What will follow the coal exit? Lusatia is entering an era of far-reaching change.
What will follow the coal exit? Lusatia is entering an era of far-reaching change. AdobeStock/Imaginis

Headline: Regional Sustainability Transformations

The transition to the Post-fossil Age is generating social, economic, and political tensions. Entire regions, economic sectors, and policy fields must be realigned. The research group "Regional Sustainability Transformations" studies the conditions, mechanisms, and societal implications of this transformation on the sub-state level. Regions are viewed as meaningful because considerable sustainability transformations and signal effects can start here, and because regions can often be politically strengthened as areas of identification.

The group performs research and develops guidance for transformation processes such as the coal phase-out in the German region of Lusatia and other regions. Among its central research questions: What does the loss of industries that have shaped a region over decades mean for its social, cultural and economic structures? How can inequalities, for example between urban and rural areas, be addressed? How can citizens contribute to the transformation of their living and working environments? How can the principles of sustainability become effective in the context of the transformation?

This interdisciplinary research group identifies the limits to and potentials for a sustainable structural transformation. IASS researchers identify pathways together with affected actors and provide advice and support to policymakers, administrative bodies, and civil society.

The insights gained through this co-creative practice inform a concept of transformative research that invites critical reflection on the roles and effects of scientific research within processes of structural transformation. Different forms of knowledge are created in interaction with relevant actors and must be systematically understood and reflected upon. In doing so, researchers can take on a critical, facilitative and catalytic role, ensuring that the transition to the Post-fossil Age offers opportunities to foster a more just and sustainable society.


Regional Sustainability Transformations

The interdisciplinary project "Regional Sustainability Transformations" examines how regions face sustainability challenges and which procedural adaptations are chosen for an increased need for negotiation. Sustainability transformations such as the coal phase-out are examined and actors in regions are advised on this path.

Completed Projects

Social Transformation and Policy Advice in Lusatia

How is life in Lusatia set to change with the end of its coal-mining industry? What opportunities for sustainable social and economic dynamics does this present? And what can be done to ensure that the transformation of the region is democratic and fair? This project investigates processes of change in Lusatia and offers support and guidance to political and civil society actors in this context.

Evaluation of the "Forum Covid-19" Citizens' Assembly in Saxony

The "Forum Covid-19" Citizens' Assembly brings together 50 randomly selected people in Saxony to discuss their experiences with the pandemic and the government's response. The citizens' assembly will develop its recommendations for policymakers in several meetings between now and spring 2022. The IASS and the nexus Institute are conducting an accompanying evaluation of the Corona Forum.