Working Group
“Urban and Regional Research”

The research activities brought together by the working group “Urban and Regional Research” are all concerned with societal space and are based on sociological, juridical and economic expertise. They aim at the generation of knowledge for a sustainable treatment of natural, social, and architectonic resources and potentials. Great value is attached to the applicability of results of the research.

The working group's different projects start off from a specific problem as to how to deal with spatial structures and processes. By means of case studies focussing on this problem's social, juridical and economic aspects they gain insights into both space-related problems in general and the chances and means of controlling the creation and use of societal space.

Currently, research work is mainly oriented on the challenging need for a sustainable urban restructuring due to a decrease in population and to demographic change (which is a major problem in East Germany). Here, in order to contribute to the enhancement of environmental qualities towns and cities can offer to their inhabitants, major focus is put on the issues of land use management and “recycling” of urban brownfields. Because the growing “under-utilization” of inner city areas which coincides with an increase of urban sprawl is an urgent problem of urban development to be tackled. In detail, the following themes are being worked on:
  • Patterns of social-spatial development,
  • Urban decline and the problem of vacant dwellings and offices,
  • Urban sprawl,
  • Expectations and demands as to housing,
  • Re-cultivation of heavily impacted i.e. devastated landscapes,
  • Images of nature and attitudes towards the natural environment and
  • Environment and health.

Within the UFZ, the working group co-operates mainly with the departments Computational Landscape Ecology and Human Exposure Research and Epidemiology.

Besides, close co-operative links do exist with external partners, in particular with other research institutes concerned with regional research and spatial development in Germany, Europe, and overseas.