Focus Areas

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Our research activities are based on different perspectives on the design of spatial processes. Four focus areas provide space for questions strongly related to planning practice – for basic research as well as for interdisciplinary cooperation projects.

Effective methods and instruments

Advancing the toolbox for spatial management and planning

Effective methods and instruments are essential to successfully steer spatial processes and planning tasks. Significantly influenced by the evolving challenges of urban development, these are subject to ongoing adjustment and optimisation. Digital transformation provides new impulses for methods and instruments and, at the same time, fundamentally changes the nature, scope and speed by which urban and regional systems are governed. All the while, these processes must be reflected upon critically. Planning practice shows high demand for scientific reflection, monitoring and evaluation of current methods, instruments and processes. At the same time, method and process research are central objects of basic research.

Projects by the chair that deal with methods and instruments:
IBA Basel
LOB – Local Politics and Participation
Aachen's strategic concept for housing development
Digital Citymaking
Building Culture Instant

Housing and urban development

Linking basic needs, diversity and interaction in space

Living is a basic existential function, housing an essential component of urban development and design. Housing demands are becoming more and more differentiated, while housing is an increasingly scarce commodity in many urban regions – individual freedom of choice is dwindling. Housing is integrated into complex market processes and comprehensive sovereign regulations. Housing is a core competence of the Faculty of Architecture, and the need for research at the interface of housing and urban development remains high.

Projects and formats worked on by the chair that deal with housing and urban development are:
Making of Housing
Project District4
New Urban Quarters
20 Years of the Socially Integrative City
Publikation 'Wohnen jenseits des Standards' (german)

Urban value chains

Understanding and shaping spatial functions and drivers

The chair designs, organizes and moderates the interface between functional relations and drivers of urban spaces and spatial and organizational issues on a regional to transnational scale. Key topics for sustainable urban regions such as mobility, health or digital transformation are explored along their value chains in space as well as tested and evaluated together with professional partners. Since these value chains are based on existing supply, structures and behavioral patterns, these future topics are closely linked to the task of transforming urban systems. The focus area is essentially based on transdisciplinary networking.

Projects worked on by the chair that deal with urban value chains are:
Project SAIL
MIA – Made in Aachen
KlimaNetze und KlimaNetze 2.0
Publikation 'Gewerbe und Stadt' (german)

Shaping Transformation

Exploring and testing paths to system changes

Beyond the tools of spatial management and planning available today, the fourth focus area looks at ways of transforming existing urban and regional structures and systems. In order to find and implement future solutions, methods and processes that trigger change are researched and explored. Competences on shaping and designing transformation need to be linked between disciplines: the conceptual and design competence at the Faculty of Architecture with competences in areas such as political science, sociology, psychology, organizational development, project and process management.

Projects that are worked on by the chair and that deal with transformation:
Transformation platform REVIERa
Graduate College 'Medium-Sized Cities as Co-Participation Cities'
Project ACademie
Pt Seminar