Expertise of IOER

The Leibniz Institute of Ecological and Regional Development (IOER / Leibniz-Institut für ökologische Raumentwicklung e.V.) is a member of the Leibniz Association and with its over 100 employees the largest spatial development research institute in Germany. It carries out interdisciplinary research into issues of sustainable spatial development from an ecological perspective across all scales (local, regional, national, European, global). This involves the comprehensive analysis of current trends and dynamics (drivers, pressures), the assessment of impacts, and the investigation of responses in terms of societal behaviour and policy. The IOER addresses a wide array of questions of regional, urban and landscape development, as well as building and housing. The review and further development of policies, strategies, instruments, methods and tools needed for implementation is of central importance to its research work. 

The institute comprises five scientific divisions that provide the necessary mix of skills and knowledge for its research agenda: Regional development and landscape ecology, urban development and urban ecology, housing and building ecology, European spatial and environmental development, and geoinformatics and quantitative methods. Within the divisions, the disciplinary expertise of the scientific staff covers a broad range, including architecture, urban-, regional- and landscape planning, geography, economics, social sciences, environmental planning, law, engineering, informatics, geodesy and cartography. 

Landscape-related issues represent one of the IOER’s main research fields. The IOER is focusing on dynamic landscapes in urban, peri-urban and former mining areas. The research links ecological aspects – especially with regard to biodiversity and habitat connectivity – with questions of spatial planning and regional development. Recent projects are dealing with e.g.:

  • spatial planning, habitat connectivity and ecolgical networks, especially in transboundary settings,
  • landscape-related cooperation at the level of metropolitan regions,
  • GIS-based analyses of the historic development of cultural landscapes, 
  • SEA, EIA and related legal instruments for the protection of landscapes and biodiversity, and
  • ecological and social functions of urban wastelands in the wider context of urban development.

The IOER cooperates with a large number of partners in science, politics and administration, as well as with the private sector and civil society. It maintains intensive working relationships with other institutes of the Leibniz Association also dealing with spatial development. In education and research the IOER cooperates closely with the Technische Universität Dresden. It is a founding member of the Dresden Centre for Spatial Development Research (RKD - Raumwissenschaftliches Kompetenzzentrum Dresden), involving apart from the Technische Universität Dresden also the Saxon Academy of Sciences and the Saxon Development Bank. It is also a central cooperation partner of the “Centre for Demographic Change Dresden”, operated by the TUD. 

Active international cooperations exist already with the Ohio State University at Columbus/Ohio and the Chilean-German University Network for Spatial Planning and Science (Chilenisch-Deutsches Universitätsnetzwerk zur Zusammenarbeit auf dem Gebiet der Raumordnung), as well as with the China University of Mining and Technology in Bejing. Moreover, the IOER coordinates the network of spatial research and planning institutes in Central and Eastern Europe (www.spa-de.net).