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Research programme

GPE research seeks to provide deep understandings of how places, from the local to global level, are politically and materially shaped, experienced and governed, and to contribute to the development of more sustainable and equitable places. GPE’s approach goes explicitly beyond a government and policy orientation, addressing the deep political and institutional nature of place-making and spatial-environmental governance. The group seeks to contribute to more future-oriented practices and territorial images. We have three core themes:

1. Bordering and migration

Built around the Nijmegen Centre for Border Research (NCBR), the main thematic focus lies on political and practice-oriented dimensions of processes of border-making and migration. Spanning from local (‘cross border shopping’) to global (‘South’ vs ‘North’), NCBR research sheds light on the highly actual and dramatic nexus between production of space, place and mobility, shifts in political discourses, imaginaries and strategies, and daily human life. In doing so, NCBR has extensive media exposure. Much of the work manifests an overt activist orientation, not only in a political sense but also in terms of research solidarity. The latter is supported by the creation of intellectual and practical exchanges with countries like Ghana, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Researchers also participate in the Hot Spot on Global-Local Divides and Connections (GLOCAL).

2. Climate & energy, biodiversity and water

This theme deals with major societal challenges related to (the interrelationships among) climate & energy, biodiversity, water, and land use, adopting a discursive-institutional approach. Much of our work explores  the more or less subtle political processes of agenda-setting, policy entrepreneurship and the shaping of ‘authoritative knowledge’ for example in the EU (in cooperation with EUROPAL Hot Spot).

3. Urban/place development and mobility

Rooted in work on land and property markets on the one hand, and research on urban and neighbourhood on the other, this theme professes a synthetic, integral approach of place development and mobility. It manifests strong ties with policy-making. A growing strand of work focuses on social practices within urban places, with an orientation towards the intersection between daily life and common routines of using, navigating, and coordinating policy practices. There are collaborations with the Hot Spots on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Business Ecosystems (IEBE) and Integrated Decision making (ID).

For a more extensive overview of the department’s research programme, visit this intranet page.