Megacities – Megachallenge: Analysis of informal dynamics in mega urban areas – based on spatial structure and steering mechanisms focused on water in the Pearl River Delta

In May 2005 the senate of the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – DFG) has agreed to a new priority programme on “Megacities – Megachallenge: Informal Dynamics of Global Change” (SPP 1233). The financial funding for the first two of overall six years has been granted.
Nine interdisciplinary and strongly linked projects are jointly investigating the informal aspects of megacity dynamics and their integration in global change processes.
The aim of the focal programme (SPP) is to develop theoretical approaches and models which are suitable for a general explanation of informal processes and structures in megacities.

This implies:
(1) Further development of theoretical concepts of mega-urban, national and global organization of society, economy, politics and their interrelations
(2) (Re)conceptualization of “informality” with a system of concepts better representing the complex, multi-layered and dynamic reality.
(3) To deepen the understanding of informal institutions and processes as well as their relevance for megaurban dynamics and actors.
(4) Further development of existing models and scenarios, especially considering multidisciplinary approaches, quantitative and qualitative methods and the complex dynamics of megaurban systems.

Four problem areas with highest dynamics and social relevance will be central to the programme:
a) The loss of planning control and governability and the influence of new forms of governance,
b) The dominance and differentiation of urban economies,
c) The complexity and dynamics of material and resource flows,
d) The multilayered dynamics of settlement development.
The focus on informal aspects and their global interconnections as well as the transdisciplinary approach distinguish the focal programme from other ongoing megacity-initiatives.

  • Website :
  • Project start : 0000
  • Project end : 2010
  • Contact Person : Florian Kluge
  • Funding Agency : DFG (German Research Foundation)
  • Image Title : Logo DFG SPP Megacities Megachallenge