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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Dr. Sören Becker

Postdoctoral Researcher
The production of sustainable and smart cities “from above” and “from below”


  • Smart cities
  • Urban Governance
  • Energy geography

"Technological innovation is entwined with social change. But new technologies don't evolve in empty space; innovation unfolds in relation to contested norms and knowledge, social power relations and spatial differentiation. My Berlin-focussed work at IRI THESys seeks to understand the development of various digital and “smart city” projects – initiated by the state, by business, and by civil society." Sören Becker

Sören Becker is a postdoctoral researcher at IRI THESys. Before that he worked with the Leibniz Institute for Society and Space in Erkner where he was engaged in both applied and theory-oriented research on new forms of organisation evolving in renewable energy transitions in Germany and beyond, for example local utilities and energy cooperatives. His PhD research in social and economic geography focussed on urban governance and conflicts around public vs. private ownership in the energy provision in Hamburg and Berlin. Before entering academia he was active as a trainer for the German Trade Union Federation (DGB).

Since May 2017, Sören Becker is a postdoctoral researcher in the European project “KNOWING – The knowledge politics of smart urbanism”, led by Prof. Dr. Timothy Moss.

THESys Project
Selected Publications

Becker, S., Kunze, C., Vancea, M. (2017): Community energy and social entrepreneurship: the purpose, ownership and embeddedness of renewable energy initiatives. Journal of Cleaner Production 147, 25-36. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.01.048

Becker, S., Moss, T., Naumann, M. (2017): Beyond co-production and beyond the commons: urban energy initiatives and remunicipalisation in Hamburg and Berlin. Urban Research and Practice 10 (1), 63-85. DOI: 10.1080/17535069.2016.1156735

Becker, S., Röhring, A., Beveridge, R. (2016): Energy transitions and institutional change: between structure and agency. In: Gailing, L, Moss, T. (Hrsg.): Conceptualizing Germany's energy transition: power, materiality and space. London: Palgrave Pivot, 21-41. DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-50593-4 3

Kunze, C., Becker, S. (2015): Collective ownership in renewable energy and opportunities for sustainable degrowth. Sustainability Science 10 (3), 425-437. DOI: 10.1007/s11625-015-0301-0

Becker, S., Beveridge, R., Naumann, M. (2015): Remunicipalization in German cities: contesting neo-liberalism and reimagining urban governance? Space and Polity 19 (1), 76-90. DOI: 10.1080/13562576.2014.991119

full list of publications