Welcome to the research training group (RTG) ‘Urban future-making: Professional agency across time and scale’. The RTG is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and jointly organized by the HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU), Universität Hamburg (UHH), and Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH). Our mission is to investigate the agency of built environment professionals in the face of pressing challenges for transformative change.

Urban areas have become crucial sites where aspired pathways towards desirable futures are imagined, forecasted, and variably negotiated. Through the lens of ‘urban future-making’, the research training group explores the activities of experts and administrators responding to expected threats and risks to urban societies through measures related to the built environment. The central question is whether reflexive and responsible professional agency in urban future-making is possible under present conditions of heightened uncertainty and multiple crises.

Our research training group examines strategies and interventions employed by experts and administrators to address the expected threats to urban societies with measures related to the urban built environment. Our specific focus lies on the group of built environment professions. We recognize professionals in these fields as a highly diverse group of urban future-makers, operating in public administration, the private sector, non-profit organizations, and in civil society initiatives.

The members of our research training group investigate the agency of built environment professionals in the interdisciplinary dialogue between reflection- and solution-oriented fields of research. The group of participating supervisors and researchers have backgrounds in geography, sociology, political science, and urban studies as well as architecture, planning, and engineering. Our aim is to facilitate conceptual and methodological cross-fertilization across these social sciences and built environment disciplines.