Pt.Talks Events


For the Summer Term 2023 we invite Marius Angstmann, Niloufar Vadiati, and Nick Gillibrand as speakers for Pt.Talks. The event series takes place online via Zoom. For more details please register for the events or contact



Wednesday, Mai 03, 2023

Marius Angstmann, Institut Arbeit und Technik

Industrial Symbiosis as a regional cross-sectoral approach to the circular economy: Status Quo and challenges in times of decarbonisation

gewerbegebiete Urheberrecht: © Marius Angstmann

The Circular Economy aims at decoupling economic growth from natural resources. As a synthetic concept, it is characterised by the diversity of approaches and definitions it encompasses various solutions differing in their focus on the stages of a products life cycle.

Industrial symbiosis is one key concept discussed in this context. It focuses on spatial aspects and cooperation between neighbouring companies as it describes the utilisation of by-products such as energy, water, residues through proximate companies. It further denotes a planning approach, which, however, until now has found only little resonance in municipal circular economy strategies.

While the idea has been gaining attention in recent decades, by-product utilisation is by far no new phenomenon. By-Products are commonly utilised locally in various heavy industries (e.g. utilisation of slag sand or fly ash in the cement and concrete industry) where they generate positive environmental effects.

Marius Angstmann presents findings from regional case studies in the German steel and cement industry, which are informed by Interviews with industrial representatives. He traces the emergence and status quo of cross-sectoral waste-to-value circular economic approaches and investigate their prospective development in the context of the industries’ decarbonisation roadmaps.

Findings show how circular solutions cut CO2 emissions and primary resource usage while simultaneously introducing new interdependences. When previously widely available by-products alter or disappear because of technological advancements and industrial decarbonization, new challenges appear. Cross-sectoral symbiotic ties however also provide basic framework for compensating or actively addressing these challenges. The findings feed into the debate on local and regional solutions of circularity as well as literature on path transformation and regional economic adaptability.


Wednesday, Juni 07 2023

Niloufar Vadiati, HCU Hamburg

Kiez being codified – Praxis of Grassroots Digital Urbanism in Berlin

Fassade des Hauses Urheberrecht: © Niloufar Vadiati

The prospect of calculable cities with tech fixes and solutionist approaches did not only get raving reviews. Among recent urban experimental collectives, there is an increasingly strong aspiration to imagine new digital urbanism possibilities representing those who refuse to be excluded from the ‘backend’ of smart city projects, being kept in the dark by black-boxed technologies and algorithmic decision-making.

Telling observational and performative tales, I follow multiple, creative, and careful practices of resistance of bottom-up collectives in Berlin. Through the observation method, I have reviewed the different forms of resistance, the discourses underpinning their work and the alternative they are building. The collectives range from DYI internet infrastructure with autonomous data-hub that contest the deterministic digital technological infrastructure, tech-feminist collectives (cyber feminist cities) that are loudly refusing the current hegemonic subjectivity of digital technology, and the neighbourhood-based digital currency based on the solidarity economy. Through the performative approach, we, with all those observed collectives, are organising a three-day-workshop for the experimental construction of a niche urban space and governance anarchitectures.

As a vignette, this presentation contributes to discussing the communal refusal strategy of these collectives and elaborates on how they are politically, spatially and performatively reappropriating the technological glitches in the city and enabling the (re)imagining alternative modes of digital urbanism in Berlin.


Wednesday, Juli 05 2023

Nicky Gillibrand, University College Dublin

Reimagining the Boundaries of Local Government in Our Digital Future 

    Netzwerk mit Stadthintergrund Urheberrecht: ©

Post Covid-19, many are leaving their traditional residences empty while moving from place to place living a ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle. This newfound mobility means local and regional governments will have to rethink who their citizens are, and what will convince them to keep paying the taxes and fees supporting local services. For example, the most mobile citizens will find less value in a community’s hard infrastructure, like sewers, roads, or utility cables; than they would from remotely accessible soft infrastructure, like internet access, education, or even energy. Yet while soft infrastructure investment may convince current and even new digital nomads to keep or start paying taxes to that community, catering to individuals who can uproot so easily makes community planning far more uncertain than when citizens depended on a community’s heavy infrastructure. With the lines increasingly blurred post-Covid, will a more mobile citizenry necessitate a largescale rethinking of how we view the boundaries of local government? Will the rise of digital nomad visas offered by many desirable locations see individuals shop for a home based on its soft infrastructure the same way international corporations search for tax breaks? What, therefore, will it mean to be a citizen of a local government when neither your earnings, nor your obligations, are tied to a static geographic location? In exploring these themes, traditional notions of community and social capital will be questioned insofar as how they can be reconciled with the reimagining of local governments in an increasingly digital world.