The Academy

About us

Founded in 1946, the Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (ARL) – Leibniz-Forum for Spatial Sciences is a non-university forum and centre of competence for sustainable spatial development. The research focus is on spatial structures and developments, their causes and effects, and policy and planning options for their management. The work of the Academy is characterised by the holistic, integrative and future-oriented perspectives taken of complex, spatial-social challenges.

The outstanding unique feature of the Academy is its inter- and transdisciplinary cooperation. Experts from both academia and practice in the fields of spatial science research, spatial development and spatial planning come together in a multidisciplinary network. Scientific and practice knowledge is thus pooled and new applied knowledge generated and transferred. This transdisciplinary research focuses on societal problems that require a holistic, inter-sectoral approach. The network of experts currently comprises 200 members of the Academy, 685 other contributing specialists and over 200 individuals active in the Young Professionals’ Forum.

The results of its work are made available to scholars, politicians and public administration, as well as to the general public, through ARL publications and events.

Research fields

The activities of the ARL are organised into three research fields and a department for cross-sector activities:

Research Fields I and II represent important focuses of current spatial-science research and spatial planning practice against the background of the major challenges of the present day. These research fields cannot be clearly separated from one another as they overlap thematically. 

Research Field III is in any case conceived with a crosscutting mandate. Research here focuses on how spatial planning and its legal form can be organised and provided with effective instruments in light of significant changes in understandings of the role of the state and planning and new demands related to participatory culture.