Dani Haudenschild


University of Kassel (UKS, Germany)

Research Cluster

Partnerships in development cooperation - Accountability of development organisations towards beneficiaries or project affected persons


PhD Project Title

Paving the Earth: Autobahn Infrastructure Development in Hessen, Germany


In the fall of 2020, the environmental conflict surrounding the planned construction of the Autobahn A49 in north Hessen, Germany intensified when activists assembled a forest occupation and a protest camp to support the long-standing local citizen initiatives against the project. The opponents have raised concerns over the planned mega-infrastructure project that cuts through forests, nature protection areas, and a protected drinking water zones for 500,000 people.

At the same time, rural communities along the transport corridor currently suffer from high levels of traffic and pollution, which negatively affect their well-being. The planned Autobahn A49 involves a complex arrangement of government, corporate, and other actors promising to resolve local pollution and traffic issues, increase mobility for rural areas, and bring economic benefits for local industries.

In this context, I aim to empirically unravel the social and environmental implications of the Autobahn A49, which concerns a spectrum of political (re)actions ‘from below’ and ‘from above.’ I employ for my research a political ecology and a post-development perspective to study aspects of infrastructure development and the multi-faceted environmental conflict. The ethnographic research approach attempts to contribute to a better understanding of political processes and practices. I argue that the case of the A49 exemplifies a broader resistance against mega-infrastructure projects in the global North and shares similar yet different characteristics of a development project.

Educational Background


  • 2021: Full PhD Scholarship from Hans-Böckler Foundation
  • 2020: DAAD STIBET for research assistance, University of Kassel
  • 2019: IDleaks Award for best Master Thesis on the representation of the Global South