The research in the policy and planning-field is organised around urban and regional studies with a common focus on spatial relations and interdependencies. The urban research deals primarily with questions on urban strategies, segregation and governance, whereas the regional studies are primarily concerned with regional development and rural and countryside planning.

The role of authorities in the neo-liberal era is a particular focus for research. This includes studies of current ideas in the planning and construction of cities in Sweden, Europe (especially Eastern Europe) and other parts of the world (especially cities in Africa). The research is oriented towards:

  • planning prerequisites, incl. demographic changes, legislation, political and economic visions etc,
  • political processes, incl. participation and deliberative planning, public planning vs. informal planning in networks, etc.
  • planning policies, incl. relations to economic growth strategies, public vs private space, , sustainable development etc.
  • power in planning, incl. transformation of land, housing provision, welfare services, gender relations and how citizens' perspectives are integrated into the planning process.
  • consequences of planning, incl. unsustainable development, spatial segregation, social inequalities etc.

Local studies of suburban conditions have a long tradition at the department. Study subjects are cities as liveable environments, everyday lives, suburban schools and public housing and the transformation of tenure to privately owned flats. This research is based on analysis of how urban development has created and continues to create segregation and stigmatization.

The urban community is also analysed in a wider spatial perspective, where the links and relationships between places and urban areas are in focus. It widens the planning research to regional and gender analyses of strategies for economic and social development. The change in the population, buildings and industry that occur in regions and countrysides are understood in relation to global processes and to the planning and development of urban areas. The regional studies include analyses of the regional policy of EU, regional governance and network and cluster initiatives within and between Swedish counties. Rural transformation is another central topic of research, focusing on the economic and social dynamics of various countrysides, eg. gender relations, labour markets, international migration, sustainable development, second homes and carnivore management.