Sozialkartographie brings together heterogeneous and under-researched data sets, maps and archival material from the postwar period to explore the transformation of selected cities: Nuremberg, Cologne, Essen/Duisburg (Ruhr area). The project covers the years of post-war reconstruction and explores the effects of this transformation on the later socioeconomic profile of the cities.

This will be achieved by converting urban features depicted in historic maps into geospatial data that can be analysed with a Geographical Information System (GIS). Additional layers of diverse historic and contemporary socioeconomic data will be used to evaluate change in the social transformation of small areas within the selected cities over time.

Beyond the collection of under-researched data and materials, Sozialkartographie also develops a geospatial analysis toolkit to enable reliable and detailed spatial comparisons that inform future questions about the relationship between features as they relate to the real world and other datasets.

Providing an alternative appraisal of postwar city transformation, this research offers insight into each city’s under-researched past and its implications for the present, contributing new knowledge to inform planning theory, research and practice. The project outcomes will be of interest not only to academics researching the past and present but also to planners and policy makers seeking to improve the future of these cities.