prepared.

white pic Urban planning procedures are often marked by conflict. Also however, through impact and negotiation between divergent viewpoints and rationales, alternative design options are often achieved. Therefore it is becoming increasingly important to examine and understand the relevant debates and decision- making processes involved.

In this context and through inter-disciplinary cooperation at a DFG-research-project at the Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies a research tool has been developed and tested: Synchronous Discourse Analysis enables and facilitates examination to focus on ongoing planning procedures and utilized discourses among the key players/groups. This tool enables simultaneously appearing discourse (Discourse constellation) and their interaction to be examined.

Synchronous Discourse Analysis is an instrument to detect, record and understand conflicts, goals and concepts in urban planning- and transformation processes may be  systematically acquired. Not least this enables us to examine the question of how planning is actually carried out: How is planning planned?

Further information is available at the website of the vdf Hochschulverlag.