Collective Imagination

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Type and Duration

Preproposal PhD-Thesis, since September 2019


Institute of Architecture and Planning

Main Research

Sustainable Planning and Construction

Field of Research

Sustainable Urban Design


I am particularly interested in examining existing and developing new strategies that involve the user in spatial planning developments. It is not a matter of understanding the layperson as an expert, but of examining where the highest potential of users lies in planning processes. I will examine three interrelated questions:

How can the intuitive knowledge and sensitivities of a diverse group (e.g. residents of a community, user of public space) be made visible and operatable concerning their spatial surroundings?

What formats allow laypeople to be involved in creative spatial planning processes?

What role does such user involvement play in political processes (e.g. initiatives, referendums)?

Current and historical examples of participatory planning processes from different cultural areas are collected, examined and systematized. In the sense of Lucius Burckhardt's question "Who plans the planning?", The various stakeholders in the spatial planning process are analyzed using at least one municipality as a case study. The analysis takes place on various scales: at the district, municipality, state and regional level (e.g. energy city label, OEBB) up to influences of global scales (transnational institutions, social trends and technological developments). Based on spatial planning examples of various sizes, I will work out the points of contact of the stakeholders and show the potential for participation. On this basis, workshops with various stakeholders are developed and carried out in an experimental part to gain empirical knowledge.


Imagination, Public sphere, Territory