Dr. Marlène de Saussure

"Cities are context, (co)producer and magnifying glass for the analysis of social phenomena all at once. Using foresight methods, we develop scenarios, transformation pathways and policy recommendations for a resilient future governance in urban areas – and beyond."

Focus of work

  • Urban Studies
  • Urban Governance
  • Architecture
  • Qualitative Research and Analysis Methods
  • Foresight
  • France
  • Postcolonial Theories

Curriculum vitae

Born and raised in Geneva, Dr. Marlène de Saussure received her PhD in Urban Studies from the Technical University of Berlin, Fordham University New York and the University of Toronto in the international graduate program "The World in The City" of the German Research Foundation. In her dissertation "Claiming Marseille Metropolis. A Diachronic Study on Urban Representation and Metropolitanism in (Post)Colonial Marseille, 1906 and 2013" (Summa Cum Laude), she specialized in the metropolization of urban-rural regions, urban governance, and the (post)colonial cultural history of Marseille. Previously, she completed her Master of Arts in Historical Urban Studies at the Technical University of Berlin and her Bachelor of Arts in History and Art History at the Humboldt University of Berlin.

As Head of Public Affairs and Strategy at the think tank Bauhaus Erde (Berlin/Potsdam), she oversaw relations with political and scientific representatives such as from the European Commission (EC), the Federal Ministries for the Environment (BMUV) and for Urban Development (BMWSB), as well as municipal governments and international universities. Previously, she was Head of Communications at the international architecture firm Henn (Berlin, Munich and Beijing), where she served as project and team lead. She gained further international professional experience as a researcher at the German Historical Institute in Paris and the BMBF-funding program "Female Academic Careers in Africa" in Dakar.

As scientific consultant at the Institute for Innovation and Technology, she has been conducting policy analyses and foresight studies for several German federal ministries and government bodies as well as the European Union since 2023. Always striving to link policy and academia, she simultaneously holds a teaching position as lecturer in the master's program "Historical Urban Studies" at the Center for Metropolitan Studies at the Technical University of Berlin.

Teaching assignments

  • Seminar and Field Trip “100 years Marseille – from colonial metropole to metropolitan region”, Technical University Berlin (2022/2023 and 2023/2024)
  • Seminar „Migration and Diversity in the (Post)Colonial City“, Technical University Berlin (2021/2022)


Misselwitz, Philipp; de Saussure, Marlène; Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim; et al. (2022): Für eine Wiederverflechtung: Eine Charta für Stadt und Erde, Rome: Bauhaus Erde, June 8, 2022.