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Dr. Nicolas Zehner

Associate Researcher

Nicolas Zehner holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Edinburgh. He is now based at TU Berlin in the subproject "Locative Media II: New Spatial Realities between Conflict and Coexistence", which forms part of the Collaborative Research Center CRC 1265 "Re-Figuration of Spaces".

Conceptually rooted at the intersection of science and technology studies (STS) and urban studies, his research aims to shed light on the practice of city-making by investigating the relationship between scientific knowledge production and urban development. To this end, he engages with the following overarching research questions: Whose vision of the city is legitimised by data science and translated into the production of urban space, and what are the consequences? What understandings of the good are built into this mode of knowledge production? What are sites of scientific knowledge production and dissemination that (re)produce (data) science as an authoritative source of urban expertise?

Positions at Weizenbaum Institut

Associate Researcher, Research Group “Digitalization, Sustainability, and Participation

Former Research Fellow, Open Fellowship

Fields of research

Smart urbanism, urban-regional development, academic capitalism


Zehner, N. (2022) “The Civic University as a Key Agent in the Production of Urban Space” in: McGregor, C., Currie, M and Knox, J. (2022) “Data Justice and the Right to the City”, Edinburgh University Press.

Zehner, N (2019) Double book review of Göran Therborn (2017) Cities of Power. The Urban, the National, the Popular, the Global and Michael Sorkin (2018) What goes up. The Right and Wrongs to the City in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.

"Closes and Opens: A History of Edinburgh's Futures" A Edinburgh Futures Institute-sponsored movie about the history of Edinburgh's futures: produced, written and narrated by Liz McFall and AWED. The movie can be found here:

"The Armchair Sociologist- Before, After & Possible Futures of Covid-19" Guest appearance on "The Armchair Sociologist", discussing the role of futures in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The video can be found here:


Twitter: @Nicolas_Zehner

University of Edinburgh