Powering divided cities: urban energy systems between separation and cooperation (DiviCiti)

THESys Project

This is a three-year research project (2020-2023) funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) under the Middle East Collaboration funding scheme. The project studies past and present cases of politically divided cities to reveal how energy infrastructures – understood as socio-technical configurations – can reinforce separation or promote cooperation in contested urban contexts. Three research objectives are pursued. First, the project demonstrates how political conflict has manifested itself in the structures and processes involved in producing, providing and using electricity and gas in three iconic divided cities: Berlin, Jerusalem and Nicosia. Second, it analyses how energy infrastructures have been enrolled in the urban resilience strategies of these cities since division, whether to increase isolationist self-dependence or cooperative inter-dependence. Third, it generates from the case comparison, both within and between the cities studied, knowledge on the relationship between geopolitical conflict and energy security in urban contexts as a contribution to theory-building at the interface of urban studies, energy studies and peace studies.


Moss, T., Papasozomenou, O., Sonan, S. & Shtern, M. (2024). Gridlocked: Governing cross-border electricity provision and infrastructure in a divided Cyprus since 1963. Energy Research & Social Science 115.
URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629624002263

Moss, T. (2023): Navigating electricity in-/interdependence in Cold War Berlin: an instructive history of urban infrastructure security. Urban History.
URL: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0963926823000500.

Moss, T., & Sareen, S. (2020). Demanding demand: Political configurations of energy efficiency in Berlin, 1920-2020, Journal of Energy History 5.
URL: https://energyhistory.eu/en/node/230

Rettig, E., Fischhendler, I., & Schlecht, F. (2023). The meaning of energy islands: Towards a theoretical framework. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 187, 113732.
URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2023.113732

Shtern, M., Herman, L., Fischhendler, I., & Rosen, G. (2022). Infrastructure sovereignty: battling over energy dominance in Jerusalem. Territory, Politics, Governance, 1-21.
URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/21622671.2022.2153727

Shtern, M., Sonan, S., & Papasozomenou, O. (2022). City Profile: Nicosia. Cities, 30, 103866.
URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2022.103866

Project Team

PIs: Prof. Timothy Moss (IRI THESys), Prof. Itay Fischhendler (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Co-PIs: Prof. Gillad Rosen (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Prof. Lior Herman (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Research Associates: Elai Rettig (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Marik Shtern (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Commissioned researchers: Dr. Ourania Papasozomenou (Arden University), Dr. Sertac Sonan (Cyprus International University)

Student Assistants: Bar Shiran (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Shirley Lukin (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Project Partners

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin – Integrative Research Institute on Transformations of Human-Environment-Systems (IRI THESys)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Department of Geography

Infrastructure & Energy