Research news

Dr. Sanela Pansinger receives Horizon Europe - ERA postdoctoral fellowship for integrating citizen science into urban planning

Publish Date: 27.09.2023

Category: Researchers in focus , ERC & MSCA, Interdisciplinary research, Our contribution to sustainable development goals

Sustainable development goals: 11 Sustainable cities and communities (Indicators)

Austrian researcher Dr. Sanela Pansinger has been awarded a postdoctoral ERA fellowship under the European Commission's call for proposals HORIZON-WIDERA-2022-TALENTS for a two-year research project HUBCITIES at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Ljubljana, where she will work with her supervisor Dr. Lucija Ažman Momirski from the Department of History, Theory and Restoration. Dr. Lucija Ažman Momirski explained, 'The main aim of the project is to develop a new approach to sustainable spatial development of airport and seaport areas using citizen science. Residents are actively involved in co-designing and negotiating future spatial and urban development through joint research with urban planners. This approach makes urban planning more satisfying for residents, professionals and all other stakeholders".

HubCiities tekst

Participatory processes in urban planning refer to the involvement of citizens in decision-making processes that take into account their opinions and preferences in solving problems. Citizen science uses the knowledge and skills of citizens to collect data and support scientific research in urban planning.

The project's starting points relate to the key question: why is cooperation between the stakeholders largely unsuccessful? Specifically, there is a lack of sharing of spatial development data in areas where global actors operate with global interests but use local space, largely ignoring local spatial elements and interests.

These are the areas of airports and seaports, the former 347 and the latter 3 024 in Europe. At the same time, these are areas with hubs, networks, transportation and transshipment centres, production and trade activities; they are characterised by contradictory spatial indicators. We call them HubCities with a common identifier. HubCities define a theme of spatial and urban development that emerged only at the end of the twentieth century, including the emergence of low-cost airlines after the liberalisation of air transport in 1997 and globalised containerization.

Three HubCities regions were selected as test sites: the airport and logistics hub of Graz (Austria), the vision of a passenger airport near the port of Koper (Slovenia), and a regional passenger airport in the area of the port city of Trieste (Italy). Our experience shows that different approaches should be taken to engage citizens in the Citizen Science process: What works in Graz does not work in Trieste and Ljubljana. A continuous dialogue with citizens is crucial for the HubCities project. The selected pilot cases build on previous activities of postdoctoral researcher Dr. Sanela Pansinger and supervisor Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lucija Ažman Momirski in the selected areas. Dr. Sanela Pansinger is an Austrian urban planner and architect whose university teaching, participation in national and international research projects and urban planning practice focuses in particular on airport locations and their impact on adjacent urban development. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lucija Ažman Momirski specialises in the topic of port cities and actively integrates citizen science into urban planning (

The development of the project methodology is facilitated by three supporting tools: the HubCities Platform (as a communication, networking and knowledge platform), the HubCities Workshops (as events with citizen participation) and the HubCities Toolbox (as tools for future spatial planning in cooperation with citizens).


EU funded EN

back to list