The Research Unit of Regional Planning and Regional Development (FB Region) focuses on research and practice-based teaching as well as on applied research in the field of planning science. In particular, it deals with the planning of development at the intermunicipal, regional, national, European and international levels.

The teaching component emphasises the methods and instruments of supra-local spatial planning in Austria. It ranges from the principles of regional planning to contributions to regional planning practice and strategies for regional collaboration spaces that transcend municipal and provincial boundaries. In-depth projects, seminars and field trips take us to urban regions as well as to peripheral rural areas — both throughout Austria and in other countries. Courses are held on location in cooperation with universities, regions, institutions and local residents. The courses on Alpine spatial development, energy-related spatial planning, planning ethics, regional identity, and process design in planning and research provide an opportunity to delve deeper and engage in dialogue.

The Research Unit conducts applied research on urban and rural development strategies, new models of regional collaboration, cross-border regional development and planning, and territorial cohesion in Europe, especially within and with CEE countries. The research projects stimulate and make use of interfaces between research topics of immediate relevance, such as: Smart City / Smart Regions, energy and space, transport, land policy, and participation. PhD students enrolled at the Research Unit come from all over Austria and various other countries including, in recent times and currently: Kosovo, the Netherlands, Albania, Italy, Oman and Japan.

Interdisciplinary collaboration with experts, universities, public authorities, institutions, companies and civil society plays a special role in the way researchers and teachers see themselves and in their way of working. They exchange experiences actively and continuously; this includes the organisation of, and participation in international conferences, specialist committees, lectures, exhibitions, seminars and field trips. One example of this is the biennial seminar Spatial and Environmental Planning in CEE Countries.

Until 2004, the staff of the Research Unit (formerly Centre) of Regional Planning and Regional Development were part of the Institute of Urban Design and Landscape Architecture (E 260). Since 1st January 2005, the Research Unit has been part of the Institute (formerly Department) of Spatial Planning at the Faculty of Architecture and Planning.

In April 2021, the Center Rural Space, opens an external URL in a new window was initiated by Sibylla Zech (Research Unit Regional Planning and Regional Development) and Markus Tomaselli (Research Unit Urban Design) at the Faculty of Architecture and Spatial Planning. It aims to consolidate the numerous research and teaching activities on the topic of rural space and is closely interlinked with the federal states, municipalities and regions. The head of the Center for Rural Areas is Isabel Stumfol.