280.596 Elective module: Sustainable urban development in theory and practice
This course is in all assigned curricula part of the STEOP.
This course is in at least 1 assigned curriculum part of the STEOP.

2019S, VU, 3.0h, 4.0EC


  • Semester hours: 3.0
  • Credits: 4.0
  • Type: VU Lecture and Exercise

Aim of course

Cities and urban regions are increasingly confronted with challenges relating to sustainable development. How can this concept be understood and implemented? The aim of this seminar is to investigate the topics of sustainability and urban planning. It provides students with theoretical, conceptual and analytical tools to investigate and understand current challenges in sustainable urban transformation processes. This course is designed as an empirical course, which blends a discussion of theoretical literature with an investigation of practical examples. 

In more detail, students will:

  • Get an insight into a variety of strategic approaches that address urban sustainability challenges
  • Develop ideas about how to deal with the topic of sustainable development from different perspectives and on different (spatial) levels
  • Learn to approach urban phenomena from an inter-disciplinary and multi-dimensional perspective
  • Learn to process and critically investigate scientific literature in English
  • Design class sections themselves (peer teaching)
  • Practice their scientific writing skills in English

After the completion of the course, students will have investigated one current strategic approach related to sustainable urban development in detail, have an insight into core concepts regarding sustainable urban development and contemporary debates around the urban sustainability transformation process.

Subject of course


  • 12.03.2019 - Kick-off of the elective module
  • 09.04.2019 - Session 1: Course structure, assignments, group work topics
  • 30.04.2019 - Session 2: Movie screening Zeit für Utopien (with English subtitles)
  • 07.05.2019 - Session 3: Groups present theoretical concepts 1 /2 – peer teaching
  • 14.05.2019 - Session 4: Groups present theoretical concepts 2 /2 – peer teaching
  • 04.06.2019 - Session 5: Final presentations and discussions of group project results

This VU consists of one kick-off and another 5 sessions. The Kick-off is mandatory for both SE and VU participants. Session 1 of the VU is on the same day as Session 4 of the SE (280.293). Session 2 consists of a movie screening with in-class discussion. Sessions 3 and 4 include peer teaching sessions on theoretical concepts. In session 6, groups present their final results. The group project is carried out in small groups (3 persons) and combines the analysis of contemporary concepts that address urban sustainable development challenges (such as the 2000 Watt society, resilience, sharing or smart cities) with practical examples. Additionally, students visit thematically relevant events and reflect on them in relation to the course.


  • Zhang, Yanli
  • Ecker, Martha


Course dates

Tue17:00 - 19:0012.03.2019Seminarraum 4/2 Kick-off
Tue18:30 - 20:0009.04.2019Seminarraum 3/4 Session 1
Tue17:00 - 20:0030.04.2019Seminarraum W15 Session 2
Tue17:00 - 20:0007.05.2019Seminarraum 3/4 Session 3
Tue17:00 - 20:0014.05.2019 SRF Library (Augasse 2-6, section C, 2nd Floor)Session 4
Tue17:00 - 20:0004.06.2019 SRF Library (Augasse 2-6, section C, 2nd Floor)Session 5

Examination modalities


  • Individual work (30%)
    • Being prepared, participation in class
    • 1 event/documentary report (2.000 words)
  • Group work (70%)
    • Peer teaching (sessions 3 & 4): own session and preparation for colleagues’ sessions
    • Group work progress meeting with supervisor (preparation)
    • Final presentation of group work (session 5)
    • Group seminar paper (7.500 words) consisting of a theoretical (concept) and empirical (practical examples) part

Course registration

Begin End Deregistration end
25.02.2019 09:00 12.03.2019 09:00 12.03.2019 16:55


Study CodeObligationSemesterPrecon.Info
033 240 Spatial Planning Not specified


No lecture notes are available.

Previous knowledge

  • Participation in SE 280.593 recommended (same semester)