- Gender perspectives act as an “eye-opener” for marginalisation and hierarchisation processes and open up new potentials for planning-related analysis and design principles.
- How can spatial planning and design principles enhance sustainable energy transition by integrating insights from gender perspectives?
- Based on four analytical gender perspectives, we will develop a theoretical framework (heuristic) that remaps planning relevant knowledge for further research and implementation of spatial transformation processes of energy transition.
Spatial Transformation Processes of Energy Transition – Analytical and Design Perspectives from Gender Studies in Spatial Planning
Energy transition (“Energiewende”) refers to a transformation process of the German energy system in which the proportion of renewable energies should be increased and energy efficiency significantly enhanced. This development has spatial consequences and impacts on both, the physical and the social dimension of regions, which in turn poses new challenges for spatial and landscape planning. From a planning perspective, two issues are particularly significant for our research project: first, with material focus, the emergence of energy landscapes; second, with procedural focus, spatially related governance, which is closely linked to issues of public participation and acceptance of the new technologies.
Spatial transformation processes of energy transition have not yet been explored or empirically analysed from gender perspectives. Our project is based on the assumption that gender perspectives act as an ‘eye-opener’ for marginalisation and power relations, opening up new potentials for planning-related analysis and design principles. In sum, gender perspectives can reveal inequalities - e.g. between actors, in (spatial) structures and processes, as well as with regard to different forms of knowledge - and can make power relations and domination accessible to social negotiation.
Our research project focusses on three main goals:
First, we aim to generate gender-specific knowledge on sustainable energy transition in terms of system knowledge, target knowledge, and transformation knowledge. This contributes to creating a theoretical basis as well as planning-related operationalisation.
Second, our research aims on gaining initial systematic empirical insights by integrating gender perspectives into our analysis.
Third, we aim to develop a spatial planning heuristic based on different analytical gender perspectives, to further promote planning-related knowledge for the research and management of the spatial transformation processes of energy transition.
The research design operationalises the analytical approaches of gender research by distinguishing four perspectives: gender as a category analysing gendered identities, structures, processes and epistemologies. Our empirical research focusses on spatial transformation processes induced by energy transition and will be analysed in four regional case studies in Germany.
The implementation of our research aims to reveal the potentials of gender perspectives in terms of a sustainable transformation of energy systems, thus developing and providing a solid ground for further research.
The project refers to international debates on gender and sustainable energy transition and complements them with a focus on spatial planning and design principles of the German energy transition.
The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft).