Field of Research: Urban Society

As an area of study, urban society refers to the positioning of planners within processes of construction, design, and participation, and addresses spatial disadvantages, peripheries, and the spatial demands and requirements of marginalized groups in the city (such as groups with lower chances of access to education and skilled work) as rigorously as those of the majority society (including the urban middle classes, different urban milieus, newcomers to education, etc.).

In addition to the planned, built, and designed housing patterns and their multiple effects on social activity, constitutive spatial characteristics of social action also come to the foreground/forward: at the micro-level, processes of (development) planning, planning by grassroots collectives (e.g. NGOs and other actors in civil society and associations, etc.), all have a role, along with sociological and socio-spatial views of public space design processes.

At the meso-level, we treat the link between the individual (micro-level) and institutions in various fields of relevance (work, family, politics, school, leisure, culture, housing, etc.), as well as the link between the state, the economy, and civil society (e.g. through trade unions, NGOs, churches, and associations). On the macro level, socio-political, technical, and political aspects of urban planning and urban design and their historical transformation are also discussed.

As areas of study oriented to design and architecture, affording a differentiated perspective of the multifaceted needs, habits/modes of living, and everyday practices of very different social groups in the city, they mediate planning and ethical considerations for potential approaches to a negotiated approach of planning and design to the city, as a collective social actor.

Approaches rooted in the sociology of innovations and of organizations are also engaged in order to further advance research on social innovations, especially with regard to city administrations as innovative actors. It is the task of the study of urban society to conceive (active) theoretical concepts of space, together with practice-oriented approaches to urban design, as fields of action that are methodologically structured and characterized by variously valued spatial development in the city.

Demographic traits and features of settlement patterns are elements discussed by the spatial-sociological discourse on the city, along with the topics of mobility and environmental behaviour.