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institut ISP


ISP - Institute for Urban Research, Planning and Communication


The ISP - Institute for Urban Research, Planning and Communication - was founded in 2008 and draws on many years of experience in research. Researchers from a wide range of disciplines work on the ISP team, which is headed by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heidi Sinning. Close cooperation exists between the ISP and the degree programs in Urban and Spatial Planning (Bachelor's and Master's) at the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt.

The institute’s research topics include:

  • development of housing stock for specific target groups
  • integrated urban development
  • sustainable development of human settlements and open spaces
  • municipal climate protection management
  • communicative planning and governance

The Institute for Urban Research, Planning and Communication (ISP) focuses on housing and urban development, integrated planning and development in cities and urban regions, and communicative planning processes. Its research work is concerned with the concepts, planning theory and methodology of urban and metropolitan development.
The guiding principle of sustainability unites economic, ecological, social and cultural perspectives across generations in an integrated approach to the task. The ISP considers the impact of social developments on planning processes, for example globalisation, demographic change, information society, new forms of governance ("good governance") and the modernisation of public administration ("new public management").

The institute explores innovative strategies, concepts and solutions in different fields of urban planning. The research considers effects of social development on planning processes, e.g. globalization, demographic changes, information society, Good Governance and New Public Management. A wide range of instruments is used to deal with those issues, e.g. planning regulation, financial incentives, instruments of communication, market participation and organizational development.

The institute’s fields of research are:

  • planning and development of urban regions in the context of demographic change:
    Demographic change implies significant shifts in the spatial structure and functions of districts, cities and urban regions. The impact on the housing market, residential development and social infrastructure are analyzed in the ISP's research projects and considered in the design of future adaptation strategies.
  • regulation and strategies for urban and regional modernization:
    Cities and urban regions will have to face structural as well as social changes, both nationally and internationally, to find and implement new governance and modernization strategies. In this regard, the ISP conducts research in the field of urban and regional management, new forms of regulation (governance) and communicative process design. In doing so, it is important to focus on the stakeholders and take into consideration the residents' needs.
  • communication in the field of neighbourhood, urban and regional development:
    Communication is becoming more and more important. The ISP theoretically and practically analyzes new approaches, instruments and techniques of communication. This involves communication about planning issues as well as communication in planning processes with the aim of improving communication between various stakeholders in order to strengthen stakeholder networks and increase the quality of planning and development activities through information, participation and cooperation. Special attention is paid to civic participation, civic engagement, and civic orientation as well as public relations, mediation and counselling approaches.
  • applying new media in planning processes:
    In today's knowledge society, new media is playing an increasingly important role as a form of communication. In various interdisciplinary research projects, the ISP has examined and tested how new media and internet-based methods for knowledge transfer can be applied (blended learning) or used as an instrument of cooperative planning and civic participation in formal and informal planning processes. Examples of research areas are the systemization of new media as well as the analysis of their potentials, constraints and requirements of application.

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