20 December, 2014

PhD Opportunity

The University of Luxembourg (FLSHASE - Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education, Research Unit IPSE – Identities. Politics, Societies, Space) seeks to hire a

PhD Candidate (m/f/x) in the fields of Humanities and Social Sciences (with a background, in alphabetical order: in Archaeology, Cultural Anthropology, Geography, History and/or Sociology).
You will be part of a new research project (CORE-Project 2014 of the FNR - Fonds national de la recherche, Luxembourg http://www.fnr.lu/CORE). ...more

19 December, 2014

New Publication

Doerr & Carr (2014) "Dreizig Jahre Transformation und trotzdem noch ganz am Anfang? Der Wandel in Beckerich von der Agenda 21 zur Transition Town" Planung Neu Denken

available here

18 December, 2014

Save the Date

Befunde und Interpretationen des Forschungsprojektes SUSTAIN_GOV
January 20, 2015, 18:00, ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg campus, Room TBA

Im Frühling 2014 waren Wissenschaftler der Universität Luxembourg in der Glatt Region unterwegs, um neue Urbanitätsformen und neue Governance-Muster zu entdecken sowie die Nachhaltigkeitspolitik in Bezug auf die Raumplanung im Glattal zu erforschen. Es wurden ca. 25 wissenschaftliche Gespräche mit Raumplanern, Bauleitern, Architekten, Stadtplanern, Aktivisten, Immobilienmaklern, Vertreter der Gemeindeverwaltung und Quartiersvereinen durchgeführt. Zusätzlich haben die Forscher auch an einer Reihe von öffentlichen Präsentationen, Gemeindetreffen sowie professionellen Touren teilgenommen. Als Abschluss der Forschungsmethodik wollen Dr. Constance Carr und Prof. Dr. Markus Hesse die erste Zusammenfassung und Ergebnisse wiedergeben. Dabei soll neben einem generellen Feedback zu konstruktiver Kritik und genereller Austausch angeregt werden.

Willkommen sind die Schweizer Kooperationspartner des Projektes, ETH D-ARCH, ETH Spatial Planning, IBA Basel, und VLP-ASPAN, sowie interessierte Sozialwissenschafter und vor allem die TeilnehmerInnen des Interviewprozesses.

Um besser planen zu können, bitten wir um kurze Ruckmeldung: constance.carr@uni.lu

10 December, 2014

Co-op living in downtown Toronto - Some notes on housing (Part II)

In addition to having studied housing in various research contexts, I also grew up in Woodsworth Housing Co-op in downtown Toronto.  I remember my parents mulling over floor plans and attending organizational meetings, and moving into a 4-bedroom townhouse while it was still a construction site, and while most of the neighbourhood still smelled of industrial exhaust.

My earliest memories include loving the fact that we were leaving the highrise apartment in the burbs, and moving downtown; being the 12th child to join the new public school; the whole kindergarden to grade 8 school fitting onto one school bus on a trip to a apple farm; my teacher showing us a map of our neighbourhood (St. Lawrence Neighbourhood), where our school was located inside a red circle and everything in that circle indicated the maximum fallout of dioxin from the Commissioner Street Incinerator; after-school ice-skating in Crombie Park, and the best ever neighbourhood (summer) roller-skating races and water fights.

Co-op living is great.  There are so many advantages.  Later in my twenties, I was elected president of ca. 200 unit /500 member corporation (yes, the co-op is incorporated) - which was an awesome experience for a young grad. Below is a diagram showing how co-op management is (self)organized.  Members (residents) form working groups to address various topics.  These include gardening committees that take care of the landscaping; conflict-resolution committees that address problems between neighbours; a membership committee that manages waiting lists and welcomes and educates new members about co-op living; a finance committee responsible for drawing up budgets for approval at the Board and General Assembly as well as financial projections; a maintenance committee (my mother called it the 'shopping committee') responsible for ensuring that infrastructure was up-to-date and that all units were properly equipped with kitchens, stairway carpeting, working sewage, security devices etc.; a newspaper committee responsible for circulating internal information; and various other committees depending on what was necessary, and on what members felt like doing.  These committees reported to the Board of Directors, which was on one hand, had a centralizing function, and was also the legal body securing the operations and management of the property. Final ratification of any Board decisions, however, were made at the general assembly -- such as ratification of the annual budget, acquisition of new infrastructure, hiring of staff, admission of new residents as well as evictions. 

This self-administration is one of the most rewarding aspects of this kind of social housing. It stands is vast contrast to classical mode of state-sponsored social housing, where the state manages everything and, actually, usually tries to do as little as possible, where the state controls access, residency, security, maintenance, tenure, gardening, everything, and in the end, creates little more than a transient, often stigmatized, ghetto-like spatial arrangement. Co-ops, in contrast, offer higher standards of living because they feel it is "theirs", educational and training opportunities for residents, mechanisms of support (e.g. child care, repayment programs for members in hard financial times) as well as everyday practice in local democracy.  It is no surprise that a number of Canadian politicians (eg. Jack Layton) lived in co-ops as well.

-C. Carr

Some notes on housing (Part I)

Last night, I gave a presentation on the Canadian system of housing co-operatives at Dr. Ariane König's certificate course on Social Enterprise and Social Innovation. Afterwards, was the very fine lecture from Andreas Hofer from Archipel. In the next couple of blog entries, I will post some accompanying information.

First, I find the following table a useful framework for thinking about housing, in general.

- C. Carr

Structure of housing sectors and some basic features of each

05 December, 2014

University of Hull PhD Scholarship

University of Hull PhD Scholarship: The city, mobility, and sustainability: Assessing university bike hubs for low-carbon mobility
Supervisors: Dr. Julia Affolderbach (GEES), Prof. David Gibbs (GEES), Prof. Andy Jonas (GEES), Prof. Markus Hesse
Contact email: j.affolderbach@hull.ac.uk

Mobility research is a growing field within the social sciences (e.g., Cresswell 2010). Whilst low-carbon transportation is key to the development of more sustainable urban forms, it is only recently that researchers have turned their attention to how cities learn about urban policy innovations and how good practice circulates from one place to another (McCann and Ward 2011). Similarly, very little is known about the relationships between (low-carbon) mobility and the circulation and movement of knowledge and policies that goes beyond traditional conceptions of policy transfer. Understanding these relationships is crucial in advancing sustainable policies and practices in response to climate change. The proposed project assesses the role universities can play as promoters and agents in wider, urban sustainability transitions focusing on bike hub initiatives. As hubs of knowledge and learning within cities, universities are well positioned to act as initiators and test beds of sustainability initiatives and, as such, link research knowledge with implementation and real life urban practice (König 2013). As illustrated by numerous student movements, university campuses are particularly fertile grounds for alternative ideas, which spread into the wider community and society at large, producing transformations in how urban space is used and consumed.

The project focuses on low-carbon mobility using the example of university bike hub initiatives as currently operated at the University of Hull, University of Bradford, University of Nottingham-Trent and Velocity Leeds. According to the latest IPCC report, the transportation sector contributed 23% of total energy related CO2 emissions in 2010, 40% of which are used by urban transportation. Actions called on in the report to reduce carbon emissions include a modal shift towards low-carbon forms of transportation, infrastructure provision supporting these modes, and behavioral change of commuters and other users. University bike hubs address these three action points providing training and educational facility through maintenance support, provision of gear and maps, cycling and safety lessons targeting also first time users, and other outreach activities. The combination of the university campus location and the services offered bears high potential for mobilization, learning, and behavioral change of campus users.

Objectives and approach
The research design will involve a comparative case study of bike hub initiatives in England using a multi-method approach including qualitative interviews, online and on-site surveys with bike hub and campus users, and organization of a sustainable transportation workshop on campus.

The main research objectives are
  • to understand the emergence of bike hub initiatives focusing on inspirations, motivations, and key actors of different initiatives tracing their respective pathways;
  • to assess and compare the success, limitations, and impact of bike hubs; and
  • to analyze the role of bike hub initiatives within wider urban sustainability initiatives.
  • Training
The student will benefit from expertise in urban sustainability, mobility and climate change policy and will have the opportunity to engage in ongoing debates in urban sustainability research linking concepts and practice. The project provides training in research design, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and data analysis.

Further readings
Cresswell, T. (2010) Towards a politics of mobility, Environmental and Planning D 28(1), 17-31.
König, A. (2013) Regenerative sustainable development of universities and cities: The role of living laboratories. Edward Elgar.
Marsden, G., et al. (2011) How do cities approach policy innovation and policy learning? A study of 30 policies in Northern Europe and North America. Transport Policy 8, 501-512.
McCann, E. and Ward, K. (eds.) (2011) Mobile urbanism: Cities and Policymaking in the global age. University of Minnesota Press.

04 December, 2014

Public Lecture: Towards sustainable neighbourhoods

Andreas Hofer, "Towards sustainable neighbourhoods – Beyond labels and certificates and creating the city of tomorrow"

followed by panel discussion with
Claude Ballini, Constance Carr, and Marco Hoffmann

Tuesday 09.12.2014 19.00-20.30, UniLu, Campus Limpertsberg, Room BS 1.03

During recent years a range of exemplary housing projects were built in Zurich. Apart from offering new building typologies and deploying sustainable building technologies, these projects feature high quality ground floor spaces and landscape architecture, in search for more integrated neighbourhoods. Most of these projects were built by cooperatives. These cooperatives today are very important for the social integration in a rich city, in continuation of their pioneering role in the twenties and thirties, when they brought new concepts as the «Garden City» and the modernist architecture to Zurich.
Besides technical innovations, as multi-storey wood constructions, building integrated photovoltaic and low energy concepts, social and economic issues play a key role. In a society where a majority of all flats are inhabited by single person households (mostly elderly people), new concepts beyond the traditional family oriented typologies are crucial. Bigger projects as ‘Kalkbreite’ and ‘Mehr als wohnen’ combine these typological experiments into complex buildings with public and commercial functions and therefore try to become new nodes of solidarity and integration on a city scale.

Andreas Hofer received his diploma in architecture at The Swiss Institute of Technology in Zurich in 1989. Since then he works as an architect and planner. In 1995 he founded with partners the office Archipel in Zurich. He initiated the cooperative project KraftWerk1 in 1993. He was member of the management board till 2003. Today he works as a project developer for the cooperative. From 2003 till 2010 he was member of the management board of the Zurich branch of the Swiss Housing Association (the alliance of all housing cooperatives in the Zurich region). Since 2008 he works as a project manager for the experimental housing project „mehr als wohnen“. Andreas Hofer taught at the Institute „Natural and Social Science Interface“ at the department for Environmental Sciences of the Swiss Institute of Technology (1994 - 2004) and at the Department for Landscape Architecture at the University of Applied Sciences in Rapperswil (2000 - 2009). He publishes regularly articles on housing and planning issues in various journals and lectures at conferences and universities.