What keeps society together (Was die Gesellschaft zusammenhält)

Where: St. Virgil, Salzburg

When:  December 10 2012

Further information

AGIT 2012

July 2012

University of Salzburg

Further information

Publication: Final Report - Demographic Change

The German version of the final report on demographic change in the Alps with a special focus on the inneralpine regions of the federal state of Salzburg has been published by the department of spatial planning. For the Austrian part of the European project DEMOCHANGE (the framework of the research program) the federal state of Salzburg and the University of Salzburg, with major contribution by the research group Social Geography, have been project partners.

The final report is available for free via the following link:
Final Report "Demographic Change"

Cooperation project with ifz and ZEA.

The research group social geography, in cooperation with the ifz (international research centre for ethical and social issues [contractor]) and the ZEA (Center for Ethics and poverty research), is conducting scientific monitoring and evaluation of the initiative "Auf gesunde Nachbarschaft" that has been started in 2012 by the Fonds Gesundes Österreich.

For more information see here.

Publications: The Andean Mountains & Mountain Geography

Emiritus Professor Christoph Stadel of the University of Salzburg (research group social geography), in collaboration with Axel Borsdorf (Professor at University of Innsbruck and director of the institute of interdisciplinary mountain research of the Austrian academy of sciences), has published a comprehensive book on the Andes mountains.

An excerpt of the book description:
“Natural resources, overwhelming scenic beauties, a vast variety of seemingly intact cultures, economic diversity – those are keywords that are often connected with the Andes mountains. For the first time in decades it is attempted to draw the big picture of this region of the earth’s surface that is connected by the longest mountain range worldwide. (…) Illustrated with numerous fascinating photographies and and intuitively accessible charts and graphics, this book provides the base for a better insights of this natural space with all of its problems.”

The book is available via the following link: The Andean Mountains: A geographical portrait



In addition, Christoph Stadel, in collaboration with Jim Gardner (Canada) and Robert Rhoades (USA), has contributed the substantial chapter titled “People in Mountains” to the newly published book “Mountain Geography: Physical and Human Dimensions”, which is available here: Mountain Geography: Physical and Human Dimensions


Cooperation project with SIR

The research group social geography, in cooperation with SIR (Salzburg Institute for Spatial Planning & Housing), is announcing a project on the changing and growing challenges that municipalities in the federal state of Salzburg have to face in the 21th century. Over the last decades, an increasing number of responsibilities and duties have been transfered to municipalities, while important sources of revenue have eroded. With an ageing population, changes in the labor markets and societal transformation, municipalities have to take part in sustaining social cohesiveness.
The projects aims at identifying the main current and future challenges of municipalities, which in turn will provide local decision makers with information about possible way to act and react.

Social Atlas - Steirische Eisenstraße

Book publication
"Keep the ball rolling" is the first Austrian social festival with the aim to realize ideas for strengthening social togetherness. Emigration and aging popultion, economic and societal change - those are only some of the challenges that have to be faced by the inhabitants of the Steirische Eisenstraße.
What should be done locally according to the affected population? And how to address those challenges?
The social atlas Steirische Eisenstraße provides answers through 68 projects that have been developed in the course of the social festival "Keep the ball rolling". The ideas and visions for improving life quality and societal participation are examples of a sense of responsibility, individual initiative and creative dealing with local knowledge in the corresponding social and spatial environment, that can be examples for other locations and regions. Beyond, the underlying challenges of the region are depicted from perspectives of social geography, sociology and poverty research.

The book which was co-written by Prof. Andreas Koch is available here.

Modeling Social Phenomena In Spatial Context

80 scientists and practioners from Europe, the USA, and Asia participated in the 8th European Social Simulation Association Conference, held at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Salzburg, from September 10-14, 2012. A broad discussion about modeling and simulation techniques in the social sciences dominated the conference. Apart from a publication in the series Salzburger Geographische Arbeiten (vol. 48, obtainable from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) a new publication with topics of a spatially explicit coupling of social phenomena and processes can be now announced. Please contact LIT publisher (http://www.lit-verlag.de) to order this book.

60th Annual North American Meetings of the Regional Science Association International

Where: Atlanta

When: 13.11-16.11.2013

Further information

Geoinformatics systems

With about 250 participants, the advanced training seminar of the Runder Tisch GIS e.V. took place for the 18th time from the 08.-11. of April at the Technical University of Munich. Under the motto: “Modern geoinformatics – Development of the geodata potential”, there was discussed and reported in several training courses and twelve parallel meetings on current trends in geoinformatics. The conference proceedings under the name “Geoinformationssysteme 2013” provides an insight in the debated issues and can be ordered at Wichmannverlag (http://www.wichmann-verlag.de).

Photo Competition (Scandinavia)

As part of the Excursion Scandinavia,  a photo competition among the students took place on specific social geographic topics. The aim was to strenghten students' capacity to recognize socio-spatial features and elaborate them with short statements.
You can find the winners, as well as other excellent work, here: Photo Competition

Cooperation project municipality development

Since early 2013 the research group social geography of the University of Salzburg is working together with the Salzburg Institute for Spatial Planning & Housing (SIR) to add expertise to this year's municipality development project: "The municipality as a local supplier"

For decades now, municipalities have to handle evermore tasks. Demographic development and the change in societal demands and needs have extended the scope of tasks for muncipalities while financial resources have not grown to the same amount.

The shift of tasks of municipality, its reasons and impacts are topics of the cooperation of the municipality development Salzburg with the research group social geography. To gain a detailed view onto municipalities, undergraduate students of the geography department of the University of Salzburg are conducting interviews with several majors of municipalities with different economic, social and geographic backgrounds. Quantitative data analysis, executed by Prof. Dr. Andreas Koch and his team, is completing the picture of the municipalities of Salzburg.

On the 3rd of October 2013, the results of the research are presented at the municipality development conference in Elixhausen.

For further information and regular updates visit also the page of the municipality development Salzburg.

Also visit the following articles:
Gemeinden werden erforscht
Befragung zur Entwicklung St. Georgens





Publication European Countryside Issue on Demographic Change

Prof. Andreas Koch of the research group Social Geography of the University of Salzburg has edited, in cooperation with Barbara Černič-Mali of the Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, the March issue of the journal "European Countryside" on Demographic Change.

Together with Madeleine Koch, they wrote the introduction to the current issue, which can be found online for free via: European Countryside Issue March 2014.

Appreciating Local Knowledge

From 21st to 22nd of November 2013, this conference is held by the Centre of Ethics and Poverty Research at the University of Salzburg (www.uni-salzburg.at/zea) and the international research centre for social and ethical questions (ifz, www.ifz-salzburg.at), in cooperation with the Social Geography Research Group at the University of Salzburg (www.socialgeography.at), Bildungszentrum St. Virgil Salzburg (www.virgil.at), and Austria’s first social festival Keep the ball rolling. (www.tu-was.at).

In the light of a globalization, (post-)modernization, social fragmentation and economization of many of our living contexts, local knowledge has regained increased attention in social sciences like ethnography, poverty and inequality studies, social anthropology or social geography, just to mention a few. Commonly, local knowledge indicates a counterpart to both rational forms of an explicit knowledge of facts and knowledge of universal validity. Local knowledge attempts to appreciate a more comprehensive view on people’s skills, capabilities, experience, and sophistication. On the other hand, the reference to ‘local’ implies an imagination of bounded applicability of knowledge in specific spatial-cultural environments. There thus seems to be a similarity in nature to indigenous knowledge.

Call for Papers
(Deadline 24th of June 2013)

Further information about the conference and the call for papers can be found here:
Appreciating Local Knowledge

Working Papers

The research group Social and Economic Geography of the Department of Geography and Geology - University of Salzburg - has released some preliminary scientific papers that can be found here:
Working Papers (Geographies of Uneven Development)

The main purpose of these papers is to share our recent research with other social scientists, to make our findings available to interested readers and to elicit feedback on our work.  Whereas the specific topics of the working papers cover different research areas, the common denominator of all these papers are Geographies of Uneven Development.

Book Publication: Poverty and Knowledge

Reproduction and alleviation of poverty in education and science.
edited by Helmut P. Gaisbauer, Elisabeth Kapferer, Andreas Koch & Clemens Sedmak

The authors of this volume investigate the effect of knowledge production and knowledge transfer on poverty situations and social exclusion from the point of view of philosophy, social geography, political science, communication science, theology, social psychology and educational science.
They reflect on different levels of poverty research, from the challenge to grasp local poverty knowledge to international and cross-cultural perspectives. Next to empirical findings, insights show the relevance of  a, for poverty research particularly important, sensibility towards notions and discourses: in the knowledge production as well as in the field of societal practice.

The volume is available here.




Strengthening Intangible Infrastructures

The term ‘infrastructure’ commonly refers to the partly naturally given, partly manmade constitutive conditions that affect, enable, and ensure our everyday lives. This concept is generally used in an economic sense and highlights the material and institutional facilities of our environment that can be summed up as the tangible means which our societies are based upon. Consequently, talking about ‘intangible infrastructures’ may appear to be a somewhat unusual concept. The term ‘intangible’ includes areas of our lives that are not (or are not primarily) represented physically; it points to invisible realms of the human existence, both intellectually or knowledge-based; to cultural and even ethical matters, and to the social adhesives and cultural techniques that civilizations are being built on. As ‘intangible infrastructure’, we regard them as fundamental for our well-being and for a good quality of life.


This volume is a result of a two-day conference held in December 2012 in Salzburg, Austria, which brought together researchers and practitioners from manifold scientific backgrounds, including sociology, philosophy, social geography, economics, urban studies, political science, history, communication sciences and public communication. The text draws a map of current discourses on intangible infrastructures, and provides strategies of strengthening intangible infrastructures.

Contact      Impressum