Network Analysis by the Urban Office of the University of Heidelberg

IBA Heidelberg’s motto »Wissen | schafft | Stadt« (knowledge based urbanism) has implied accompanying research right from the start. In the sense of a thought-provoking practice, processes should be scientifically accompanied continuously as far as possible to meet the content-related demands of urban development in the knowledge-based society. Such accompanying research was conducted to some extent between 2015 and 2018 in the course of the living laboratory »Urban Office: Sustainable urban development in the knowledge-based society« at the University of Heidelberg. Within this program, four IBA Candidates were scientifically accompanied. And a social network analysis (NWA) was developed and in this context.

The aim of the NWA is to identify the most important players in the IBA process and their relationships with each other. Organizational charts and other display formats visualize official channels, but information, communication, cooperation and innovation are not limited to official channels. Attitudes and opinions do not arise in a vacuum, but from relationships between the stakeholders and through their positions. These »invisible« structures are revealed by the social NWA.

So far, interviews have been conducted with people from the IBA environment in 2013/14 and 2017/18, each funded by the City of Heidelberg and jointly conducted by the Institutes of Sociology (Prof. Dr. Michael Hölscher and Christina Herrmann), Geography (Prof. Dr. Ulrike Gerhard) and the Centre for Social Investment of the University of Heidelberg (Dr. Georg Mildenberger).

The multiple survey of the network allows the dynamics of the stakeholders and their cooperation to be investigated over time. At the very beginning of the IBA, for example, it became clear that the business community and civil society had previously been poorly integrated. Initial results of the second survey suggest that the IBA network has become much more international and that ties in the fields of administration, science and architecture have been strengthened. Overall, the NWA can thus pass on not only scientific findings but also general knowledge relevant to management for international building exhibitions.

Urban Office