06/21
06/24
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  • Energy incl. renewable
  • Gender studies
The potential of gender studies in analysing and shaping spatial transformation processes in the energy transition

Introduction

The potential of gender studies in analysing and shaping spatial transformation processes in the energy transition (subproject 1)

The energy transition refers to the process of transforming the German energy system by expanding the share of renewable energy sources while significantly increasing energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption. This expansion and restructuring has spatial ramifications, with both physical and social effects on spaces that pose new challenges for spatial planning. From a planning perspective, two considerations are especially important. First, in substantive terms, it involves a transformation from cultural to energy landscapes. Second, in procedural terms, it involves setting up a spatially-organised governance system in connection with questions of public participation and the acceptance of new technologies.

These transformation processes have not been explored or empirically analysed from the perspective of gender studies. The project is based on the thesis that gender studies, by acting as an eye-opener for marginalisation and hierarchisation, can open up new potential for analysing and shaping spatial transformation processes. This is because gender perspectives are able to reveal differences and inequalities, for example between actors, in (spatial) structures and processes, and with regard to forms of knowledge, thus bringing relationships of power and domination into the open for public discussion.

The aim of this research is to generate foundational gender-specific knowledge about systems, goals, and the transformation. This knowledge is intended to provide a theoretical foundation and to be operationalised within planning, and to yield some initial systematically gleaned empirical insights from gender perspectives. For the further advancement of planning-related knowledge for exploring and shaping the energy transition’s spatial transformation processes, a planning science heuristic tool (‘EnerGesch’) is to be developed based on various analytical approaches in gender studies. These approaches will be operationalised in the research design with four different gender perspectives: gender as a differential, structural, process-related, or epistemological category. The empirical research objects are selected regional transformation processes induced by the energy transition, which will be analysed in two regional case studies. In subproject 1, the regional case study will take place in the Reinhardswald area in the German state of Hesse. Subproject 2 will investigate the (former) opencast mine Jänschwalde in the Lausitz region of Brandenburg.

The project will raise the visibility of the potential of gender studies in the context of the sustainable transformation of the energy system and establish a foundation for further research.

The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and runs for a period of 30 months until March 2024.

With the appointment of Tanja Mölders to the professorship for environmental planning and transformation at the University of Freiburg, subproject 1 has been institutionally associated with the University of Freiburg since 1 April 2023 and is also managed from there. 

The potential of gender studies in analysing and shaping spatial transformation processes in the energy transition (subproject 2)

The energy transition refers to the process of transforming the German energy system by expanding the share of renewable energy sources while significantly increasing energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption. This expansion and restructuring has spatial ramifications, with both physical and social effects on spaces that pose new challenges for spatial planning. From a planning perspective, two considerations are especially important. First, in substantive terms, it involves a transformation from cultural to energy landscapes. Second, in procedural terms, it involves setting up a spatially-organised governance system in connection with questions of public participation and the acceptance of new technologies.

These transformation processes have not been explored or empirically analysed from the perspective of gender studies. The project is based on the thesis that gender studies, by acting as an eye-opener for marginalisation and hierarchisation, can open up new potential for analysing and shaping spatial transformation processes. This is because gender perspectives are able to reveal differences and inequalities, for example between actors, in (spatial) structures and processes, and with regard to forms of knowledge, thus bringing relationships of power and domination into the open for public discussion.

The aim of this research is to generate foundational gender-specific knowledge about systems, goals, and the transformation. This knowledge is intended to provide a theoretical foundation and to be operationalised within planning, and to yield some initial systematically gleaned empirical insights from gender perspectives. For the further advancement of planning-related knowledge for exploring and shaping the energy transition’s spatial transformation processes, a planning science heuristic tool (‘EnerGesch’) is to be developed based on various analytical approaches in gender studies. These approaches will be operationalised in the research design with four different gender perspectives: gender as a differential, structural, process-related, or epistemological category. The empirical research objects are selected regional transformation processes induced by the energy transition, which will be analysed in two regional case studies. In subproject 1, the regional case study is taking place in the Reinhardswald area in the German state of Hesse. Subproject 2 is investigating the (former) opencast mine Jänschwalde in the Lausitz region of Brandenburg.

The project will raise the visibility of the potential of gender studies in the context of the sustainable transformation of the energy system and establish a foundation for further research.

The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and runs for a period of 30 months until March 2024.

With the appointment of Tanja Mölders to the professorship for environmental planning and transformation at the University of Freiburg, subproject 1 has been institutionally associated with the University of Freiburg since 1 April 2023. Subproject 2, headed by Martina Hülz, is still being managed at the ARL. 

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