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Focus Project “Multiple Place Ties” – Complex place ties of mobile professionals
Client:Institutional funding
Partner(s):Centre for Urban Policy Studies, University of Manchester
Time frame:01/2015 – 12/2017

Building on reflections about the increasing fluidity (Bauman) of structures within the context of advanced globalisation we assume that individuals and groups are developing increasingly complex place ties.

An important driver behind this is the transformation of work. This includes the changing conditions of employment due to flexibilisation and deregulation of labour markets as well rising demands for worker mobility. Intensified by livelihood and household changes, temporary stays and commuting are increasingly common, often over long distances, while permanent migration becomes less frequent (Schneider 2009, Kesselring/Vogl 2010, Voß 2010).

The reduced ability to plan careers and residential locations has often been associated with negatively influencing ties to particular places. This has given rise to worries that neighbourhoods are being destabilised due to decreasing place-based identities of their residents as well as socio-structural transformations (e.g. Putnam 2000, DiPasquale/Glaeser 1999). Yet, other work has also highlighted the relevance of newly emerging ties and forms of communities (e.g. “movement space”, Thrift 2004, Menzl 2011). Building on the literature about “grounding” of highly-mobile migrants for example (Walsh 2006, Plöger/Becker 2015), we assume that place attachment and local incorporation occurs. Such practices of forming multiple place ties are however less tied to only one place.

This research project focusses on labour-related mobility of mobile professionals and their households and analyses their relevance for processes of spatial attachment. Due to its function of facilitating social connections, recent work (e.g. van Riemsdijk 2014) has highlighted the significance of the work environment for local incorporation. Therefore, we start our analysis of the everyday practices of mobile professionals at their place of work (e.g. Kudera/Voß 2000).

Based on these considerations, our main research interests and research questions are as follows. Important themes of our analysis are the relationality of place ties, all-encompassing mobilities and the role of “anchors” for place-based practices. In a first step, we conduct interviews with mobile professionals to understand how these are integrated at the places which are relevant for their everyday practices and what opportunities are provided by the urban society. The second step focuses on governance structures and examines how the everyday practices of mobile professionals (and their households) are influenced by public or economic actors.

Based on case studies in European cities (Manchester and Dortmund), the project analyses how different, socio-spatial, cultural, political and institutional contexts shape the practices of mobile professionals.

Related Publications

Becker, A.; Plöger, J.; Tippel, C. (2017): Mobility decisions of Skilled Professionals – the Role of Connections and Ties. In: Regional Studies Regional Science (submitted)

Plöger, J. (2016): High-skilled migrants, place ties and urban policy-making - Putting housing on the agenda. In: van Riemsdijk, M.; Wang, Q. (Eds.): Rethinking International Skilled Migration - A Place-Based and Spatial Perspective (Regions and Cities, 109). Routledge. Routledge: Abingdon/New York, 154-172.

Plöger, J.; Günther, F. (2016): Das andere Zuhause – Ortsbezüge hochqualifizierter Migranten. In: Standort, 40 (4), 228-233.

Plöger, J.; Becker, A. (2015): Social Networks and Local Incorporation – Grounding High-Skilled Migrants in two German Cities. In: Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 41 (10), 1517-1535.

Dittrich-Wesbuer, A.; Kramer, C.; Duchene-Lacroix, C.; Rumpolt, P. (2015): Multi-local Living Arrangements: Approaches to Quantification in German Language Official Statistics and Surveys. In: Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 106 (4), 409–424.

Plöger, J.; Weck, S. (2014): Confronting Out-Migration and the Skills Gap in Declining Ger-man Cities. In: European Planning Studies, 22 (2), 437-455.

Dittrich-Wesbuer, A. & Plöger, J. (2013): Multilokalität und Transnationalität – Neue Heraus-forderungen für Stadtentwicklung und Stadtpolitik. In: Raumforschung und Raumordnung, 71 (3), 195-205.


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