Spokesperson: Johannes Lipps
The 21st century is generally considered to be the ‘century of cities’, because never before have so many people lived in concentrated spaces that are characterized by a complex organizational and economic structure. These urban entities represent extremely unstable equilibria, being confronted both structurally and situationally with a multitude of exogenous and endogenous challenges. Due to the tight structural and social interconnectedness of the urban fabric, but also of different urban spaces among each other, unexpected chains of events can arise here, affecting large numbers of people at the same time. The topic of ‘(proto)urban agglomeration’ and its current challenges proves to be so complex that questions of economic, ecological, social and cultural sustainability, resilience (in both a positive and negative sense) or the transformative potential of urban concentration and the people living in these entities are still the subject of lively scientific debates today. TA 3 adds a multidisciplinary perspective to current research on the sustainability, resilience and transformation of contemporary urban aggregations and explores the multitude of strategies that people have used to address economic, ecological and social challenges over the past millennia. Our main research question is how challenges and the conflicts and reactions they engender influence long-term coexistence in densely populated (proto)urban spaces and thus contribute to its success or failure. A special focus will be on the social challenges of individuals and groups.
The Thematic Area 3 'Urban Consolidation' brings together projects that examine case studies from the 5th millennium BC to the early modern period and from the Near East to Central Europe, thus mutually benefiting from each other. All projects focus on built space, social orders and institutions as well as individual and collective social practices, three pillars that can be complemented by a multitude of other thematic fields such as religion, social stratification, etc. This establishes parameters within which addressing challenges in concentrated (proto)urban spaces becomes comparable across cultures and time. Our unique characteristic lies in the combination of special combination of (proto)urban concentration with the topic of challenges and a focus on socio- historical aspects. Our cross-cultural and cross-temporal perspective makes it possible to structure the perception, conceptualization and coping with the challenges of living closely together in (proto)urban spaces from a historical perspective and, above all, to assess long-term transformative processes associated with them. The multitude of challenges investigated exemplarily for densely populated (proto)urban areas facilitates the exchange within the wider profile area.