Fields of Research / Technology & Society

Mobility / Energy / Smart City / ICT / Built Environment /


The Centre of Sociology’s research activities encompass the inter- and transdisciplinary research field of mobility. Our research focuses on current and future challenges of mobility in rural and urban areas. Traditional combinations of causes for mobility behavior, such as regional infrastructure and social position (‘soziale Lage’; income, age, etc.), are extended with a social milieu-concept, allowing to include value structures of individuals into mobility behavior research. Social scientific knowledge on mobility behavior is linked with concepts of urbanization, digital technology (IoT etc.), ecologization and mobility as a service (MaaS).

Typical questions in this field are:

  • How to measure, explain, and influence mobility behavior of different social groups?
  • How can urban living labs be designed to test mobility solutions with users? How to evaluate group-specific effects of mobility solutions in an urban living lab?
  • What are opportunities and challenges to society of new trends in mobility (e.g. sharing instead of owning, multimodality, automated and self-driving)?


Energy is a climate effective material resource and central to the provision of services of general interest. Technological advances and faster pace of life (working, living, mobility, leisure etc.) highlight the importance of energy to modern societies. The challenge of finite fossil energy resources and the related greenhouse gas emissions have been met mainly with technological advances (increase in efficiency). Increasing penetration of daily life with technology in combination with national and international targets for climate protection require profound processes of change, substantially challenging all households (change of behavior, avoidance of rebound effects).
Ongoing socio-economic differentiation of society bears the additional risk of insufficient energy provision to poor households (‘Energiearmut’ – energy poverty). As a result, technical energy solutions have to be analyzed and implemented in their particular socially differentiated context (social inequality) and in their respective spatial context (built environment, infrastructure, location, accessibility, etc.)

Typical questions in this field are:

  • How to explain diverging use of energy along social and socio-spatial differentiations?
  • What is the influence of physical space on energy consumption behavior?
  • Which assumptions can be developed to explain socially selective changes in energy consumption patterns?
  • How to achieve acceptance for energy efficiency measures with different social groups?
  • Which arguments and motivations promote and support sustainable energy consumption behavior in different social groups?
  • Which arguments and measures for energy saving motivate different social groups most effectively?
  • How to explain rebound effects socially differentiated?
  • What are the social effects of energy poverty (‘Energiearmut’)?

Smart City

in preparation


in preparation

Built Environment

Sociologically oriented approaches to science and knowledge expand the perspectives of urban and regional research.  Regarding forms and constellations of knowledge generation, new application possibilities are emerging in the field of architecture and spatial (environmental) planning. This involves a better understanding of development dynamics in the fields of science and technology, knowledge-economic decision-making processes, the changed value of knowledge, expectations of learning processes, routines and collective knowledge, conflicts and blockades for change. The exploration of science and technology development calls via a multi-level reflection for explanation and criticism of knowledge and technology, which also integrate methodically the context of everyday social life.