Focus of teaching

Our pedagogical approach is rooted in the acknowledgment of different, shifting urban realities and the contradictions and subjectivities involved therein. For this reason, in our teaching, we encourage students to reflect on diverse planning practices, both formal and informal, and how often the city grows through a hybridity of these approaches. Students develop critical thinking skills surrounding current issues in urban studies through both the theoretical study of the city and the empirical analysis of real-world examples. We promote interactive learning and the co-production of knowledge.

Our classes cover planning fundamentals such as planning history, the German planning context, formal and informal planning instruments, and integrated urban development approaches. We examine actors and how different constellations of negotiations and conflict contribute to the production of space. We situate planning as a multifaceted, participatory process.

Expanding outward from traditional planning approaches, we also bring current topics and in the broader field of critical urban studies into our classroom. Recent topics have included food, tourism, and urban natures. We aim to foreground questions of city typologies, urban inequalities, urban informality, and social and environmental justice. In this manner, we seek to educate students within a framework of transformative urban planning.

Our faculty also link classes to their current research frameworks, tying students into larger research projects ongoing at the department. Some examples include the DFG project Hybrid Urbanisms and Architektur des Ordens.

Embedded within current course offerings is a focus on the refinement and practice of skills and methods. Students learn research methods, such as interviewing, ethnographic, and cartographic analysis, as well as increase their competence in design, presentation, and writing. 
Many of our classes are held in conjunction with local city councils and citizen initiatives, giving students the opportunity to work with real-world case studies in the Brandenburg region. Through its collaboration with the HochschulCampus KleinstadtForschung  and Hybrid Urbanisms in Secondary Cities, we also maintain a focus on small and medium-sized towns and secondary cities. Local case-studies are complemented by courses with a more international focus, including seminars on Global South/North relations, frequent excursions, and international summer schools.