Course date

8 July - 19 July, 2002
Application deadline:
15 February, 2002
Course Director(s): 

Thomas Knorr-Siedow

IRS, Erkner, Germany

Ivan Tosics

Metropolitan Research Institute, Budapest, Hungary
Course Faculty: 

Judit Bodnar

Department of History/Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Jozsef Hegedus

Metropolitan Research Institute, Budapest, Hungary

Christine Lelevriere

University Paris Val-de-Marne (Paris XII), Institute de Urbanism, Paris, France

Ulf Matthiesen

IRS, Erkner, Germany

Peter Marcuse

Columbia University in the City of New York, United States of America

Marco Venturi

University of Venice, Italy
Guest Speaker(s): 

Gabor Demszky

Office of the Mayor of Budapest, Hungary

With the development of supra-national institutions and the global economy, the cities are facing new challenges and have increasing opportunities for action. The change is rapid and presently the directions seem uncertain. Some speak of the dissolution of the city due to the effects of new technologies, globalisation and individual choice. Some fear a polarised ‘dual city’ of social conflict with decreasing social cohesion and a declining cultural and economic productivity. However, others see the emergence of a ‘new urbanism’ as a socio-spatial concept and still others proclaim a new quality in the intertwined urban regions under the heading of ‘network-city’. The contrasting perspectives seem to lie between de-localisation (the loss of the meaning of space and face-to-face relations, the increasing importance of information and technology as a consequence of globality) and an increasing importance of locality (enabling milieus, civil society). In order to provide the local ‘foundation’ for the lives of their populations, cities will in future have to ‘pro-actively’ find a balance, which enables them to cope on a global level and is locally embedding for their populations.

There were two dramatic shifts in central and eastern Europe affecting politics, economy and society during the 20th century: nationalization-centralization-totalitarianization versus, four decades later, privatization-decentralization-democratization which are presently deeply influencing debates and action. It is no wonder that there is hardly a clear vision existing about an urban future and paths and methodologies of development.

The course will focus on the analysis of eastern and western European cities under the influence of globalisation and on fields of urban strategic planning.

Objectives of the course include:

  • Providing an understanding of the potentials and the problems of the ‘European City’ in transforming Europe. Theoretical concepts from a history-oriented perspective of urban development (distinguishing the socialist centrally planned and the capitalist market oriented city development) towards the ‘modern’ machine-type urban concept and network-city approaches will be debated on the basis of a contrasting view on different eastern and western European countries, regions and cities.
  • An analytic view of the structural situation of different cities under transformation regarding the social, economic status and the trends of development will be taken. Which European cities are moving towards ‘higher ranks’ in the competition for wealth and a civic culture with respect to sustained development and which are declining? What are the key factors for the apparent polarisation? Does the future look brighter for metropolitan regions or for medium-size-towns? What are the social, economic and physical elements that seem to matter? What are the roles of social milieus and the built structures for development?
  • Information will be given about best practices for urban governance and planning that can prevent the loss of the quality of the city as a social and economic environment and can help cities to manage their situation in a positive way.
  • Recent ‘western’ and ‘post-communist’ approaches for urban governance will be analysed. What are, for instance, the implications of a more centralised type of urban governance vs. a strong district autonomy for the development of an influential civil society?
  • The recent urban policy concepts for an integrated development, currently debated among planners and researchers will be discussed.
  • Emphasis will be laid on the interdependence between urban ‘master planning’ and the local level. What are the implications of the emerging ‘integrated neighborhood’ policies in western Europe (like the ‘Social City’ programme in Germany, the ‘New Deal for the Cities’ in the UK or the ‘politique pour le cité’ in France) for the overall development of the cities? Emphasis will be laid on local governance, partnership and the role of a civil society as ‘carriers’ of an embedding development. What are the roles of politicians, administrators, and the planning professions in the ‘enabling city’ of the 21st century?
  • European level policies will be discussed, concentrating on the European Union (including the case of the candidate countries). How can a balance be achieved in the wish for technological-innovative development and the unavoidable handling of growing urban problems? What role is aimed to be given to cities, as opposed to nation-states and regions, in achieving the main long-term goals of the European Union? Will the 21st century be the century of the cities?

Course level and target audience

The course is intended to be an interdisciplinary and interactive learning event for younger faculty members teaching at universities, from institutions of adult-education or research and for practitioners with an academic background from government to grass-root level. Whereas the ‘European City’ is in the focus, participants from non-European CIS countries are also encouraged to apply. As planning and development theory and governance are in the focus, a wide range of professional knowledge and practice would be an appropriate basis for participation: i.e. sociologists, planners, administrators, architects as well as transfer oriented media producers and community developers. Priority will be given to participants who are willing to demonstrate their own ‘home’-experience in analysis, research or practice. Building on the knowledge and skills of the participants, the course will be analytically demanding and advanced in terms of its comprehensiveness.

Teaching methods

Even though some ‘frontal’-teaching of primary inputs will be necessary, integrating the students in discussions and student presentations will be a major part of the methodology. The course will make an extensive use of the fact that it takes place in Budapest, one of the most rapidly changing metropolises of central Europe. Field-encounters and panel debates between academics and practitioners about ‘best practices’ will be part of the course as well as panel debates about urban theory. The students will find the opportunity to present local cases from their own environment and to re-assess these strategies in a workshop situation. A discussion about innovative teaching methods for urban development professions will also take place.