Spatial planning includes not only instruments and processes from legally binding planning, but also informal development strategies with financial and other incentives. Both dimensions of this spatial and, in particular, supra-local planning and development as well as their linkage are the focus of research and teaching in the department of Regional Planning and Development. Understanding their models of operation and effectiveness, demands and taking current trends and regulatory frameworks into consideration are important research areas.
The key areas of research and teaching in the department of regional planning and development include:
- Integration of environmental themes in spatial planning,
- Changes in planning – new governance forms, and
- Empirical studies of spatial planning and development.
Integration of environmental themes in spatial planning
Sustainable development is the leading issue of our time. The complex structures and processes of the ecological, social and economic systems require complex and multi-perspective reflection in planning. Accordingly, environmental aspects must be integrated in spatial planning- both theoretical concepts and practical applications. In particular, aspects of climate change, biodiversity, water management, and health are included. Governance analyses, environmental information systems and environmental tests are the focus of research and teaching.
Changes in planning – New governance forms
A changed perception of the state corresponds with a change in planning, which often expressed through new governance forms. Spatial forms of governance in all relevant scales are studied. The focus is on the stakeholders and the processes and accordingly changes in planning theory and planning culture. Planning instruments and organization structure, which promote the integration of public and private sector commitments in spatial planning are examined. In particular, the requirements of a civil society are taken into account.
Empirical studies of spatial planning and development
Spatial structures are products and terms of social actions. Thus, social, demographical, economic and cultural frameworks and how they change in small-spatial differentiation are important to examine, understand and explain. By this means, the spatial design potential and effectiveness of spatial planning and regional development strategies can be estimated better.