Challenges for Metropolitan Urban Regions

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Learning outcomes

After completing the course requirements, students should be able: to examine competing paradigms and discourses of postmodern city planning and design and develop critical understanding of the processes of rapid urban change in contemporary metropolitan cities. To demonstrate a deeper understanding of the complexities and crucial issues within urban development and city planning of metropolitan regions through the exploration of design strategies and spatial practices considering the needs for social, economic and environmental sustainability; to critically analyze the synergy of transportation, economics, ecology, urban forms and social aspects in the planning and management of metropolitan city regions from micro, meso to macro levels; to describe and propose solutions for tackling the negative aspects of urbanization in cities demonstrated through rampant urban development, energy inefficiency, weak infrastructure systems, automobile dependency, uncontrolled sprawl, pollution, resource scarcity, housing shortage, crime and other related issues.

Course main content

The objective of this course is to provide students with an active learning experience during which they will acquire both theoretical and practical knowledge in the realm of urban planning and design, regional development and urban sociology. The aim of the course is to assist planners, architects, urban designers, civil engineers and human geographers, to understand the concepts, skills, and strategies that are needed in dealing with contemporary cities, i.e. global metropolitan regions faced with increasingly complex challenges as well as opportunities but also converging crises ranging from climate change, economic crisis, urbanization to growing diversity and movement of people. This course aims to develop skills, through various course modules, for addressing metropolitan structural changes and for exploring strategies that will make a difference both at the city and on a regional scale. Both European/Nordic and non-EU (American, African and Asian) situations and cases are studied. An investigation of these will not only address site-scale planning & design issues but also it will cover in depth the broader social, ecological, cultural and political processes that dynamically shape our urban spaces, landscapes, and people’s everyday lives and experiences. The course “Challenges for Metropolitan Urban Regions” sets out to examine the multiple, multifaceted and competing forces that influence the (place) making of contemporary metropolitan cityscapes.

Disposition X3 (TED – Talk/Envision/Discuss)

The course is organized into several modules. The modules are intended to share the context of the issues, advance a number of models, and share best principles and practices. Aside from allocated readings for seminars and talks, the course project will be done individually or in teams (depending on class size). The form of the project can be empirical, data-based, in essay form or experiential and visual. A plethora of methods and topics will be encouraged and maximum flexibility for creativity; critical thinking and innovation will be permitted. The aim to apply knowledge gained from the course discussions, talks and readings to a “real world” understanding of metropolitan city and region planning and development in context. Course plan for AG2135 valid from Autumn 13, edition 1; in 2013 course edition, “learning by film” and X3 Seminars will be the main crux of the course curriculum and topic based modules. TED= Talk, Envision and Discuss Model (X3)

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