Narrative strategies

Shaping the city with narratives

Menschengruppe im Gespräch auf Bänken am Holzmarkt in Berlin
© inter 3 GmbH

Narratives as a framework for urban development

Narratives provide a crucial framework for all phases of urban development: from the definition of problems to the formulation of goals and the choice of instruments of implementation to the evaluation of success or failure of urban development policy action. Within the framework of the research project, inter 3 together with the Büro für Stadt, Quartier und Beteiligung (BSQB) investigates how narratives are practically applied in two of the most important fields of action of urban development - integration and climate protection - and how effective they are in generating urban development goals and solutions in a collaborative, close to everyday life and connectable way.

Project goals

By collecting and evaluating practical examples, the project aims to clarify the significance of narrative methods for democratic planning processes in the context of a public welfare-oriented urban development policy. The study explores, typifies and evaluates the potential of these methods to discuss problems, goals and possible solutions with as many citizens as possible and to jointly shape city and region in collaborative planning and design processes. Prerequisites for effectiveness in actual projects are of interest, as are obstacles or pitfalls to be overcome when using narratives.

Bringing findings into application

Based on studies of 30 international example projects and detailed case studies of particularly interesting, innovative or creative projects, inter 3 is developing recommendations for urban development actors to help them not only better understand the effectiveness of narratives, but also to use them in a purposeful way in urban development processes.

The results of the analysis are to be discussed at a final event with regard to their possible application in practice and then published in summary form.

The project is part of the research program "Experimenteller Wohnungs- und Städtebau“" (ExWoSt). ExWoSt is a program of the Bundesministerium für Wohnen, Stadtentwicklung und Bauwesen (BMWSB) and is supervised by the Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung (BBSR).

Shaping the City with Narratives - Narrative Strategies in Planning Processes at the Quarter, City and Regional Levels


Dr. Susanne Schön, +49(0)30 34 34 74 52
Dr. Sebastian Strehlau, +49(0)30 34 34 74 42


Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt-, und Raumforschung (BBSR)

Practice partner:

Büro für Stadt, Quartier und Beteiligung (BSQB)


Bundesrepublik Deutschland


09/2022 – 09/2024