The Center of Sociology (ISRA) is the social scientific hub of the Faculty of Architecture and Planning at TU Wien. The staff of the center of sociology consists of experts in general sociology, urban and regional sociology, human 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 micro, meso and macro levels of space. Designing public space (e.g. streets, squares, neighborhoods, etc.) or providing and understanding the frame for spatial design and planning requires a thorough conceptual understanding of space itself.
For the production of space and the comprehension of that process it is a necessity to identify and influence the spatial needs of the people, if indicated. A main aspect is the usage of public spaces.
Identify, Understand and Classify Spatial Behavior
Relations between cause and effect regarding spatial use of various social groups are complex and articulate differing interests. Thus, behavior and interests need to be scientifically identified, explained and considered before providing and implementing a tailored, sustainable set of measures for each socio-spatial entity.
Social Processes are Always Embedded in a Spatial and Temporal Frame of Reference
Social processes need to be understood in their spatial and temporal dimension (contrary to understandings in natural and technical sciences). This relation is persistently highlighted by the Centre of Sociology in the context of technical understanding of the ‘Spatial Planning’-program. Institutional and individual constellations thus have a particular import in the production and reproduction of social space. Architecture, landscape planning and urban planning need to be understood as more than a result of individual artistic effort, and have to be reconnected to the respective societal context of its production.
Understanding Socio-Spatial Structures and Processes Requires a Specific Methodological Approach: Analysis of Social Space
Describing social processes merely by official statistics often is insufficient. A further systematic collection of data on the spatial figuration is imperative. The Centre of Sociology therefore combines appropriate quantitative and qualitative methods of empirical social research. Today’s tasks of social sciences call for action research, and especially participatory methods rather than confining to a neutral analysis of socio-spatial figuration. Especially in connection to the fields of architecture, urban and spatial planning action research and participation are important. In this context professional communication is particularly relevant.