The center of sociology (ISRA) is the social scientific hub of the faculty of architecture and planning at Vienna University of Technology. The staff of the center of sociology consist of experts in general sociology, urban and regional sociology, geography, economics, urbanistics, as well as urban and spatial planning.
Our main focus in research and teaching is the analysis and communication of social relations on the spatial micro, meso and macro levels. For the production of space and the comprehension of that process it is a necessity to identify and if needed to influence the spatial needs of the people. A main aspect is the usage of public spaces.
Understanding the usage of space
The complex cause and effect relations of different social groups regarding the usage and production of space are grounded in the different needs and desires of those groups. Those needs and desires have to be perceived and categorized on a scientific level, so that measures and concepts can be applied on a spatial level.
Social processes are always embedded in a spatial and temporal frame of reference
In the context of the engineering focused spatial planning studies, the center of sociology is pointing out, that social processes have to be understood in their spatial and historical background. That implicates, that associated institutional and individual constellations play an important role in the production and reproduction of social space. Simultaneously architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning should not only be seen as an individual scientific and artistic product, but rather in the framework of the social context.
To understand the structures and processes of the social space, the methodological approach of the social space analysis is necessary
Social processes cannot be described in detail by official statistics. This means, that the systematic gathering of further information about the spatial figuration is needed. To fulfill this task the center of sociology uses a broad toolkit of qualitative and quantitative methods. The tasks we are facing not only require the unbiased methods of the social sciences, but also – especially in the field of architecture and planning – methods of action research, particularly participatory practices. In that context professional communication is highly relevant.