Foto: 4th Life Photography/

The IRS researches the interactions between social changes and the transformation of spaces. Its research focuses on people as social actors, who reflect on their environment and actively shape it, and on their practices. The IRS analyses how people initiate collective action to develop villages, cities and regions together. In this way, the IRS contributes to the understanding of current problems, their social and economic drivers including their historical roots, as well as corresponding solution strategies.

The IRS provides impulses for the sustainable development of villages, cities and regions and for the alleviation of socio-spatial inequality. It advises actors from politics and civil society - from the municipal to the national to the European level - on the introduction of new social practices.

With the Scientific Collections for the History of Building and Planning in the GDR, the IRS operates a research infrastructure that is also in international demand and uses it for its own research.

Research and knowledge transfer at the IRS are based on the interdisciplinary expertise of its approximately 50 researchers in economic and social geography, political sciences, social sciences, planning sciences, historical sciences as well as art history and architecture history.

As a non-university research institute and member of the Leibniz Association the IRS is scientifically independent. The basic funding is made by grants from the federal state of Brandenburg together with the federal government and the governments of the other fedral states. The IRS is perceiving its statutory tasks under private law in the legal form of a registered association.