Academic activities are concentrated on the analysis, modelling and evaluation of urban and regional structures and developments. The core of the work consists in research on the relationships of cause and effect, also on an analysis of the driving forces behind regional development processes. This analytical and systematic approach fosters not only theory-based empirical research, but also and especially the conception of strategies for controlling regional development and for gauging the effects of concrete action. Consequently, the results of research in this study course foster not only the understanding of urban and regional development, but above all serve as a basis for the strategic counselling of the region-designing protagonists/agents (private and [semi-] public decision-makers, planning institutions, investors, …), and for the assessment of planning alternatives.
The staff of the centre are integrated into scientific networks on spatial planning and regional science and work together with research and project partners from academe and private industry, also from planning administrations. Research and studies are aligned in the academic tradition of Regional Science, which describes regional developments based on approaches relating in the environment to economic, sociological and geographical theories. The methodology of theory-based research is characterised by a multi-level approach and relational understanding of space; also by the use of quantitative and qualitative methods and the establishment of indicators for describing complex spatial situations. The Geographical Information Systems play a fundamental role in visualising and analysing spatial structures and processes.
The main tasks and goals of the centre consist in
- systematic processing of theoretical and methodical groundwork in regional science and further development of it by independent scientific works (theses, projects),
- explaining current trends in urban and regional development and identifying the corresponding problems (focuses of research at present include: mobility, energy-related spatial planning, new technologies and the digitalised world, metropolisation and polycentricism, planning culture, migration/integration),
- critically questioning transformation processes, also concepts of sustainability, smart city and resilience in spatial development,
- demonstrating action alternatives for concrete planning measures and hence supplying concrete decision-making assistance for public (communal, regional, national, and European planning departments) and private protagonists/agents (firms, investors, NGSs, interest groups, civil society, …),
- comprehending studies as a permanent, research-based process and causing current results from research to flow into lectures, exercises and seminars.