The research department focuses on communicative action and knowledge processes in spatial transformations. It examines how communicative action facilitates the emergence and dissemination of new spatial knowledge, social processes and material configurations of space. The current fields of work in the department include: spatial transformations by innovative processes in structurally weak areas; by digitalisation processes in the context of urban planning and design as well as by processes of climate change adaptation in cities and regions.
With regard to structurally weak areas, the department examines how innovative ideas, practices and projects of spatial development emerge, become established and spread. These ideas, practices and projects are also referred to as "social innovations". In this context, attention is given to the innovation-driven communicative action of local policymakers, public authorities, civil society actors, and social entrepreneurs. The investigation of digitalised forms of action in the fields of urban planning and design is focused on the question of how far changes in planning practices itself, but also in the constitution of public spaces (e.g. by digitalised processes of communicative planning) as well as in material and spatial arrangements can be observed. The research on climate change examines how global challenges due to climate impacts are perceived and discursively processed in different ways on a national, regional or local level, in particular how socio-cultural factors shape the ways vulnerability is perceived and resilience is constructed.