Working Group Economic Geography

Research Projects

"Humangeographische Forschungsperspektiven nach dem „practice turn“ in den Sozialwissenschaften“ (DFG-Forschungsnetzwerk)

The DFG-funded research network “Research perspectives in Human Geography after the ‘practice turn‘ in the social sciences“ explores potentials of Schatzki’s Theory of Practice for human geography. Currently, additional information is only available in German.


Mit seiner 1996 veröffentlichten Theorie der sozialen Praktiken setzt Theodore Schatzki neue und relevante Impulse für die Konzeptionen sozialen Handelns in den Sozialwissenschaften. Im Mittelpunkt stehen dabei Fragen nach der Konstitution des Sozialen und nach Verflechtung individueller Handlungsweisen mit übergeordneten sozialen Phänomenen. Zentrale Konzepte in Schatzkis Theorie sind zum einen „Praktiken-Arrangement-Bündel“, die verstärkt das Materielle für die Konstitution des Sozialen berücksichtigen, und zum anderen der „Zeit-Raum“ sozialer Praktiken. Eine Analyse der Orchestrierung von Zeit, Raum und Praktiken und deren Verdichtung zu „place-path-arrays“ ist der daraus folgende Auftrag für empirische Forschung. Der Zweck des Forschungsnetzwerks ist die Bündelung solcher praktikentheoretischer Forschung unter deutschsprachigen Humangeograph_innen mit dem Ziel theoretische und methodologische Themen zu diskutieren und diese für die humangeographische Forschung weiterzuentwickeln. An dem Forschungsnetzwerk nehmen Wissenschaftler_innen unterschiedlicher humangeographischer Ausrichtung teil, die anhand von drei Querschnittsthemen (politische Praktiken, Praktiken der wirtschaftlichen Transformation und des Marktes, Praktiken des Konsums) die Theorie der sozialen Praktiken aufarbeiten und den von ihnen bearbeiteten For- schungsthemen neue Impulse zuführen wollen.

Die wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnisse sollen auf dem Deutschen Kongress für Geographie 2017 mit handlungs- und praxisinteressierten Geograph_innen diskutiert werden. Der Erkenntnisgewinn aus der dreijährigen Kooperation soll in gemeinsamen Themenheften und einem Handbuch zu „Praktiken und Raum“ festgehalten werden.


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)



Further information on network members and progress is available online at

Project: The Evolution of Creative Industry Clusters (ECIC) - A Comparison of Cases in Germany and China


Principal Investigators:

Robert Hassink, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU), Germany

Chun Yang, Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), Hong Kong

Team members:

Huiwen Gong, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU), Germany

Tianlan Fu, Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), Hong Kong


Sponsored by Germany/Hong Kong Joint Research Scheme 2016/17

Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Research Grants Council (RGC), Hong Kong



The creative economy is not only one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy, but also a highly transformative one in terms of income generation, job creation and export earnings. One salient characteristic of creative industries is that they tend to concentrate geographically in so-called creative industry clusters, often in urban areas. Although there is ample literature on creative industries and individual creative industry clusters, three deficiencies can be identified. First, two theoretical foci have been under-represented in the economic geography literature on creative industry clusters, namely evolutionary economic geography and global production network. Secondly, there is hardly any literature on creative industry clusters which combines evolutionary and global production network perspectives. Thirdly, little cross-country and cross-industry comparative research has been done on creative industry clusters. The aim of this comparative research project is therefore to shed light on the evolution of creative industry clusters in two countries, Germany and China, and two industries, video game and film and television industry. It will focus on two pairs of clusters, the video game clusters in Hamburg and Shenzhen and the film and television clusters in Berlin and Hong Kong. We aim to find answers to three key questions: 1) How do the evolutionary paths of the creative industry clusters look like? 2) To what extent are these creative industry clusters embedded in global production networks and how has their position changed through time (upgrading vs. downgrading processes)? 3) Which smart policy strategies for boosting creative industry clusters can be derived from the cross-industry, cross-country and cross-regional comparison? 

International film festivals as engines for revitalizing local economies? Case-studies of Berlin and Busan from a multi-scalar institutional perspective

In the past two decades, the number of film festivals has been increasing. Recently, more than 3,500 film festivals take place worldwide.
European annual film festivals have over 70 year’s history. Berlin film festival is well known for its European Film Market (EFM) which links between the film industry and various artists systematically. Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) started in 1996 and is annually held in Haeundai-Gu, Busan. Despite its relatively short history, it has become one of the most influential film festivals in Asia.
As a research topic, however, the impact of film festivals on boosting local economies has received little attention within regional and urban studies. Moreover, the role of the cultural events and activities on local economies is often neglected. Little is also known about the role of multi-scalar mediators, who keep the balance of power among diverse actors with different interests and help the cooperation and coordination among them for the success of the international film festival. Although recently much research in regional studies has been done on a similar phenomenon, namely trade fairs, the focus of that strand of research has been on trade fairs as so-called temporary clusters. The focus of this research instead will be on the role of international annual events, film festivals, on boosting or revitalizing local economy.

Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) - German-Korean Partnership Program (GEnKO)


Co2mmunity. Co-producing and co-financing renewable community energy projects

The Europe 2020 strategy sets the goal to increase the renewable energy (RE) share to at least 20% of consumption. In the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) it ranges from 11% in Poland to 52% in Sweden, so some territories are frontrunners while others are followers or in early stages of development. A transnational exchange of experiences and capacity-building is needed to further promote RE. Fostering RE projects facilitated, implemented and co-financed by citizens, called community energy (CE), is highly promising for this.

CE projects offer enhanced production of RE from local sources (wind, solar, biomass, hydropower, geothermal) through active participation of local communities by co-financing, co-developing, and co-operating RE plants. They foster sustainable energy distribution, like local heating networks or biogas filling stations, and have high social acceptance due to active communication, transparent decision-making, and local benefit sharing.

Zwei Studenten und eine Tasse Kaffee

No comprehensive documents about CE exist in the BSR. Co2mmunity’s objectives are to create this CE knowledge base and to enhance the institutional capacities of Municipalities (TG1), Institutions responsible for regional energy planning and ERDF Operational Programmes (TG2), Political decision-makers responsible for energy issues in the BSR (TG3), and Energy and citizen’s associations (TG4) for facilitating CE projects. Core are renewable energy cooperative partnerships (RENCOP), that initiate and support CE projects. In each partner region Co2mmunity will initiate and manage a RENCOP. A transnational exchange of RENCOPs will result in a transferable RENCOP model, enabling a transnational catch-up process between frontrunners and followers and enhancing the capacity of local, regional and BSR-wide actors to foster CE.

Co2mmunity’s activities will lead to five main outputs:
(1) synthesis report for TG1/2/3 on the current CE situation in BSR with best practices, showcasing place-specificities of CE projects and success factors transferable across contexts; (2) guideline for participatory mobilization process for TG1/4, including general and country-specific steps to stimulate CE projects on regional/local level;
(3) RENCOP roadmap for TG1/2 as BSR-wide guideline to foster CE;
(4) country-specific CE handbooks for TG1/4 enhancing their institutional capacity through CE development guidelines;
(5) white paper for TG2 enabling them to derive concrete measures for improving regulatory frameworks for CE projects in their territories.

Altogether, Co2mmunity will foster RE deployment in the BSR through improving RE acceptance and development conditions via CE models. Co2mmunity will promote democratic and participatory processes in the energy sector and further the transnational co-operation of stakeholders representing all BSR governance levels. 

Kiel University is LEAD partner of this project; Fabian Faller is our Principal Investigator.

Project website:

INTERREG-BSR (Baltic Sea Region)