Research topics

For the working group Regional Sciences / Applied Human Geography the three terms space, communication and intervention form the coordinate system in which the research and teaching areas of the working group can be classified.

With regard to the concept of space, a constructivist understanding of space is assumed, in which spaces and regions are understood as the result of social construction processes.

Communication is understood as the central mode of operation of society, through which spatial semantics are also produced. These spatial semantics or everyday regionalizations also have an orienting and structuring character in modern society.

Since the working group is particularly concerned with applied teaching and research, communications on spatial interventions and their societal effects as objects and analytical perspectives are of particular relevance.

Due to the applied research orientation, the regional and local authorities are important cooperation partners for the acquisition of third-party funding projects at different scale levels.

On the basis of this basic orientation, the working group Applied Human Geography / Regional Sciences deals with the following fields of work:

Urban Studies

At the centre of this field of work is the semantics of the city and its manifold communicative charges, e.g. as an observation and demarcation category, as an orientation aid, as an intervention platform. For the working group, this results in various analytical perspectives. In addition to dealing with urban communication patterns, rules and paths and their classification in social contexts, the focus is on urban interventions in particular. Within the framework of urban governance discourse and against the background of a constructivist understanding, the critical examination and further development of intervention methods, instruments and programmes is at stake. Important knowledge of the working group's milieu results from a wide range of cooperation and political consulting activities. These include network work, reflection activities, process moderation and participation and activation measures.

(In-)security, risk and space

Spaces, regions and thus ultimately spatial semantics are always also crystallization points, media or objects that are associated with (in)securities or risks or occur in communicative contexts of (in)securities or risks. Spatial (in)securities and risks, which are taken into focus by the working group, can be constituted, e.g., by:

  • crime, everyday irritations or forms of violent conflict (warlike conflicts),
  • social uncertainties and problems (e.g. migration, demographic change, unemployment) affecting society as a whole, and finally
  • ecological risks and hazards (environmental and geo risks).

In this field of research, the question complex is investigated how and with which consequences these connections between (un)security, risk and space are constituted, how to deal with (un)secure spatial semantics, and finally to what extent spatial semantic (un)security is dealt with in the form of interventions. In this field of work, the mass media occupy a prominent position as carriers of information and communication.

Tourist space semantics and tourism spaces

Especially in the tourism economy, spatial semantics and spatial images are very often used. These semantics and images serve both the external representation and orientation of tourist target groups as well as the self-representation of tourism organisations and tourist image producers. For these reasons in particular, spatial semantics or spatial abstractions are sometimes produced and marketed very professionally and memorably in the tourism industry. The content and organisational aspects of the production of spatial semantics, their mediation and orientation in the context of self- and external perception as well as the effects and effects of interventions are the focus of this field of work.

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