Session 9

C1 Methodologies for the Investigation of Spatial Transformation Processes

In spatial research, the insight has become a matter of course that spaces (like cities, neighbourhoods or urban places) must be conceived as a “social construct”, i.e. as a socio-spatial fabric. So far, however, insufficient attention has been paid to the fact that socio-spatial fabrics are not static but rather in a process of constant transformation, or in other words: that they are permanently “reconstructed” by social actors. In this context, it is a question by which methodological tools socio-spatial transformation or reconstruction processes can be investigated empirically. Spatial transformation may happen by urban actors who develop a new perspective on some aspects of a particular place and discuss the place in a new way. This may come along with changing patterns of space-related practices, whereas existing social and material arrangements initially remain unchanged. As a consequence of a changing perspective and a different public communication about the place, however, after a period of time some responsible urban actors may decide to redevelop selected buildings, to tear down others or to build new ones, all of which will gradually change even the built structure. This is, of course, only one possibility of spatial transformation. In the session we will focus on the question of how such spatial transformation processes can be explored, or to be more concrete, how the social reconstruction of spaces can be methodologically investigated. We invite papers that – by the example of sustainable urban development processes or other spatial transformations – suggest qualitative, quantitative or mixed-methods approaches, be it in terms of long-term statistical analysis, discourse analyses, participant observation, visual methods, other methods or a combination of different methodological tools.