GIS-gestützte Analyse aus sozialökologischer Perspektive : Identifikation endogener Entwicklungspotentiale von Transformationsräumen am Beispiel des Ruhrgebiets (Deutschland) und Oberschlesiens (Polen)

  • GIS-based analysis from socio-ecological point of view : identification of endogenous development potentials in transition areas Ruhr Area (Germany) and Upper Silesia (Poland)

Garus, Cyryl; Gräf, Peter (Thesis advisor)

Aachen (2013, 2014)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Zugl.: Aachen, Techn. Hochsch., Diss., 2013


One of the aims of this research work was to identify the endogenous potentials of development in transition areas like old industrial regions. The old industrial regions, both the Ruhr Area and Upper Silesia, have been dominated for decades by coal and steel industry. The identification of their endogenous potentials based on the Mixed-Methods-Strategy. The combination of different methods on the one hand the analysis of statistical data and their integration in to the geographic information system allowed a description of the socio-economic and ecologic situation in both regions. On the other hand the combination of methods enabled to expose the intraregional disparity and trends of social, economic and ecologic development. The socio-economic and ecologic paths of developments in Upper Silesia as well as in Ruhr Area are heterogeneous. Both old industrial regions are still important for their national economies. Their spatial structure is subdivided in areas of socio-economic and ecologic regress and areas of balanced growth. While areas of balanced growth can be described as winners of the transformation processes the areas of socio-economic and ecologic regress are confronted with an on-going degradation process. The positive as well as the negative development of social, economic and ecologic structures have a reciprocal impact on further transition in both regions. The reciprocal impact can be intensifying in positive or negative way. Regarding to the Mixed-Methods-Strategy the results of the statistical and gis-analysis have been complemented by qualitative research methods like expert interviews and surveys. In the context of the research work the collected qualitative data have been analysed with the help of correspondence analysis. The correspondence analysis as a method is conceptually similar to principal component analysis, but applies to categorical rather than continuous data. In a similar manner to principal component analysis, it provides a means of displaying or summarising a set of data in two-dimensional graphical form. The research findings of the correspondence analysis were helpful to identify the endogenous potentials of development in Ruhr Area and Upper Silesia. In addition the research results have been complemented by the content analysis and textual analysis of the regional press. The content analysis based on word frequencies of newspaper article related to the topics of social, economic and ecologic development in both regions. The content analysis of more than 2800 newspaper articles was performed by using the Word Cloud Algorithm. The Word Cloud made clear the distinctly and visibly different focuses of the press coverage in both regions. The regional press in Upper Silesia was mainly focused on topics like modernization of the road networks and other urban infrastructure. The press in Ruhr Area deals on the contrary mostly with topics likes culture, social development and labour market. As mentioned above Upper Silesia as well as the Ruhr Area are old industrial regions. One of the significant differences between the transformation processes in both regions based on the unequal time horizon. Not only is the length of the transition period different in both regions, divergent are also the level of financial resources, administrative and institutional capacities and edge in expertise. Hereby, Ruhr Area has an advantage over Upper Silesia. Even though there are these above mentioned differences the both regions have to face similar economic, social and ecologic problems. Also the possibilities to overcome the negative effects of transition and turn them to positive directions of development can be described as analogic. Of course there are no questions or doubts, that both regions suffered a permanent damage of their socio-economic and ecologic development passing the process of industrialisation. From the historical perspective and economic point of view the early industrialisation process as well in Upper Silesia as in Ruhr Area was a blessing and a curse at the same time. On the one hand the industrialisation had launched a socio-economic development and on the other hand it was the perpetrator of ecological destruction. The economic monostructure and the monofunctionally oriented structures have complicated adjustments that might become necessary to overcome the social, economic and ecologic problems. These factors have negative impacts on sustainability. The challenges faced by both examination areas - multispeed development within one region, the need to develop the urban economy (social, economic and ecologic) in a sustainable way. Depending on the respective path dependency the development during the process influences and restricts the future possibilities.


  • Division of Earth Sciences and Geography [530000]
  • Economic Geography of Services Teaching and Research Area [551720]