Dipl.-Ing. (Arq.) M.Sc. Helena Cermeno

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin I Fachgebiet Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie

Gottschalkstraße 22
34127 Kassel
Gottschalk 22, Raum 2105

nach Vereinbarung (Anmeldung bitte per Mail)


Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin
Fachgebiet Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie

seit 10.2016   

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin  | Institut für urbane Entwicklungen der Universität Kassel | Fachgebiet Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie


Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft  | Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC)

2013 - 2016

Junior Researcher  | Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung (ZEF) | Center for Development Research | Department of Political and Cultural Change | Universität Bonn


M. Sc. 'Technology and Resources management in the tropics and subtropics' | Thesis: Climate Change Risk Perception and Adaptation Strategies in Central Vietnam: Interlinkages between Climate Change risk Management and Spatial Planning in Danang and Quang Nam Province | Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

2011- 2013

Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft  | Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung (ZEF) | Universität Bonn


Angestellte  | Architekturbüro Rosauer, Finkenweg 39a; 53773 Hennef-Uckerath


Architektur + Stadtplanung (Licenciatura, Spanien; eq. Dipl.-Ing. Deutschland) | Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (ETSAM) | Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Spanien. Thesis: Sustainable and affordable housing and facilities in Vadaj, Ahmedabad, India. Betreuer: Juan Herreros


  • Sharing Practices and Urban Commons
  • Acess to Housing and services
  • Social Inclusion and Exclusion
  • Urban Heritage
  • Urban Governance, Urbanization and Development
  • Knowledge Practices and Qualitative Research Methods

Access to the city: urban governance practices, housing, services and resulting processes of social inclusion and exclusion in Amritsar and Lahore


The research is focused in the Punjab area, at both sides of the India-Pakistan border, in the cities of Amritsar and Lahore. For their vicinity and common past, Amritsar and Lahore, provide a sort of ‘laboratory’ conditions for empirical cross-case study analysis and an occasion to research on urban and social change from both sides of the almost sealed border. Within the frame of urban governance this research looks specifically at housing and services. Housing has long been researched under a ‘rights’ perspective, and in so doing has often enough failed to provide a comprehensible approach to the practices that determine the ability of city inhabitants to ‘access’ (get, control, maintain) housing and services. Drawing on the conceptualization of access by Ribot and Peluso (2003, 2020), which refers to it as: the ‘ability’ to derive benefits from things, including material objects, persons, institutions, and symbols, this research focus on access to housing and services and the city space at large, seeing access as a ‘bundle of powers’ rather than a ‘bundle of rights’. An access approach enables the conceptualization of inequalities in terms of access to resources and guides the researcher into looking at practices by which actors gain, control and maintain these resources and the power relations underlying these practices. Assemblage-thinking, as an empirical and methodological orientation, facilitates the investigation of so far neglected dimensions of urban processes while posing questions regarding human/non-human interfaces, networked interdependencies and the production of socio-material infrastructures. Against this backdrop the research investigates through which practices of urban governance between different actors do residents access housing and services in contemporary cities of Amritsar and Lahore, and what are the resulting processes of social inclusion/exclusion in Amritsar and Lahore.

Cermeño, H.; Bretfeld N.; Bernhardt F. (2022) Knowledge Practices Within and Beyond Sharing and Commoning Urban Initiatives. In Frontiers in Sustainable Cities 4:767365. Available online at https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/frsc.2022.767365

Cermeño, H. (2021) Looking at the city from below: How ‘access’ approach and ‘city-scapes’ contribute to the understanding of marginalization in Amritsar, India. In N. Kirmani (Ed.) Marginalization, Contestation and Change in South Asian Cities. Karachi: Oxford University Press, Pages 56-84

Bernhardt F.; Cermeño, H., Keller C. and Koch F. (2021) Netzwerke des Teilens in Quartieren unter Spannung: Typen und Logiken des Teilens in innerstädtischen Nachbarschaften. In Gesellschaft unter Spannung, 40th Congress of the German Sociological Association (GSA)

Mielke, K. and Cermeño, H. (2021) Mitigating Pro-poor Housing Failures: Access Theory and the Politics of Urban Governance. In Politics and Governance, Volume 9, Issue 2, Pages 439–450, DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v9i2.4113

Cermeño, H. (2021) Living and Planning on the Edge: Unravelling Conflict and Claim-Making in Peri-Urban Lahore, Pakistan. In Urban Planning, Volume 6, Issue 2, Pages 189-201, DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v6i2.3858

Cermeño, H. and Baldewein T. (2021) Digitale-Konferenzen in der Stadtplanung: Fachtagungen im digitalen Raum als Chance für die Entwicklung inklusiver, kreativer und resilienter Lernformate. In RaumPlanung Volume 210, Issue 1, Pages 66-72

Bernhardt F.; Cermeño, H., Keller C.and Koch F. (2020) Stadtmachen durch StadtTeilen: Typen und Logiken des Teilens in innerstädtischen Nachbarschaften. In Forum Wohnen und Stadtentwicklung (Zeitschrift des vhw – Bundesverband für Wohnen und Stadtentwicklung e.V.), Pages 123-127

Cermeño, H. (2019) Heritage of inclusion or exclusion? Contested claims and access to housing in Amritsar, India. In M. Ristic and Frank, S. (Eds.) Urban Heritage in Divided Cities. Abingdon, Oxon, New York, Routledge, Pages 125–144

Cermeño, H. and Mielke, K. (2016) Cityscapes of Lahore: Reimagining the Urban. In THAAP Journal, Issue 2016, Pages 110-139

Barrera, A. and Cermeño, H. (2012) OPPTA Intervenciones para la emergencia - Emergency Interventions (OPPTA Context, winner projects). In: AV. Proyectos, Volume 53, Pages 20-21

Cermeño, H.; Jüssen, J.and Reynolds, C. (2012) The Nexus of Conflict and Migration in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan Info, Issue 71, Pages 16-18

Álvarez, E.; Calatrava, B.; Cermeño, H.; García de Blas, M.A.; González, D.; Sastre, M.J. and Sevillano, E. (2010)Asentamientos Precarios en África ¿Existen Alternativas? Informe de la Fundación CEAR Habitáfrica, Pages 49

Fernández, B.; Morán T.; Barrera, A. and Cermeño H.; (2009) Entrevista con Yatin Pandya. In ‘Arquitectos sin recursos’ Revista del Consejo Superior de Colegios de arquitectura de España (CSCAE), Volume 1, Issue 186, Pages 42-45

Garam Masala [Collective of Architects and Planners; Cermeño, H. as co-author and co-editor within the collective] (Eds.) (2009)HABITA-INHABIT INDIA’, Madrid: Mairea, Pg. 355 (ISBN - 52551988)



"Living and Planning on the Edge: Unravelling Conflict and Claim-making in Peri-urban Lahore", GAA ‘Best article'  |  GERD ALBERS AWARDS 2021  |  Presentation of the awarded paper at the 57th World Planning Congress of the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP): "Planning Unlocked: New Times, Better Places, Stronger Communities" | Doha, Qatar (Online) October 28-29 and November 8-11, 2021.


“Figurations of Social Innovation and Knowledge Sharing: An exploration of Urban Initiative Networks in Kassel, Stuttgart, and Berlin”  |   Presentation held together with Nada Bretfeld in the RC21 Conference: “Sensing the City | Place, People, Power”, July 14-16, 2021,  session: PS122 “BOTTOM-UP URBANISM: Growing Social Policy from the Grassroots Upward and Across Scales”. Antwerp, Belgium (Online)


"The role of the Amritsar Improvement Trust in Affordable Housing: Social Mix and Practices of Inclusion and Exclusion"  |  Presentation held in the IV ISA Forum of Sociology (February 23-27, 2021) organized in Vista Alegre, Brazil / Online, within the RC43 Housing and Built Environment Session: The Role of Real Estate Developers in Affordable Housing - Boon or Bane.


Tracing cognitive maps of everyday urbanism: Cityscapes as imaginaries and enacted everyday practices”  |  Presentation held in the III Mid-Term Conference of the Urban Sociology Research Network 37 of the European Sociological Association (ESA) (27-29th June 2018), at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain.


Living on the Edge: Conflict and claims-making over resources in the peri-urban fringe of Lahore”  |  Presentation held in the International Conference: “Claims Making” organized within the framework of the Young South Asia Scholars Meet (Y-SASM) (15-17th June 2018) at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.


“Processes of inclusion and exclusion within the urban development and improvement of the Lahore’s Androon Shehr”  |  Presentation held in the Conference: “Inclusion and Exclusion - New Perspectives in History and Sociology” (5-7th July 2018) within the framework of the 10th Annual Seminar of the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS), Germany.


"The Politics of Urban Heritage: Access to urban resources, distributive conflict and allocative (in)justice in Old Lahore"  |  Presentation held in the Annual RC21 Conference: “Rethinking Urban Global Justice: An international academic conference for critical urban studies”; Panel 70: Disputes in the Urban Territory, Groups of Interests, Distributive Conflict, and Injustice in Cities Budgeting (11-13th September 2017), at Leeds University, England.


"Access assemblages: a comparative research of two mohallas under the Walled City of Lahore Improvement Project"  |  Presentation held in the 5th International Crossroads Asia Conference: "Area Studies' Futures" (22-23rd September 2016) at the Center for Development research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany


"Looking at the city from below: Cityscapes of Amritsar, India"  |  Presentation held in 10th Annual LUMS HSS conference: "Urbanism, exclusion and change in South Asia" (04-06th March 2016) at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan.


"Lahore Cityscapes: Reimagining the urban"  |  Presentation held in THAAP 6th International Conference 2015: "People’s history of Pakistan" (06-08th  November 2015) at THAAP (Trust for History Art & Architecture, Pakistan), in Lahore, Pakistan.


Emergencia y desarrollo urbano en la región del Canal del Dique, San Cristóbal, Colombia"  |  Presentation held within the conference organized by the ADLAF Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutsche Lateinamerika-forschung, Nachwuchstagung, (17th May 2013) at Cologne University, Germany.


"Urban Development in Borderlands" in “Asian Ecologies”  |  Presentation held in the International Conference, Panel Session VIII: Urban Ecologies (06th April 2013) at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan.


2021 2022

ProSHARE -  Enhancing Diversity, Inclusion and Social Cohesion through Practices of Sharing in Housing and Public Space - Funded under the JPI Urban Migration Call, Urban Europe.

2018 2022

StadtTeilen - Öffentlicher Raum und Wohnen als neue Gemeingüter in sozial gemischten Nachbarschaften - Funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung


ISOCARP International Society of City and Regional Planners
ISAInternational Sociological Association
ESA European Sociological Association
RC21(ISA) Research Committee  -  Urban and Regional Development
RN37(ESA) Research Network -  Urban Sociology
ACHS Assotiation of Critical Heritage Studies 
COAMChamber of Architects (and Urban Planners), Madrid, Spain