Andrea Protschky M.Sc.

Research assistant I PhD student

Working area(s)

Research Training Group KRITIS, Urban and Spatial Sociology


work +49 6151/16-57578

Work S3|13 333
Mail: Dolivostraße 15, 64293 Darmstadt
Residenzschloss 1
64283 Darmstadt

  • Housing and homelessness
  • Infrastructure and society
  • Temporality and spatiality of social inequality
  • Sociology of the body
  • Theory of practice

Improvising Infrastructure

Infrastructure practices and social in- and exclusions of unhoused persons in Berlin.

While rates of infrastructural access are generally high in Germany, the accessibility of water, energy, communication, and mobility for unhoused persons is severely impeded. Persons without a permanent dwelling and financial means are partly excluded from infrastructure that would commonly be used in personal accommodations or has to be paid for. By drawing on offers of social organizations as well as elaborate strategies of infrastructure use and replacement, unhoused urbanites, however, manage to gain limited access to services.

In this way, the infrastructural practices of unhoused persons mirror social in- and exclusions and shape their social situation – for instance, by the (im-)possibility to maintain personal hygiene or the accumulation of transport-related debt.

Based on a practice theoretical approach, the project investigates how unhoused persons' infrastructural practices are connected to social in- and exclusions. The study is conducted in Berlin, which has sometimes been dubbed Germany’s “homeless capital”, since the highest number of persons without permanent accommodation among German cities live there

Professional Training
Since 10/2019 Ph.D. program in Sociology, Technical University of Darmstadt and Spatial Planning, Utrecht University (Joint Degree)
Thesis: Improvising Infrastructure. Infrastructure practices and social in- and exclusions of unhoused persons in Berlin. (Working title)
Advisors: Prof. Dr. Sybille Frank and Prof. Dr. Jochen Monstadt
07/2019 – 09/2019 Freelance work in the project ‚PANDORA‘, Centre for Technology and Society, Technical University of Berlin
09/2017 – 06/2019 Student assistant in the project ‚4D-Sicherheit‘, Centre for Technology and Society, Technical University of Berlin
06/2018, 10/2018 Observation of two disaster exercises of the Berlin fire brigade in the project SenSE4Metro, Academy of the Disaster Research Centre gGmbH AKFS
04/2016 – 07/2017 Student assistant in the project ‚Alphakomm‘, Centre for Technology and Society, Technical University of Berlin
10/2015 – 09/2016 Assistance in a project in the Soldiner Quartier, Berlin on critical architectural communication and seminar at the TU Berlin, Niche Berlin, Art & Architecture Tours
01/2015 – 09/2015 Student assistant to Prof. Dr. Dirk Schubert, HafenCity University Hamburg, Department of Housing and Urban Development
01/2014 – 09/2015 Student assistant to Prof. Dr. Gernot Grabher, HafenCity University Hamburg, Department of Urban and Regional Economics
04/2014 – 05/2014 Documentation of the workshop “Participation in Integrated Urban District Development” for the Hamburg Authority for Urban Development and the Environment, Department of Integrated Urban District Development
Academic Education
10/2019-05/2024 Ph.D. in Sociology, Technische Universität Darmstadt and Spatial Planning, Universiteit Utrecht (Joint Degree)
10/2015 – 04/2019 M.Sc. in Urban Design, Technical University of Berlin
09/2016 – 04/2017 International Master in Urban Planning and Urban Studies (Erasmus Studies), Research Track, École d’Urbanisme de Paris
10/2011 – 09/2015 B.A. Kultur der Metropole, one year specialization in Urban Planning, HafenCity University Hamburg
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2024 Lack of housing or ‘dwelling paradox’? Housing, social norms, and commodification of infrastructure as sites of unhoused persons’ struggle for infrastructure access. Presentation on 8 March 2024 at the workshop “Homeless, helpless, hopeless? Taking Stock of (Un)successful Approaches to End Homelessness in Advanced Democracies” at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.
2024 Kostenloser Nahverkehr für wohnungslose Menschen – Entkriminalisierung und Teilhabe
[Fare-free public transport for unhoused persons—decriminalization and participation]. Workshop on 24 February 2024 at the conference „Fragile Behausungen. Prekäres Wohnen & Wohnungslosigkeit in Zeiten multipler Krisen“ at the Technische Hochschule Nürnberg (Co-Organization).
2023 Ein Auge zudrücken. Illegalisierung, Willkür und Aushandlung im Kontext der Infrastrukturpraktiken wohnungsloser Menschen in Berlin. Presentation on 19 April 2023 at the colloquium of the Netzwerk Kriminologie [network criminology] at Freie Universität Berlin. Mehr erfahren
2022 Der Körper als Daueraufgabe: Infrastrukturpraktiken wohnungsloser Menschen in Berlin zwischen täglichem Ringen um Zugänge und körperlich-sozialen Folgen. Presentation on 29 September 2022 at the congress of the German Sociological Association (DGS) in Bielefeld. Mehr erfahren
2022 Covid-19 as a crisis of access: Infrastructure practices of unhoused persons in Berlin during the pandemic. Presentation on 26 August 2022 at the RC21 conference in Athens. Mehr erfahren
2022 Urban Circulations, Virtual conference of the research training group KRITIS on June 23, 2022. Co-Organizer. Mehr erfahren
2021 Staying under Bridges, Negotiating Barriers: Infrastructure Practices of Unhoused Berliners between Socio-Spatial Exclusion and Spaces of Care and Support. Presentation on 23 September 2021 at the Sixth Annual Conference of the SFB 1199, Leipzig University – Making Space Through Infrastructures: Visions, Technologies and Tensions.Mehr erfahren
2021 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” of the Network on Infrastructural Regionalism in the Regional Studies Association. Mehr erfahren
2021 Zeitlichkeit begrenzter Zugänge: Zeitaspekte der Infrastrukturpraktiken von Menschen ohne dauerhafte Unterkunft. Presentation on 11 May 2021 at the virtual conference „Temporalität von (Transport-) Infrastrukturen“ of the research training group KRITIS. Mehr erfahren (opens in new tab)

German Sociological Association (DGS)