Coronavirus - Informations and Recommendations:

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

2020S, VU, 3.0h, 4.0EC


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

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of the course, students are able to explain one current strategic approach related to sustainable urban development in detail, discuss core concepts regarding sustainable urban development and engage in contemporary debates around the urban sustainability transformation process.

Subject 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


  • 17.03.2020 - Session 1: Introduction to the topics, theories, and strategies, course structure, assignments, group work topics (Tuesday 16:00-18:00)
  • 31.03.2020 - Session 2: Movie screening Tomorrow (with English subtitles) with question-guided discussion (Tuesday 16:00-18:00)
  • 22.04.2020 - Session 3: Excursion (Wednesday 15:30-17:30)
  • 19.05.2020 - Session 4: Groups present theoretical concepts 1 /3 – peer teaching (Tuesday 16:00-18:00)
  • 26.05.2020 - Session 5: Groups present theoretical concepts 2 /3 – peer teaching (Tuesday 16:00-18:00)
  • 03.06.2020 - Session 6: Groups present theoretical concepts 3 /3 – peer teaching (Wednesday 16:00-18:00)
  • 16.06.2020 - Session 7: Final presentations and discussions of group project results (Tuesday 15:30-18:30)

This VU consists of 7 sessions. Session 1 is about the introduction and organization of the events and sessions. Session 2 consists of a movie screening with in-class discussion. Session 3 is an excursion. Sessions 4, 5, and 6 include peer teaching sessions on theoretical concepts. In session 7, 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 2000-watt society, resilient cities, and smart cities) with practical examples. Additionally, students visit thematically relevant events and reflect on them in relation to the course.

Teaching methods

Group work, peer teaching, disscussion of concepts and practical examples

Mode of examination




Examination modalities

  • Individual work (30%)
    • Being prepared, participation in class
    • 1 event/documentary report (1.500 words)
  • Group work (70%)
    • Peer teaching (sessions 4, 5, & 6): own session and preparation for colleagues’ sessions
    • Group work progress meeting with supervisor (preparation)
    • Final presentation of group work (session 7)
    • Group seminar paper (5.000-6.000 words) consisting of a theoretical (concept) and empirical (practical examples) part

Course registration

Begin End Deregistration end
17.02.2020 09:00 02.03.2020 23:55 02.03.2020 23:55


Study CodeSemesterPrecon.Info
033 240 Spatial Planning


No lecture notes are available.

Previous knowledge

  • Participation in SE 280.593 recommended (same semester)