103-0448-01L  Transformation of Urban Landscapes

SemesterSpring Semester 2021
LecturersJ. Van Wezemael, A. Gonzalez Martinez
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentOnly for masters students, otherwise a special permit of the lecturer is necessary.


103-0448-01 GTransformation of Urban Landscapes2 hrs
Mon09:45-11:30HIL E 4 »
J. Van Wezemael, A. Gonzalez Martinez

Catalogue data

AbstractThe lecture course addresses the transformation of urban landscapes towards sustainable inward development. The course reconnects two largely separated complexity approaches in «spatial planning» and «urban sciences» as a basic framework to look at a number of spatial systems considering economic, political, and cultural factors. Focus lies on participation and interaction of students in groups.
Objective- Understand cities as complex adaptive systems
- Understand planning in a complex context and planning competitions as decision-making
- Seeing cities through big data and understand (Urban) Governance as self-organization
- Learn Design-Thinking methods for solving problems of inward development
- Practice presentation skills
- Practice argumentation and reflection skills by writing critiques
- Practice writing skills in a small project
- Practice teamwork
ContentStarting point and red thread of the lecture course is the transformation of urban landscapes as we can see for example across the Swiss Mittelland - but in fact also globally. The lecture course presents a theoretical foundation to see cities as complex systems. On this basis it addresses practical questions as well as the complex interplay of economic, political or spatial systems.

While cities and their planning were always complex the new era of globalization exposed and brought to the fore this complexity. It created a situation that the complexity of cities can no longer be ignored. The reason behind this is the networking of hitherto rather isolated places and systems across scales on the basis of Information and Communication Technologies. «Parts» of the world still look pretty much the same but we have networked them and made them strongly interdependent. This networking fuels processes of self-organization. In this view regions emerge from a multitude of relational networks of varying geographical reach and they display intrinsic timescales at which problems develop. In such a context, an increasing number of planning problems remain unaffected by either «command-and-control» approaches or instruments of spatial development that are one-sidedly infrastructure- or land-use orientated. In fact, they urge for novel, more open and more bottom-up assembling modes of governance and a «smart» focus on how space is actually used. Thus, in order to be effective, spatial planning and governance must be reconceptualised based on a complexity understanding of cities and regions, considering self-organizing and participatory approaches and the increasingly available wealth of data.
LiteratureA reader with original papers will be provided via the ILIAS system.
Prerequisites / NoticeOnly for masters students, otherwise a special permit of the lecturer is necessary.

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits3 credits
ExaminersJ. Van Wezemael, A. Gonzalez Martinez
Typegraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition possible without re-enrolling for the course unit.
Additional information on mode of examinationAnnouncemenet of terms and conditions of performance assessement (graded semester performance) during first course unit.

Learning materials

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Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


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Offered in

Architecture MasterField of Landscape Architecture and Urban StudiesWInformation
Civil Engineering MasterMajor in Construction and Maintenance ManagementWInformation
Civil Engineering MasterMajor in Transport SystemsWInformation
Geomatic Engineering MasterMajor in PlanningWInformation
Integrated Building Systems MasterSpecialised CoursesWInformation
Landscape Architecture MasterAdvanced CoursesWInformation
Spatial Development and Infrastructure Systems MasterMajor in Spatial and Landscape DevelopmentWInformation
Science, Technology, and Policy MasterUrbanization and PlanningWInformation
Science, Technology, and Policy MasterEnergy and MobilityWInformation