Research and Consulting - ISRA

Guiding principles of all research and consulting activities of the Center of Sociology (ISRA) are describing, understanding of and explaining the interplay between society and space. Emergence and change of socio-spatial and political-spatial structures and processes in different spatial entities receive equal attention as the interaction between socio-spatial and built environments. Spatial, social, political and cultural developments in cities, city regions, metro regions, and rural regions are understood as a product of macro-processes, structures, and group specific perceptions, interpretations, assessments and patterns of behavior.

Analysis and interpretation of these socio-spatial structures and processes is action-oriented. In both research and consulting activities we develop recommendations for action for a variety of actors, especially for actors in the wide field of architecture and planning. Our action orientation is reflected in the multi-faceted output of the research and consulting activities, reaching from the development to the implementation of strategies, policies and general principles for spatial planning to the development of institutional designs for planning related structures and processes. Generally, we argue for the necessity of understanding and integrating social contexts in design and use (or appropriation) of space as well as for understanding of spatial design as a social process.

Research principles follow three pillars:

  • Interdisciplinarity: project and topic related integration of different scientific disciplines (in our centre we cover: sociology, economics, urban and regional planning, human geography, ethnography)
  • Multi-methods approach: application of different qualitative and quantitative methods in social sciences and their integration in multi-methods-research designs
  • Transdisciplinarity: the starting point of our research problems and challenges of society and ‘Lebenswelt’, which are analyzed by integrating scientific and applied knowledge

Socio-spatial research of the Centre of Sociology currently focuses on the following thematic areas:

  • Social Inequality
  • Neighbourhood development
  • (Urban) Governance
  • Technics and society