Tobias Kuttler

mobil.LAB Fellow

Funded by the Hans-Böckler Foundation

Phone: +

Email: tobias.kuttler[at]  


Research Focus:

  • Urban and transportation development in the global south
  • Urban theory, postcolonial theory
  • Urban anthropology

PhD Project Description

Mobile Spaces and the Politics of Urban Sustainability and Inclusion in the Global South. Whose Commons are we talking about?

Recent transportation infrastructure development in the Global South has been oriented towards the needs of urban elites and middle classes (Graham and Marvin 2002), thereby excluding large parts of the urban population that walks or uses bicycles and self-organized, “informal” shared transportation. This is especially prevalent in countries such as India and South Africa with a history of colonialism and forced spatial segregation and marginalization of social groups. But everyday urban mobility is not only about movement and access to material resources. Particularly for the urban poor, the social, cultural and political functions and meanings of mobility are equally important. Urban mobility is a political space (Cresswell 2010), where access to the city is constantly renegotiated. It is also a space of sociality and community, of identity and belonging. Hence, shared rickshaws in Indian cities and minibus taxis in South Africa are not only part of transportation infrastructure. The affiliated associations, drivers and passengers build a social infrastructure around mobility through which they collaboratively resist against their exclusion and neoliberal urban development. Such an infrastructure reminds us of people as infrastructure, a “coherent platform for social transaction and livelihood” (Simone 2004). 

With the advent of ridesharing platforms like Uber, Ola and others in cities of the Global South, shared mobility is increasingly commodified and becoming a lifestyle product, addressing primarily the urban middle classes. While also being economic competitors, my PhD project particularly focuses on how new forms of shared mobility challenge locally embedded forms of transportation and their social, cultural and political meanings and functions. It aims to do so from a comparative urbanism perspective (McFarlane & Robinson 2012, Robinson 2016), by analysing how in Mumbai and Johannesburg shared rickshaws and minibus taxis are confronted with the introduction of digital ridesharing services. 


Since 3/2018 PhD fellow at the mobil.LAB Doctoral Research Group funded by the Hans Böckler Foundation
Since 7/2016 Research Associate at Berlin University of Technology, Department of Work and Technology, Mobilities Research Cluster
7/2016 – 12/2017 Research Associate at nexus Institute for Cooperation Management and Interdisciplinary Research, Berlin

Voluntary Activities

7/2015 – 3/2016 Freelancer in the project “EcoMobility World Festival 2015” in Johannesburg, South Africa, organized by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and the City of Johannesburg.
3/2015 – 7/2015 Research stay at Indo-German Centre for Sustainability, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute or Technology Madras, Chennai, India.
2/2014 – 12/2014 Student assistant at Technical University Berlin, Department of Work and Technology, in the project “Forschungscampus EUREF – Mobility2Grid”
08/2012 – 02/2013 Internship at ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability within the “EcoMobility World Festival 2013” in Suwon, South Korea
08/2012 – 02/2013 Internship and research visit in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India within the Megacities Project “Sustainable Hyderabad“ funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
07/2010 – 06/2012 Student assistant at Centre for Innovation in Mobility and Societal Change (InnoZ), work program Green Mobility, Berlin, Germany
2010 – 2016 Studies of Urban and Regional Planning in Master`s degree program, Technical University Berlin, Germany
02/2008 – 04/2008 Internship at German Aerospace Center, Institute of Transport Research, Department of Commercial Transport, Berlin, Germany
2006 – 2010 Studies of Geography and European Ethnology in Bachelor`s degree program (Bachelor of Arts), Humboldt University Berlin, Germany


Döge, N., Hegel, C., Jain, A., Kuttler, T. (2018): Das Dörpsmobil – Ein Modell fürs E-Carsharing im ländlichen Raum. In: PLANERIN 3/2018, 41-43

Contributions to: Otto-Zimmermann, K., Liao, C., Chiu, B. (2018): Going Green. Experiencing the Ecomobile Lifestyle. Berlin: Jovis Verlag. More:

Kuttler, T., Otto-Zimmermann, K., Zimmermann, T. (2016): Change the way you move. A central business district goes ecomobile. Jovis Verlag Berlin. More:

Kuttler, T., Jain, A. (2015):Defending space in a changing urban landscape – A study on urban commons in Hyderabad, India. In: Dellenbaugh, Mary, et al. (ed.): Urban Commons: Moving Beyond State and Market. Vol. 154. Birkhäuser, 2015. More:$002f430778

Contributions to: Otto-Zimmermann, K., Park, Y. (ed., 2015): Neighborhood in Motion - One neighborhood, one month, no cars. Berlin: Jovis Verlag. More:

Jain, A., Kuttler, T. (2014): Local Action in and on Urban Open Spaces of Hyderabad. In: Schinkel, U., Schröder, S., Jain, A., (ed.): Local Action and Participation. Lessons Learned from Participatory Projects and Action Research in Future Megacities. Buchreihe Future Megacities Volume 4, Berlin. More:

Kramer, S., Hoffmann, C., Kuttler, T., Hendzlik, M. (2013): Electric Car Sharing as an Integrated Part of Public Transport: Customers’ Needs and Experience. In: Hülsmann, M., Fornahl, D. (Hrsg.): Evolutionary Paths Towards the Mobility Patterns of the Future. Berlin Heidelberg, Springer Verlag: More:

Hoffmann, C., Graff, A., Kramer, S., Kuttler, T., Hendzlik, M., Scherf, C., & Wolter, F. (2012): Bewertung integrierter Mobilitätsdienste mit Elektrofahrzeugen aus Nutzerperspektive. Results of the project BeMobility–Berlin elektroMobil. InnoZ Baustein, 11. Download here:

Weiß, J., Neumann, A., Kramer, S., Bost, M., Kuttler, T. (2011): Erneuerbare Energien im Verkehr in Berlin-Brandenburg. Institut für ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung (IÖW), Berlin, 2011. Download here:

Dijks, S., Grafe, F.-J., Hampel, M., Jarass, J., Kuttler, T., Thylmann, M., Zimmermann, T. (2011): Generation Nachhaltigkeit: Wann, wenn nicht wir? Conference proceedings 2011, Berlin, Geography Department of Humboldt University Berlin. Download here: