Robert Vief (Former Members)

C04 : The World Down My Street

Research Associate

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Charlottenstraße 81 , Room 4.3.8.
10099 Berlin

Robert Vief is a Ph.D. research fellow at the Department of Urban and Regional Sociology at the Institute of Social Sciences, Humboldt-University of Berlin. He is writing his dissertation in the Collaborative Research Centre 1265 “Re-Figuration of Spaces”, subdivision C04 “The World Down My Street: Resources and Networks Used by City Dwellers" under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Talja Blokland. Furthermore, he is a member of the Georg-Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies (GSZ).


+49 (0)30 2093 - 66608


Research Focus

    • Neighborhood Effects

    • Intersection of School & Residential Segregation

    • Spatial Data / GIS

    • Covid19 and Resources’ Use in the City

    • (Unequal) Access to Education and Schools in the City

    • Social Networks and Their Spatial Dimension(s)


Workingtitle PhD Project: School choice as strategic place-based resource in Berlin. The interdependence between insti-tutional arrangements, pro-active parents and residential segregation pattern and its effect on social stratification in Berlin’s educational system.

Research interests: Schul- und Nachbarschaftssegregation, Nachbarschaftseffekte, Ressourcenzugänge in der Stadt

Abstract: Policy makers and school administrators often consider school segregation as an inevitable outcome of rising residential segregation and do not promote school desegregation policies to equalize school quality and educational opportunities. Evident from such arguments is the common assumption that school and residential segregation are practically identical. Sparse research exists about the imbalance between both phenomena.

This dissertation asks how school-neighborhood segregation gaps (SNSG) contribute to the stratification in the educational system. In a first step, it analyzes how specific segregational dynamics lead to the fact that schools in specific neighborhoods are in stronger imbalance to their neighborhoods’ characteristics than others. In a second step, it tries to unveil, on the one hand, how parents navigate the zoning system and limited school choice possibilities for Ber-lin’s elementary schools and, on the other hand, how schools and other relevant institutions shape SNSGs in specific neighborhood contexts. Finally, this work aims to answer the ques-tion through what kind of mechanisms the children in over- and under-concentrated schools are put at a (dis)advantage.

The dissertation follows a mixed-methods approach. I will use quantitative school data from the Senatsverwaltung für Bildung, Jugend und Familie, geospatial neighborhood data and survey data from representative surveys in four neighborhoods in Berlin – as well as quali-tative interviews with parents and school representatives from schools with strong SNSGs in Berlin.