Fields of Research Professorship for Urban Design

Research at the professorship is conducted in four thematic areas: "The Power of Conditions", "The City of the Great Acceleration", "The Cooperative City" and "Infrastructures of the New Everyday". Each research project and each dissertation is assigned to one of the topics. However, it is explicitly encouraged that work is carried out at the intersections of the fields.
Currently, several research projects and proposals are in progress. Potential dissertations and research projects or requests from guest researchers should, if possible, relate to one or more of the thematic fields.

The Cooperative City

At present, cooperative or collaborative projects play a subordinate role in urban development in most of the world's major cities. Existing projects show through their collaborative approach that they could have great significance for the future, as they can promote resource-saving and egalitarian lifestyles. We therefore ask ourselves how such pioneering projects can be promoted, what concrete effects they have on urban space, and how the cooperative idea can be linked with other disciplines, topics and standards, as well as explored in an inter- and transdisciplinary way.

The research at the professorship approaches the topic, among other things, in the context of design studios (Urban Design Research Studios). In these, situations are investigated in which chances for transformation can be assumed. Through the studios, but also through seminars, concrete insights into cooperative planning are gained. In-depth research is linked to the studios, which conditions favor pioneering projects in the urban environment and which slow down these developments. In addition, the aim is to establish long-term interventions that result in real changes on site with the participation of students and stakeholders. The combination of research with experiments in the sense of a real laboratory should also result in practical, transferable instructions for public institutions.

Contact: Isabel Glogar

The City of the Great Acceleration

The era of the "Great Acceleration", which has been used to describe the development of our cities since the Second World War, has produced most of the building structures we are confronted with today - and the problems we have to solve. In particular, the urban planning and architectural structures of the 1950s and 1960s are a topical issue in European cities that has been steadily gaining momentum since the turn of the millennium: the conversion of this substance is essential. It is interesting to note in this context that this architecture - created at the beginning of the Great Acceleration - has many characteristics that are relevant today, such as low living space per person or recycled building materials. The conversion of these structures can therefore also be part of a social rethink on the way to a sufficient attitude through the positive return to the comparatively resource-saving lifestyle of the post-war period.

However, the generic term "Great Acceleration" as a description of the development since 1945 also serves to rethink the reconstruction of cities in general. For acceleration has given us urban structures that will be impossible to maintain in the future. If we want to take a meaningful approach to the transformation to a resilient city, we must understand which processes can or must be decelerated.

The development of new urban structures, especially in countries outside the western hemisphere, offers the chance to avoid repeating the mistakes of the Great Acceleration. 

Contact: Daniel Zwangsleitner

Infrastructures of the New Everyday

Technical infrastructures penetrate urban space in a variety of ways. They are in a constant state of flux, especially with regard to digitalization. One example is airports: Here, the effects of noise on the environment can increasingly be simulated in such a way that their effects can be made directly useful for social negotiation processes. Applied to other problem areas, such methods could serve to make the negative effects of accelerated development visible and bring them into a general discourse.

Contact: Elif Simge Fattahoglu Özgen

The Power of Conditions

Architecture is not autonomous: rather, the understanding of external influences - the conditions - on the constructional production must be sharpened. Against this background we pursue the hypothesis that architecture always follows a mode, a "way of working". As a link between architecture and urban planning, this mode allows speculations on how the conditions can have a positive influence on building. The research focus "The Power of Conditions" therefore focuses in particular on heteronomy as a formative principle of architecture and deals with specific forms of architecture that are characterized by strong external conditions. In this context, the research is based in particular on a stronger scientificization of the discourse on the production conditions of architecture.

Contact: Elettra Carnelli