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The recently established Department of Local Development, and the Local Development Institute are closely linked in order to meet the requirements of an innovative approach to local and regional development.

Organisationally Local Development is part of the Applied Geography branch. Students can enrol for lectures, seminars and field studies which focus on


students learning in the library


· local economic development · integrated development
· regional policies
· town and village planning
· urban renewal
· base conversion
· renewal of derelict industrial areas
· rural development approaches
· virtual reality in urban design.

The core lectures are

· Local Development I: theoretical approaches in municipal development, basic town and village planning, economic background, theory of regional policies, encouragement programmes, EU funding, etc.

· Local Development II: case studies in industrial reloca- tion; development of trade, craft, retail trade, infrastructure; recycling of military bases and de- relict industrial estates, rural deve- lopment projects, etc.

The seminars impart basic knowledge covering local and regional planning and development for the younger students and specialised information for advanced students. A special programme for post-graduates in relation to local economic encouragement, state-of-the-art-techniques in urban design and computer simulations is about to be launched.

The field studies encompass rural development issues, integrated town development aspects, catchment area research, and SME problems.

In a further training programme, decision-makers in regional and local policy get a tho-rough introduction in the most innovative aspects and methods of local economic development. Formal training for the practitioner – local government employees and development agency staff – is scarce. Regional economic development studies courses are offered at few universities but they are not intended for active professio-nals and are not practice-oriented or comprehensive enough to serve the need of practitioners. The position we have reached, within the new Structural Fund programming period, is one of a growing and well-documented body of knowledge in universities, specialised research institutes, and development agency associations about what makes successful local economic development. The next stage is to disseminate the knowledge to stimulate effective action at the local level.

The main thematic emphases of the research work in the department are:

· relocation of industry, trade, craft, retail trade, and infrastructure
(development “from below”)
· creation of growth poles
· rural development strategies
· revitalisation of derelict industrial areas
· integrated development of villages, towns, cities and regions
· public-private-partnership attempts in key projects of land development
· application of computer simulations in urban design

The number of students is continuously growing within this strong research framework. The training is practice-oriented and in accordance with the labour market needs.

Future options for students include professional careers in the public field of civil service, in local government as well as in private business. Here, the setting up of starter companies in spatial planning, relocation consultancy, and real estate management leaves much room to manoeuvre.

Head of Department
Prof. Dr. Helmut Vogel
+49 (0) 651 201-4681


Dipl.-Geogr. Matthias Neuss
+49 (0) 651 201-4679

Dipl.-Geogr. Christian Alvermann
+49 (0) 651 201-4683

Homepage Local Development