The subject area research can be summarized under the topic of 'Europeanization of spatial planning'. This concerns both the vertical aspects of Europeanization (through international or EU influences on planning systems in EU member states), and horizontal processes of cross-border cooperation. Conceptually, the focus is on institutional and cooperative approaches. Methodologically, the interest is mainly in comparative studies.
The following topics illustrate the research interests of the field:
- Integration of the spatial aspects of sectoral policies; including the question of the scope and efficiency of planning systems for the integration of sectoral policies, and the resulting need for institutional change at the European and national levels.
- European spatial planning and territorial cooperation; and identifying the added value of transnational cooperation and the conditions under which transnational networks and learning processes can lead to institutional and policy innovations in cross-border or transnational regions.
- Communicative and institutional challenges for the network society; including how networks and functional relationships can be understood, visualized, and communicated in planning processes at the transnational and metropolitan levels; and the extent to which cartographic visualizations can support transnational communication processes.
- Comparative planning and planning systems in Europe; and whether and to what extent EU influences contribute to the convergence of national and regional planning systems.
- Generation and use of scientific knowledge in planning and decision-making processes including the comparison of knowledge infrastructures in different European countries with the question of country-specific characteristics and the relevance of global trends.