Institute of Regional Science

Developing countries research

Developing countries research, and development research in general, are the core research and teaching areas of the Institute of Regional Science and the Master’s degree course in Regional Science/Spatial Planning.

In cooperation with international research groups in the corresponding regions, the special problems of underdevelopment that particularly affect countries in tropical and sub-tropical regions are analysed by a transdisciplinary and problem-centred approach. Based on a regional analysis, strategies to solve spatial development problems and conflicts are worked out. In this context, currently, the role of national states as reference areas decreases. On one hand, this loss of importance is due to extensive globalisation processes, and on the other hand, it is caused by the increasing disparities within the countries themselves, where underdeveloped and advanced regions co-exist on often diverging development paths.

In this context, regional paths of development can only be understood by integrating the natural landscapes as well as the economic and social conditions in the analysis and development of concepts. At the same time, global theories are losing importance as structures and processes embedded in an increasingly fragmented environment and happen in a spatially differentiated way.

The research concept of the Institute of Regional Science accommodates these conditions by conducting a substantiated regional analysis as a basis for the implementation concept. This analysis is geared towards the requirements of the problem in view of transdisciplinarity and a specific reference to space.

Typical topics of development research include:

  • the analysis of spatial development paths,
  • conflicts about land use and resources,
  • food insecurity and its causes,
  • effects of natural extreme events on regional communities affected by their disastrous consequences,
  • vulnerability of regional communities to hazards, and factors influencing this vulnerability,
  • effects of climate change on regional systems.

Problems similar to those of underdevelopment also exist in regions of social transformation, notably after the transition of command economies (“centrally planned economy“) to different market-based economy systems. Therefore, the analysis of these structures and processes is another focus of the Master’s degree course in Regional Science/Spatial Planning.

Focus Bangladesh
Focus West Africa