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Leslie Quitzow (Associate fellow)


Center for Metropolitan Studies
TU Berlin
Hardenbergstraße 16-18
10623 Berlin    


Paving the Way for Smart Grids – Driving Forces and Effects of Smart Grid Development in Berlin, Germany

The smart grid is a technological innovation that is rapidly transforming urban energy sectors. Because smart grids combine the promise of clean energy transitions with high-tech development and economic growth, they are at the top of urban policy and business agendas across Europe. Sites for deploying and testing smart grid infrastructures are in fact mushrooming in important European metropolises such as Vienna, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Manchester and Berlin. At the same time, there is growing scepticism in the critical urban studies community that “smart” technological solutions are being built largely around the interests of private – mostly ICT – firms, leaving little room for controversial political debate and hiding many pressing social issues from view (e.g. poverty and inequality).

My research project follows this claim by investigating how, why and by whom smart grid technologies are being implemented in the city, and to what effects. The city of Berlin, which hosts three major smart grid pilot projects, serves as empirical case study. Based on sociological and urban studies concepts of socio-technical change, the project investigates the driving forces behind these pilot projects and examines the effects of their development on the collective visions of a desirable (or deplorable) urban future, on actors and actor constellations, and on institutional arrangements in Berlin’s urban energy regime.


since 11/2013
Coordinator of the Leibniz Research Alliance "Energy Transition"

2010 - 2013
Coordinator of the Future Megacities research project "Young Cities - Creating Energy-efficient Urban Fabric in the Tehran-Karaj Region, Iran", TU Berlin

2007 - 2010
Coordinator of the Erasmus Mundus Masters degree program "International Cooperation and Urban Development", TU Darmstadt

Post-graduate degree in International Cooperation, HU Berlin

Research assistant for the human rights organization "Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions" COHRE

Diploma in Architecture; thesis on "Indicators of Sustainable Urban Development", TU Berlin

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