Urban Transformation I

  Zeichnung © Prof. Dr. Andrea Haase  

Course Content

This course introduces by lectures and related steps of the exercise basic understandings of „Cultural urban Landscapes“ and their „Spaces“. It considers “Urban Changes” relative to major periods of urban growth in their international historical classification. It defines “Urban Structures” relative to topography, geography, economy, politics and socio-cultural influences onguiding Urban Development and Urban Transformation per time and place. It distinguishes classically different categories for types of “Urban Structure”, their growth patterns, their structural characteristics and long-term values.

It invites to understand present conditions for urban transformation different from preceding industrial conditions of urban development since the upco- ming philosophies of the Club of Rome after the second industrial crisis in Europe (1973). It opens up the critical view onto “modernity” relative to the historically inherent conditions and philosophies in the “making professions” (architecture, urban and landscape design, product design and arts), relative to the main three periods of “Modern Movement”, aiming to overcome the respectively historical ways of (re-)production per period.

It founds a basic understandings of structural conditions for qualitative ur- ban growth by urban transformation on the philosophies of Henri Lefebvre and Bill Hillier (space) and Jacques Ranciere (arts), based on the “aesthetics of use and form” as values of usability, changeability, readability and robustness in everyday working and living condition. “Common ground” is herewith distinguished from “sacred spaces” in order to give respect to the con- text of the urban fabric on one side and specific places with needs for the preservation and conservation of the tangible and intangible heritage and inherited monuments on the other. Adaptive reuse is introduced as the late industrial perspective in architecture, urban design, transport innovations, (green and de-central) infrastructure and in innovative conservation policies from the 1980ies onwards, replacing industrial patterns of quantitative urban growth. “Landscape urbanism” is regarded as a historical movement in consequence of the manifestos of the Club of Rome with major focus on the “Practice of Urban Design”, allowing for the socio-cultural meaning of space to be shaped over time, instead of mainly functional values to be installed as a fixed framework. This outlook includes a continued consideration of “sustainability” as “re-generative cultures”.

Learning Objectives

The students’ home-town in the surrounding region, is the object of a case-study about urban growth patterns by map-analysis and notes from per- sonal memories. Major steps of the task: Time-line of origin and historical influences; Definition of type of urban structure and major characteristics of morphologies. Identification and localization of historical and contemporary urban changes (massive/ small spatial/ lack of ...). Principle sketches illus- trating ongoing processes of the land-market (case of characteristic mor- phology) and needs for counter-balancing the exploitation of natural and man-made resources (scales of morphology/ whole town). The understan- ding of „structural frameworks“ for urban transformation over time, assuring the continuity of the characteristics of a city with „generic“ quality (see Rem Koolhaas, „The Generic City“) is introduced as a valid strategy, bound to the understanding of a “Third landscape” (see Gilles Clement), preparing for healthy living and working conditions by appropriate frameworks for interconnecting mankind, flora and fauna.

Module Responsible

Prof. Christa Reicher, Chair of Urban Design and Institute for Urban Design and European Urbanism

Teaching Staff

Prof. em. Dr.-Ing. Andrea Haase


Thursdays, 10:30 - 12:30, SG 301

Examination Date


Examination Format

Exercise (Map analysis / text) and digital / oral presentation