Human Geography, Urban and Regional Studies
The Chair represents
• Urban social geography (socio-demographic and -economic developments in urban areas)
• Regional development (governance and strategies for competitive regions, cluster development)
• Development cooperation (micro development, capacity building in slums of megacities and rural villages)
• Market research (household, consumer, business surveys)
Methods focus on
• Empirical social research (survey of households, consumers and firms)
• Social science analyses using Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
Master candidates participate with their thesis research in tasks and problems of spatial planning, urban and regional development of cantonal offices and in joint projects of public and private planning agencies.
Urban Social Geography
This field of research deals with (1) population structure and demographic change, and the development of urban areas as centers of employment and places to live, (2) questions of sustainable urban development for ex. perception of the urban environment or the relationship between public health and urban environment. Survey methods are used to analyze activity patterns and preferences of households, consumers and firms. Micro scale differentiation of urban sociodemographic and socioeconomic milieus at the block level is analyzed using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Studies provide information for public and private actors of spatial planning.
Analyses location development and the development of highly innovative and competitive regions (i.e. Basel and the Upper Rhine Valley, Switzerland, South China’s Pearl River Delta). Regional science concepts and methods, geostatistical methods and GIS-tools are applied as are survey methods for the analysis of enterprises. The objective is to understand the determinants of competitiveness and factors that sustain or strengthen location economies.
The focus is on (1) micro development, capacity building and basic needs strategies (2) the social stratification of poverty and the determinants of upward social mobility in urban slums of megacities and rural villages. In cooperation with NGOs we Master’s theses at the micro level of the household on topics of poverty reduction, reconstruction after disaster, business strategies in the informal sector and the building of self-help capacities. Survey and GIS-methods are applied.