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Methoden der empirischen SozialforschungAction 5: Enhance

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Action 5 ‒ Enhance: Workshops for Bridging the Gap between Research and Professional Work

Action Speaker

Gaurav Raheja (IIT Roorkee, India)

Action Steering Committee

Gaurav Raheja (IIT Roorkee), Fraya Frehse (University of São Paulo), Gabriel Faimau (University of Botswana), Angela Million (GCSMUS Speaker), Ignacio Castillo (GCSMUS Scientific Coordinator) and practitioners such as members of NGOs, development agencies and/or administration and ministries in partner countries.

Head of Local Organization Committee:

‒ 1st GCSMUS Workshop on Urban Sustainability – Africa 2021 Botswana: Gabriel Faimau (University of Botswana)

‒ 2nd GCSMUS Workshop on Urban Sustainability – Latin America 2022 Brazil: Fraya Frehse, (University de São Paulo)

‒ 3rd GCSMUS Workshop on Urban Sustainability – Asia 2023 India: Gaurav Raheja (IIT Roorkee)

‒ 4th GCSMUS Workshop on Urban Sustainability – Open Call


Following the objective of the practical-empirical implementations of furthering the movement from knowledge transfer to exchange to implementation, and nurturing synergic connections among the Actions, the workshops are envisioned as follow-ups of the conferences.

Drawing on the subjects of the SDG #11’s targets and a selection of the methods discussed during the conferences, teaching-research-courses, practical-empirical implementations, workshops will encourage exchanges, debates and discussions on, for instance, dealing with the positivist assumptions that seem to still be buttressing research methods of design and policymaking aimed at rendering cities in the developing countries sustainable. Potential synergies between research methods of the social sciences and those of design and policymaking by crafting spatial research methods will be explored to promote urban sustainability through evidence-based and low-impact urban development strategies.

Besides proceedings (documenting and synthetizing discussions held during workshop session), a conjunct research agenda will be prepared, to set the road for future spatial research methods and urban sustainability research to be developed (i.e. Action 4) according to the targets of the SDG #11 and under the umbrella principle of evidence-based and low-impact urban development.

Suitability and necessity of action

When delving into interrelations between evidence, decision-making and actions to promote inclusion, resilience and safety in cities of the developing and developed countries, the role and use of research methods, creativity and contingent contextual circumstances are pivotal elements. An evidence-based practice of design (architecture and urban design) and policymaking (planning) is thought to help bridging the gap between academic research and professional work. However, several hurdles are, almost inevitably, encountered when asserting research methods into design and policymaking, e.g. the character of valid evidence, the accuracy and effectiveness of research methods and inequalities in respect to resource availability. There has therefore been a (somewhat overrated) enthusiasm for evidence in design and policymaking, which is grounded on a linear and sole utilitarian view of research methods as well as rests on misconceptions about the nature and purpose of evidence, the role of experts (academicians and practitioners alike) and their ultimate influence on design and policymaking.


Lead partner from the developing countries, namely Gabriel Faimau (2021, Botswana), Fraya Frehse (2022, Brazil) and Gaurav Raheja (2023, India), will organize organizing four “GCSMUS Workshop on Urban Sustainability”, taking place annually in April, shortly after the Conferences of Action 1 in order to profit from their summoning capacity and logistics (a long-enough interim will be set, to avoid overwhelming participants that might be partaking in both conferences and workshops). There will be an open call within the network for organizing the 4th workshop (2024).

Each 6-day workshop will contain keynotes, parallel round tables à 5‒10 participants on focused subthemes, excursions to projects aimed at urban sustainability that offer critical reflection and a closing event addressing the road to urban sustainability through spatial methods.

In contrast to the conferences, funding focusses on practice-oriented local/national/regional partners such as practitioners, public servants, members of NGOs and/or CBOs, preferably from the workshop region, i.e. Africa 2021, Brazil 2022, India 2023, N.N. 2024).

Time Line

Action 5 – Enhance: Workshops for Bridging the Gap between Research and Professional Work
(Action Speaker: Gaurav Raheja, India)



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