Urban Renewal, Neighborhood Management

Similar to inhabitants and users, urban and functional structures of a neighborhood/ a city age over time. Socio-cultural and economic changes further influence the character of a neighborhood, calling for a constant renewal of urban areas and settlements.
All renewal activities touch upon the daily lives and routines (‘Lebenswelten’) of inhabitants and users, each of them affected differently by changes along their specific and diverse demands and interests. Urban renewal thus is a field of planning with particular social responsibility.
Our work in this field focuses on a differentiated socio-spatial analysis of the networks and interdependencies of dynamically changing daily lives and routines (‘Lebenswelten’) and ageing urban and functional structures. The aim of our activities in urban renewal and neighborhood management is the development and implementation of participatory renewal strategies and socially oriented neighborhood management processes.

Socially Oriented Urban and Neighborhood Development

Urban development is subject to tensions between economic and technical possibilities on the one hand, and differentiated social and societal demands and opportunities for action. Research activities in this field are explicitly based on concepts and methodologies of social science, sociology and sociology of space. Analyzing the effects of changes to the spatial and functional setup of social structures, and processes of inclusion and exclusion and life quality of social groups is at the core of our activities. A critical reflection of the planning concepts, patterns of action and collaboration is essential.

Collaborative Planning

Collaborative planning is one of the key concepts of currently discussed communicative planning theories. As a result of the “new complexity” of social de- and re-structuring, formalized and sectorally organized control systems are increasingly under pressure to demonstrate legitimacy. In the researches in this field, especially the “diversity of social worlds, rationalities and practices”, as well as the “complexity of the power structure in the urban context” (Patsy Healey) are considered. In an interdisciplinary approach, new strategies and methods are developed for the field of action of planning as a social learning process. If these methods are strategically anchored locally or regionally (learning cities and regions), new social resources can be “generated”. (topographies of knowledge)


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Participation, understood as an approach in planning practice as well as a strategic implementation in research and consulting, explicitly aims at the analysis and further development of regulated forms of information, consultation and participation in planning processes.

A critical analysis of the framework conditions and modes of the organizational framework, the forms of action and process structures, the institutions and the actors involved, is essential to develop and implement suitable formal and informal “method sets” and differentiated communication strategies for concrete planning projects.