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Public participation and urban transport innovation. The European light rail renaissance and user involvement, city revitalization, urban mobility agenda


Since the 1970s, we can identify a coincidence of four societal evolutions in cities throughout Europe: the emergence of new social movements (1), new forms of direct deliberative democracy (2), new emphasis for urban space and culture (3) and a renaissance of the urban tram (4). The research project focuses on the analysis of the mutual relations between tram revival and the three other societal developments, with a special emphasis on the emergence of participative democracy and passenger involvement in public transport. The empirical research of the project will be carried out in a comparative way, focusing on six European cities and thus six case studies to understand how in principle similar problems and tasks were identified and solved in very different ways. This 24-month training-through-research project will use methods from historiography and political theory in a comparative approach and in combination with participation theory, governance issues, the idea of Large Technical Systems and town planning. It starts from the concept that mobility research has landed in a cul-de-sac due to engineering, economic and planning approaches to transport studies. The results of my proposed study might not only be valuable for the historical and political sciences by providing comparative European insights, but they might also be highly relevant for the future planning of citizen and passenger involvement in urban transport forecast, governance and decision making. The aim of this project is both to achieve the research targets and to enhance the researcher’s profile, adding competencies on user involvement and public participation theory in the urban arena to his previous political and historical experience, guaranteeing him a professional maturity. This tuition and research path strongly presents elements of European comparative analysis, on a highly topical theme which has relevant implications for EC policies, culture, economy and investments.

Call for proposal

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Strasse des 17 juni 135
10623 Berlin

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Berlin Berlin Berlin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Silke Hönert (Ms.)
EU contribution
No data