Robert Vief

C04: The World Down My Street

Research Associate

Humboldt-Universität Berlin
Ziegelstr. 13c
10117 Berlin

Room: 315


  • since 05/2018

    Ph.D. research fellow at the Department of Urban and Regional Sociology, Institute of Social Sciences, Humboldt-University Berlin.

  • 10/2015 - 04/2018

    Master of Arts, Social Sciences, Humboldt-University Berlin.

  • 01/2017 - 05/2017

    Data fellow at Community Affairs Unit, New York City

  • 08/2016 - 05/2017

    Visiting student in the Ph.D. program, Sociology & Poitical Sciences, Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY)

  • 2013 - 2016

    Tutor at the Department of Empirical Social Research, Humboldt-University Berlin.

  • 2013 - 2016

    Student assistant in research and teaching Deaprtment of Urban and Regional Sociology, Humboldt-University Berlin.

  • 10/2011 - 09/2015

    Bachelor of Arts, Social Sciences, Humboldt-University Berlin.

  • Grants and scholarships:

  • 01/2017 - 05/2017

    Fellowship, Graduate Center, City University of New York

  • 2016 - 2018

    Fellow of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (“Studienstiftung des deut-schen Volkes”)

Research Focus

    • migration and integration in the city

    • neighborhood effects

    • intersection of school & residential segregation

    • resources‘ use in the city

    • access to education and schools in the city


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.


  • Conference papers

    • “Stacking the Odds: The Intersection of Neighborhood and School Segregation for New York City Schools”, April 2018, New York City: American Educational Research Association (AERA) – mit Sophia Catsambis

  • Conference presentations

    • “Breaking up the Ground: Fluidity and Boundedness in Social Networks of Support”, September 2019, Neu-Delhi: Research Committee 21 of the International Sociological Association (RC21) – with Daniela Krüger, Henrik Schultze & Talja Blokland

    • “Profits of Trans/locality? Spatial Segregation and Practices of Organizing Resources in Times of Translocal Mobility and Communication”, August 2019, Manchester: European Sociological Association (ESA) – with Daniela Krüger, Henrik Schultze & Talja Blokland

    • “Trans/local: Spatial Variability within Ego-Centered Social Support Networks”, July 2019, Zagreb: European Survey Research Association (ESRA) – with Henrik Schultze & Daniela Krüger

    • “Taking Urbanity Beyond Place: Thoughts on Translocal Networks, Space, and Research Methods”, February 2019, Berlin: Re-Figuration of Spaces: Mediatization, Mobility, Globalization and Social Dislocation (First International Conference of the SFB 1265) – with Henrik Schultze, Daniela Krüger & Talja Blokland