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The Institute of Spatial Planning (IRPUD) is the joint research facility of the School of Spatial Planning of the TU Dortmund University. It was founded in 1974 to integrate the different disciplines at the Department by interdisciplinary research projects and services.


The IRPUD’s main task is to initiate and conduct interdisciplinary research projects. The IRPUD has a broad portfolio of completed research projects. The aim of the research process is to link multiple discipline-specific perspectives, methodologies and theories by emphasizing their common spatial dimension. Research at IRPUD includes a combination of theoretical-analytical, prognostic-exploratory and pragmatic-strategic elements that are characteristic for spatial planning as an action science.

In recent decades, spatial planning has consolidated itself as an independent scientific discipline through a variety of fundamental as well as applied research projects. Fundamental research aims to gain insights into the determinants and framework conditions of both the spatial development as well as the political, legal, economic, environmental and technical opportunities for action and to develop strategies to influence them. Applied research focuses on the development of political, legal, economic, environmental and technical approaches and recommendations that help actors from the local to the global level to solve spatial problems.

The bulk of the research work is financed by third-party funds. In this respect the following institutions are of particular importance for the institute's research portfolio: the German Research Foundation (DFG), the European Commission, ESPON (European Spatial Planning Observation Network), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (BBR), the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research North Rhine-Westphalia or the Volkswagen Foundation.