Graduiertenkolleg KRITIS

Research Training Group KRITIS

Project name Research Training Group “Critical infrastructures: construction, functional crises and protection in cities“
Acronym Research Training Group KRITIS
Coordinator TU Darmstadt, Dept. of History and Social Sciences, Institute of History, WG Recent and Modern History
Project partner
  • TU Darmstadt, Dept. of History and Social Sciences, Institute of History, WG Recent and Modern History (spokesmen)
  • Universiteit Utrecht, Human Geography and Planning – Economic Urban Transitions (spokesmen)
  • TU Darmstadt, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering Sciences, Institute of Numerical Methods and Informatics in Civil Engineering
  • TU Darmstadt, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering Sciences, Institutes of Traffic and Transport, WG Railway Systems and Technology
  • TU Darmstadt, Dept. of Architecture, Section Urban Planning, WG Design and Urban Development
  • TU Darmstadt, Dept. of Architecture, Section Urban Planning, Subject Area Spatial and Infrastructure Planning
  • TU Darmstadt, Dept. of History and Social Sciences, Institute of History, WG History of Technology
  • TU Darmstadt, Dept. of History and Social Sciences, Institute of History, WG Medieval History
  • TU Darmstadt, Dept. of History and Social Sciences, Institute of Philosophy, WG Philosophy of Technology and Technosciences
  • TU Darmstadt, Dept. of History and Social Sciences, Institute of Political Science, WG Comparative Analysis of Political Systems
  • TU Darmstadt, Dept. of Informatics, Ubiquitous Knowledge Processing (UKP) Lab
Duration October 2016 – March 2021
(An extension of another 4.5 years is planned)
Funding body German Research Foundation (DFG)
Project content Critical infrastructures (CRITIS) in cities are the subject of the research training group: The functioning of cities is closely dependent on technical systems such as supply and disposal, communication and transport, which are regarded as the “nervous systems” of modern cities. Failures or disturbances can be unpleasant and even lead to dramatic crises that threaten the life and limb of city dwellers. The growing vulnerability of modern (city) societies is usually attributed to various causes: On the one hand, external threats from natural disasters, terrorist attacks and cyber attacks have been brought into view in recent years; on the other hand, risks also arise due to the increasing complexity and mutual networking of systems.

The KRITIS research focuses on three key questions:
  • Which infrastructures are identified as “critical” and why?
  • Which functional crises and threat situations of the systems can be identified?
  • How does society protect itself and its infrastructures?
The research training group addresses these questions and forms three main areas of research: Construction of critical infrastructures, which examines which technical and functional requirements and social and political attributions are of relevance or “critical” and to what extent they vary according to historical and spatial context; functional crises of critical infrastructures investigating errors in urban infrastructures, including the conditions of their vulnerability or resilience; and strategies for the protection of critical infrastructures, where the questions lie in how protection from and preparation for infrastructural functional crises can or can be organized (preparedness and prevention) and which spatial and temporal factors are to be taken into account.

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