The guiding principle of the Research Unit for Local Planning (IFOER), which was founded in 1974 as a university institute and incorporated into what is now the Institute of Spatial Planning in 2004, is to approach planning practice, research and teaching as integrated parts of a whole. The members of the research unit are concerned with strategic issues of community and urban development, the drafting of feasible concepts for the spatial development and design of specific sites and locations, and likewise their legal implementation in the form of spatial development concepts and land-use and development plans. They also address inter-municipal planning issues, including their functional and spatial integration into the wider region. Research and knowledge transfer at the Research Unit for Local Planning focuses on the problems associated with the real spaces we live in, especially the core areas of settlements, but likewise towns, markets and villages, their inherent future perspectives, and the development of tools and methods, processes and strategies for their future design.
The members of the research and teaching team are the key resource of any university research institution: on the one hand they maintain continuity, insofar as it is possible and sensible to do so, while simultaneously launching new initiatives, cultivating academic exchange and dialogue, disseminating findings and actively helping to raise public awareness of the issues. As of August 2020, the Research Unit for Local Planning comprises 17 members, predominantly from the fields of Spatial Planning and Architecture, whose wide-ranging research foci form the basis for the unit's research and teaching activities in the fields of municipal and urban development planning, village and urban design, zoning and land-use planning, drafting of urban plans, village and urban renewal, spatial modelling and simulation.