The research field “Planning Governance”

The transformations in the energy sector will invariably spark societal debates if not controversies. Debatable issues are questions of equity, such as how (financial) burdens should be allocated across society, resolution of conflicts regarding values, and diverging societal preferences. The research field “Planning Governance” within the Helmholtz Alliance ENERGY-TRANS will deal with these issues, trying to answer the question of how to come to competent, legally compatible and socially acceptable decisions about controversial topics.

Despite many research efforts and innovative contributions to risk governance and planning governance, there are still gaps in our knowledge concerning the question of how to do public participation well. The research field will address these knowledge gaps and contribute to the theory, practice and regulation of public participation.

The research Field incorporates three research projects and each of these research projects contributes important aspects to the improvement of policy making in the energy sector. Photo: Sören Marotz

The project “Analyzing Conflicts in Planning Processes” investigates societal controversies and debates. The project analyses societal change and its reflections in social discourses.

The project “Potential and Limits of Discursive Approaches” explores and empirically tests the prospects and limits of deliberative, group-based approaches in various online and offline formats.


The project “Due Process in Energy Infrastructure Planning” tackles the question whether the current framework of planning law is sufficient to come to adequate decisions while balancing heterogeneous interests.