Printexemplare bestellen


Kontakt für Fragen zur Bestellung von Publikationen:

Heidi Espei
Tel.: +49 30 39001-253
Fax: +49 30 39001-275

Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik gGmbH
Zimmerstraße 13-15
10969 Berlin


Staff members

Urban Development, Legal and Social Affairs Division

The Urban Development, Legal and Social Affairs Division deals with the thematic clusters spatial-based construction in urban development, housing and law and social urban development, thus addressing a broad spectrum of pressing current and future issues affecting cities. All-encompassing major trends and changing framework conditions such as demographic change (ageing populations, immigration of different ethnicities, decreasing populations, increasingly heterogeneous lifestyles), economic structural change, processes of change in the social structure of urban populations and demands to create healthier living conditions and further climate protection as well as deal with climatic impacts constitute the main challenges of both of these thematic clusters.

Current urban development issues in particular fall under the heading “spatial-based construction in urban development”. Here, the focus is on aspects of urban restructuring as well as the protection of historic monuments, building culture and urban development funding. The development of city centres presents a central challenge and efforts here aim at exploiting their potential by implementing suitable strategies and instruments. The division works in close cooperation with the Environment Division to deal with issues of climate protection and the climatic impacts of urban development, as well as with the restrictions posed by emission control laws. It also addresses landscape planning and open space usage planning. A wide range of experience has been gathered in the area of integrated socio-spatial urban development.

Current issues in the area of housing include those living in the city centre, housing cooperatives and new forms of living such as cross-generational housing. A need for research has also been identified with regard to the supply of adequate living space, especially for “marginalized” households; diverse strategies for ensuring municipal housing stocks, opportunities and chances to promote new forms of living and more stable social structures and the structural importance of housing stocks and constructing new housing to cities are also key areas of research need.

The division also has vast expertise in the field of building and planning law, and on issues tangential to environmental law and ancillary building law. Traditional development planning instruments and municipal land-use policy are key elements here. Ex-post analysis of how relevant laws are applied as well as planning simulations and practical trials are widely proven and recognized methods of regulatory impact assessment employed by Difu. Practice-based working aids and further training events contribute to the proper implementation of relevant legal instruments.

The thematic cluster social urban development consists of investigation of important primary change processes in urban society and the challenges they pose for municipal activities. Particularly crucial issues in this area of research include how to handle social inequality and fragmentation within urban space, the importance of education and educational institutions (schools and education/training, lifelong learning) as stabilizing factors in urban society, migration and integration of immigrants and preventive health care and health promotion. The developments and requirements caused by the changing age structure among residents constitute challenges for cities that demand sustainable strategies and concepts. These challenges particularly affect family, youth welfare and older residents in cities. The social groups mentioned are, however, not a target group as such, but, first and foremost, partners and active players in social space.

Methodological competence in the Urban Development, Legal and Social Affairs Division is wide ranging. Our methodology includes established methods of quantitative (e.g. surveys) and qualitative (e.g. case studies, good practice analysis, expert interviews) social research as well as regulatory impact assessment methods in the form of planning simulations and practical trials. Evaluations of programmes and policies are performed according to the accredited standards of the German Society for Evaluation. These methodological tools are rounded out with the organization, realization and documentation of competitions that address current issues in urban policy through informational platforms (e.g. the national Socially Integrative City exchange) and accompanying research as knowledge generating instruments and tools to promote the practical application of knowledge.

Main areas of research

  • Urban development, urban restructuring (inner-city development, building culture, historical monument protection, climate protection and climate change adaptation, urban development funding)
  • Housing (housing policy strategies and concepts, municipal housing stock, providing housing to marginalized households, new forms of living)
  • Urban planning legislation (amendment of the German Building Code (BauGB) and the Land Utilization Ordinance (BauNVO), climate protection and urban planning law, emission control interface, species and biotope protection interface, procurement law interface)
  • Social inequality and fragmentation within urban space (Socially Integrative City, integrated urban district development)
  • Education and educational institutions (schools and education/training, lifelong learning ) as stabilizing factors in urban society
  • Migration and integration of immigrants
  • Preventive health care and health promotion
  • Family and youth welfare
  • Older residents in cities

Additional information on the work of the Urban Development, Legal and Social Affairs Division