René Kreichauf

PhD Candidate

Lansstraße 5-9
14195 Berlin

René Kreichauf is an urban researcher from Berlin, Germany. He studied urban planning and urban sociology at the Technical University Berlin as well as urban studies within his international master's program at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Universität Wien, Københavns Universitet, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and at Universidad Complutense de Madrid. As a research assistant, he has worked at several university and research institutions, such as the Department for Urban and Regional Sociology at TU Berlin and the Leibniz-Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning. In 2011, René lived and worked in Chicago and Detroit investigating social polarization processes and urban shrinkage. His research and publication activities focus on urban transformation trends, social inequality, urban minorities and migration. His PhD project investigates the arrival and integration of refugees and asylum seekers in European and North American cities.


Work Experience


Department for Urban Sociology, Bauhaus University Weimar, Assistant Professor

03/2013-07/2013 Department for Sociology, Technical University of Vienna, student research assistant
11/2012-02/2013 Heinrich Böll Foundation – European Union, EU-Intern

Department for Urban Sociology, Technical University Berlin, student research assistant


Center for Metropolitan Studies, freelancer at the research project Urban Economics

04/2011-05/2011 The Chicago Urban Art Society, project assistant
10/2009-07/2010 Department Urban Regeneration at the Leibniz-Institute of Regional Development and     Structural Planning, student research assistant




John Lewis Fellowship on Civil And Human Rights, Humanity in Action, Atlanta (USA)

03/2013 - 07/2013 – Center for Urban Dialogue and European Policy, research fellowship, Vienna (Austria)



04/2013-09/2014 Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, Scholarship Recipient for Master studies

Short-term scholarship of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes for attending the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems in San Francisco (USA) and the Annual Congress of the European Regional Science Association in St. Petersburg (Russia)


KWA scholarship of the University of Vienna for studies at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid

09/2013-02/2014 ERASMUS grant for studies at the Københavns Universitet



11/2012 1st Prize of the Balg Mächler Award for Urban Studies and Urban Development from the Ilse Balg Foundation Germany for Bachelor Thesis
12/2011 Young Scholar Award for Bachelor Thesis announced by Association for Urban-, Regional- and Landscape Planning and by the Institute for Urban and Regional Planning

Winner of the Summer Camp Neighbourhoods in Small Towns of the Schader Foundation (Darmstadt, Germany)


Media Appearances


René Kreichauf on the current challenges of housing refugees in Germany (Interview Deutschlandradio Kultur): Flucht, Architektur und Stadtplanung. Bauen im Aufnahmezustand [Link]

11/2015 René Kreichauf on integrating and housing refugees (Interview Deutschlandradio Kultur): Unterbringung von Flüchtlingen - Es geht um Isolation, Abschreckung und Kontrolle [Link]
02/2012 René Kreichauf on migration and ethnic segregation in German small towns (Interview Volksstimme): Überhöhte Wahrnehmung - Klein-Moskau liegt nicht am Kanal [Link]

Towards Urban Asylum

Policies, Approaches and Consequences of the Reception of Refugees in European and US American Cities    


Forced migration is a global phenomenon, which is politically regulated on supranational and national levels. However, it is the city where the arrival, accommodation and integration of refugees take place. Whereas current research explores the failures of nation-states to address the needs of refugees and to provide solutions to the challenges of housing and integration, there is a lack of studies on how urban policies will be central to refugee resettlement, housing challenges and integration practices. This PhD extends the debate towards the city’s abilities to handle and integrate refugees in European and US-American migration regimes. To do so, it focuses on 1) the relation between state authority and urban autonomy and the development of national and local housing and integration policies, 2) the local implementation of housing forms and their objectives, 3) built and social urban (infra-)structures as well as 4) the refugees’ perception on the consequences of housing and integration practices. Applying a qualitative research approach consisting of policy and stakeholder analysis, interviews with experts, local authorities and persons affected as well as spatial analyses of refugee infrastructures, the thesis plans to clarify the role of the urban in the face of different political systems and national approaches towards refugees in arrival cities in Europe and the US. It assumes that metropoles, as traditional migrant destinations, develop particular practices – despite national frameworks – towards urban asylum systems.




  • Towards Urban Asylum - The Reception of Refugees in Berlin and Athens, IMISCOE Annual Conference, Geographic Migration Centre (GEOMIGRACE) at Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic), 01.07.2016
  • Torn between Willkommenskultur and Xenophobia – Immigrant Integration In German Small Towns, Final International Conference Local Responses to International Migration: a Challenge for Europe, UNESCO Chair on the Social and Spatial Inclusion of International Migrants – Urban Policies and Practices, Venice (Italy), 10.03.2016
  • Harsh, Hostile and Exclusive or Misunderstood? Asylum in Denmark, IMISCOE Workshop on Refugees in European localities: Reception, Perceptions and Policies; University of Amsterdam/IMES, Netherlands, 03.03.2016
  • The Securitized European City and its New Borders, International Work Shop "Arrival Infrastructures", Brussels (Belgium), 10.12.-11.12.2015.
  • Das Siedlungsverhalten von Spätaussiedler_innen in ostdeutschen Kleinstädten, Tagung "Russlanddeutsche in einem vergleichenden Kontext. Neue Perspektiven der Forschung", Berlin (Germany), 18.11.-19.11.2015.
  • Neue Grenzen in der Europäischen Stadt – Die Wirkung der Flüchtlingsunterkunft auf die Integration von Asylsuchenden, ARL Congress 2015 „Migration, Integration - Herausforderungen für die räumliche Planung“, Cologne (Germany), 19.06.2015.
  • Europäische Lagerlandschaften – Die Unterbringung Asylsuchender in Kopenhagen, Berlin und Madrid als räumlicher Ausdruck restriktiver Asylpolitiken, Gesprächskreis Stadtentwicklung der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Halle (Germany), 12.06.2015.
  • Festung Europäische Stadt – Die sozialräumliche Exklusion Asylsuchender in Kopenhagen, Berlin und Madrid, Seminar: Zwischen Willkommenskultur und Asylbewerberverwaltung - Zuwanderung und kommunale Integrationspolitik in Deutschland, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Berlin (Germany), 02.06.2015.
  • Das Ende städtischer Schrumpfung und planerischer Postwachstumsstrategien? – Privatisierung, Entdemokratisierung, Kapital- und Eigentumsakkumulation in Bitterfeld und Detroit, Wie plant die Planung? – Kulturwissenschaftliche Perspektiven auf die räumliche Planung, Symposium, Berlin (Germany), 17./18.04.2015.
  • Detroit And Bitterfeld – Managing Decline To Generate Growth, 5th Halle Forum on Urban Economic Growth, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), Halle (Germany), 11./12.12.2014.
  • Exclusion, Control and Heteronomy of Asylum Seekers in European Cities, Urban Minorities – Final Conference, Bauhaus University Weimar (Germany), 13./14.11.2014.
  • The Limits to Decline – A Paradigm Shift to a Smart Urban Shrinkage or Pursuing the Path of Growth?, Fall Symposium Re: The City, Detroit (USA), 31.10.2014.
  • Das Flüchtlingslager – Raumtheoretische Zugänge, Nachwuchsforscher_innentagung Sozialräumliche Forschungsperspektiven, Magdeburg (Germany), 17.10.2014.
  • Displaced, Excluded, Disfranchised – Housing Asylum Seekers in the European Fortress City, Berlin Unlimited, International Festival on Architecture and Urban Research, Berlin (Germany), 07.10.2014.
  • Being on the Losing Side of Global Urban Development – The Limits to Managing Urban Decline, 54. ERSA Congress on Regional Development and Globalisation, Sankt Petersburg (Russia), 28.08.2014.
  • The European Fortress City – The Socio-Spatial Exclusion of Asylum Seekers at the annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems. San Francisco (USA), 18.08.2014.
  • The New Urban Poor – The Socio-Spatial Exclusion of Asylum Seekers in Europe at the Conference on Urban Development and Poverty. Kassel (Germany), 24.06.2014.
  • New Trends in Berlin’s Urban Development. Free University of Berlin, Berlin (Germany), 12.03.2014.
  • Ghettos in Small Towns? The Research on Ethnic Segregation and Stigmatisation Processes in Small Town Germany. Leuphana University Lüneburg, Lüneburg (Germany), 4.11.2013.
  • Migration and Small Towns – Speech at the 8. NWNW- Conference on Diversity, Frankfurt am Main (Germany), 10.11.2012.
  • Russian ghetto, Small-Moscow, deprived neighbourhood – On development and stigmatisation of ethnic segregated neighbourhoods in East German small towns at the Forschungskolloquium of the Department for Architecture, Civil Engineering and Urban Planning of the BTU Cottbus, Cottbus (Germany), 07.11.2012.
  • The Rathausforum as the Image of Berlin’s history of urban development – Keynote and panel discussion at the event Rathausforum – Wie weiter mit der Mitte Berlins? of the Bildungswerks Berlin Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Berlin (Germany), 01.11.2012.
  • Ethnic Segregation in small towns? – Speech and Poster Presentation at the study conference of the Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies, Berlin (Germany), 20.01.2012.
  • Migration to Small Towns and Counties in Germany –Speech at the Technical University of Berlin, Berliner (Germany), 8.10. 2010.
  • Civic Participation and Planning in Public Spaces – Speech at the Workshop Public Space of the Hermann Henselmann Foundation, Berlin (Germany), 29.11.2010.
Dahlem Research School
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft