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Fall 2021
Cities, Masterplanning and Urban Governance

© Fritz J. Rotgans; source: MERIAN (1958) vol. 11(1), p. 11.

This course aims to give master students in architecture and geography an overview of modern planning. The first part comprises an introduction in the more recent history of urban and regional planning, mostly related to developments in the Western world. The respective time span starts at the peak of industrialisation, leading to recovery planning after World War II, then emphasising ideal types of planning since the 1950s/60s: modernist vs. traditional planning, compact vs. dispersed development. Today’s master planning of urban expansion, large-scale infrastructure projects or eco-city communities will give most recent insight into the world of planning. Also, the concept of governance will be introduced. Having emerged from political science discourses, it includes processes of decision making that are essentially multi-level in their scales and include a variety of actors.

Following the introductions given by instructors, the second part offers participants the opportunity to work on selected case studies of one spatial plan – designed for developing a building, a ‘project’, an urban district, selected parts of infrastructure or concerning the future of an entire territory. This exercise aims at reconstructing the plans’ contents, justification and implementation, leading to a critical assessment of the plans’ outcomes and thus of urban planning more widely. When reflecting upon implementation and outcome, the case studies reassert steering processes in the context of governance. Hence this allows for to connect the planning ‘ideals’ with questions of practice (in fact being more incremental rather than driven by big narratives) and the fundamental question of outcome.

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