PhD Student

Andrea Protschky M.Sc.

Dept. 2: History and Social Sciences

Institute of Sociology, Department Urban Sociology and Sociology of Space


work +49 6151 16-57578

Work S4|24 111
Dolivostraße 15
64293 Darmstadt

Research Interests

  • Housing and homelessness
  • Temporality and spatiality of social inequalities
  • Crisis research
  • Interrelations of infrastructure and society
  • Modern architecture and urban planning
  • Urban Heritage

PhD Project

Improvising Infrastructure. Infrastructure practices and social in- and exclusions of unhoused persons in Berlin. (Working title)

Unhoused persons’ access to basic infrastructure (water, energy, mobility, communication) is impeded. Persons without a permanent dwelling, financial means and income are partly excluded from infrastructure, which would be used in one’s accommodation or has to be paid for. By drawing on offers of social organisations as well as elaborate strategies of infrastructure use and replacement, unhoused urbanites however manage to gain limited access to services. In this way, the infrastructure practices of unhoused persons mirror social in- and exclusions, but also shape their social situation – for instance due to the possibility to maintain personal hygiene or the accumulation of transport related debt. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the reduction of many assistance offers and sources of income aggravates this precarity, but the launch of new social and political initiatives might also offer possibilities for the infrastructure use of unhoused persons.

Previous research on social and spatial exclusion of unhoused persons as well as infrastructure scholarship have so far hardly addressed these issues. Infrastructure scholarship in Europe largely focuses on the integrative character of infrastructure or regional differences in access, but has so far claimed little interest in the exclusion of specific user groups. By contrast, infrastructure research in the Global South often emphasizes the role of people and their practices for the functioning of instable and fragmented infrastructural arrangements and for the research of inequalities. Building on this debate and based on a practice theoretical approach, the project investigates how infrastructure practices are connected to social in- and exclusions of unhoused persons and how these relations develop during personal and societal crises. The study is conducted in Berlin, which has been dubbed Germany’s “homeless capital” (Mayer 1997, Mahs 2013), since it supposedly hosts the highest number of persons without permanent shelter among German cities.

10/2015 – 04/2019 Urban Design (M.Sc.), Technische Universität Berlin
09/2016 – 04/2017 International Master in Urban Planning and Urban Studies (Erasmus Studies), Research track, École d’Urbanisme de Paris, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée
10/2011 – 09/2015 Metropolitan Culture (B.A.), one year specialization in urban planning (B.Sc.), HafenCity Universität Hamburg
07/2019 – 09/2019 Freelance scientist in the research project ‚PANDORA‘, Zentrum Technik und Gesellschaft, Technische Universität Berlin
09/2017 – 06/2019 Student assistant in the research project ‚4D-Sicherheit‘, Zentrum Technik und Gesellschaft, Technische Universität Berlin
06/2018, 10/2018 Observation of two disaster response exercises of the Berlin fire brigade in the research project SenSE4Metro, Akademie der Katastrophenforschungsstelle gGmbH AKFS
04/2016 – 07/2017 Student assistant in the research project ‚Alphakomm‘, Zentrum Technik und Gesellschaft, Technische Universität Berlin
10/2015 – 09/2016 Assistant in a research project in Soldiner Quartier, Berlin targeting critical architecture communication in combination with a seminar at Technische Universität Berlin, Niche Berlin, Art & Architecture Tours
01/2015 – 09/2015 Student assistant to Prof. Dr. Dirk Schubert, HafenCity Universität Hamburg, Department of Housing and Neighborhood development
10/2014 – 09/2015 Student assistant to Prof. Dr. Gernot Grabher, HafenCity Universität Hamburg, Department of Urban and Regional Economics
04/2014 – 05/2014 Documentation of the workshop „Partizipation in der Integrierten Stadtteilentwicklung” for the Ministry of Urban Development and Environment Hamburg, Department Integrated Urban Development


Zeitaspekte der Infrastrukturpraktiken von Menschen ohne dauerhafte Unterkunft. Presentation on 11 May 2021 at the conference „Temporalitäten von (Transport-)Infrastrukturen“ by the Research Training Group KRITIS.

The Annihilation of Time by Precarious Access? Time Aspects of Unhoused Persons‘ Infrastructure Practices. Presentation on 15 June 2021 at the workshop “NOIR – Infrastructural Times: A Workshop Exploring the Temporalities of Urban-Regional Infrastructure” by the Network on Infrastructural Regionalism in the Regional Studies Association.

Scientific publications

Protschky, Andrea; Longoni, Raphael (2021): Locating the RTG KRITIS within infrastructure discourses: an introduction. In: Research Training Group KRITIS (Ed.): Concepts of Infrastructure. Whitepaper of an internal workshop. 1-3.

Protschky, Andrea (2021): People as infrastructure: translating a metaphor for infrastructure research. In: Research Training Group KRITIS (Ed.): Concepts of Infrastructure. Whitepaper of an internal workshop. 12-14.

Longoni, Raphael; Protschky, Andrea; Beck, Tilman; Beuttenmüller Lopes Silva, Felipe; Dighe, Chaitali; Kuhn, Luisa; Platzer, Eva K.; Punt, Eline; Soelberg, Søren; Steinbach, Cedric (2021): Conclusion. In: Research Training Group KRITIS (Ed.): Concepts of Infrastructure. Whitepaper of an internal workshop. 27-29.

Protschky, Andrea (2020): Netzwerke für Vernetzte? – Quartiersräte zwischen Zielsetzung und gelebter Realität. In: PlanerIn 3/20. 37-38.

Hempel, Leon; Wittich, Robert; Protschky, Andrea (2019). Integrierte Technikentwicklung durch Konfliktnetzwerke. In: Draude, C.; Lange, M.; Sick, B. (eds.): INFORMATIK 2019: 50 Jahre Gesellschaft für Informatik – Informatik für Gesellschaft (Workshop-Beiträge). Bonn: Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V.. 445-446.

Kim, MinJi; Mundt, Hannes; Protschky, Andrea (2017): Serendipitous Archives III. In: Lee, Rachel; Barbé, Diane; Fenk, Anne-Katrin; Misselwitz, Philipp (eds.): Things don’t really exist until you give them a name. Unpacking Urban Heritage. Dar es Salaam. 61.

Barbé, Diane; Besha, Richard; Fenk, Anne-Katrin; Lee, Rachel; Misselwitz, Philipp (eds.) (2017): Talking Cities. Urban Narratives from Dar es Salaam and Berlin. (co-author). Berlin. (Link to PDF (opens in new tab))

Reports, Articles, Blogs

Talevi, Rosario; Protschky, Andrea; Cantas, Cansu (n.y.): Blog. Forms of Communication. A seminar happening between university and kiez. (Link)

Kim, MinJi; Mundt, Hannes; Protschky, Andrea (n.y.): MoabEat. What does the foodscape tell us about the influence of migration on the local characteristics? In: Simulizi Mijini. Urban Narratives. Platforms. (Link)

Protschky, Andrea (2016): Opinion: What time is it on the clock of the world? About the International Festival on Feminism and Public Space in Hamburg. In: Making Spaces. Blog. (Link)

Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg, Behörde für Stadtentwicklung und Umwelt (ed.) (2014): Workshop „Gender Mainstreaming in der Integrierten Stadtteilentwicklung“. Dokumentation. Authors: Schlonski, Christiane; Kaiser, Andreas; Protschky, Andrea. Hamburg.


Seminar „Sociology of Housing“ (Soziologie des Wohnens) within the Bachelor’s program Sociology, summer semester 2021.