The teaching in the field of Sustainable Housing Development in the winter semester 2020 / 2021 mostly online

In our projects and seminars, students work in working groups together with teachers, external consultants and representatives of local authorities and investors on solutions for housing in the coming decades. To protect the health of all participants and out of social responsibility, RWTH Aachen University recommends the use of online formats and offers extensive technical support. Our department also considers itself very well prepared for this task due to its experimental blended learning for the organization and delivery of complex teaching formats such as design projects and international cooperation in teaching.

The seminar on City and Complexity in English is offered online by Stefano Cozzolino. The seminar Mixture in the Block will be offered from winter semester 2020/2021 as M1/2/3 project - in cooperation with the city of Düsseldorf. In spring 2021 an independent LODE_PORT workshop will be held in cooperation with architecture students of the University of Michigan in Düsseldorf.

For the first time, topics for bachelor's and master's theses on current topics of research and practical tasks will be assigned in addition to doctoral theses. If you are interested, please inform yourself on our homepage!

Let us overcome the current situation together and learn from it! If you have any questions regarding our teaching offer, please feel free to contact the respective lecturers or Prof. Jan Polívka directly.

Further information from the University and Faculty of Architecture:


Making (middle) city together

The Research Training Group "Mittelstadt as a Participating City

Maximilian Birk, Anastasia Schubina

The aim of the research program is to investigate transformations in selected medium-sized cities and to initiate a (planning/administrative) cultural change on concrete topics, future issues and transformation concerns of the cities. As "agents on the ground", the doctoral students set concrete spatial, structural and planning impulses in selected medium-sized cities and research them in parallel. This transformative research approach includes new patterns of scientific thought and action as well as a fundamentally different understanding of research. The research processes are directly embedded in social issues and strive for social impact.

You can download the entire text under Mittelstadt als Mitmachstadt.


Interview: "No more feeling at home" - How Airbnb-renting adds to the cities

Street exodus with residential buildings Copyright: © ILS, Roland Fechter

Airbnb is changing the structures of a city in the long term, says urban planner Jan Polívka on SWR2, and not only in the housing market. Service providers such as restaurants and stores are also increasingly focusing on the needs of short-term tourism. This leads to rising rents, crowding out and long-term conflicts between residents and tourists.

There are both cities and communities that have fewer problems with tourists and those that are constantly suffering from "tourist bombardment". Therefore a uniform regulation would hardly help.

You can find the interview on the topic here.



Working Paper: Corona 2020 and beyond

silhouettes and viruses Copyright: © NWB

The ILS Spatial Planning and Urban Design Research Group for Adaptive Urban Systems research and the Sustainable Housing Development Department have together published a Corona Working Paper.

Since we are dedicated to what we call adaptive urban systems, the mission is to support regions, municipalities, and communities in enhancing their ability to react to diverse driving forces, including global pandemics. In collaboration with our partners from the planning practice, we plan to accomplish this mission by raising these regions’ level of adaptability and flexibility in terms of the physical, functional, and societal components of their systems.

More information here...


Publication: "Urban Integration. From Walled City to Integrated City"

Book Cover Copyright: © LIT Verlag

In the context of Transforming City Regions, phenomena such as globalization and digitalization accelerate change and bring several aspects of life into motion. If used in a smart way, such developments might trigger a promising dynamic for local people, their living environment, and regional economy. "Urban Integration: From Walled City to Integrated City" reflects on the challenges such dynamics encompass and also on the significance of social integration in urban contexts.

Christa Reicher, Fabio Bayro-Kaiser, Päivi Kataikko-Grigoleit, Sarah Müller, Jan Polívka (Eds.)
Publication: 978-3-643-91179-7


Article: "What is urban design? A proposal for a common understanding"

Book cover Copyright: © Taylor and Francis Online

A new article is online: "What is urban design? A proposal for a common understanding": S. Cozzolino, J. Polívka, R. Fox-Kämper, M. Reimer & O. Kummel (2020), Journal of Urban Design, DOI: 10.1080/13574809.2019.1705776

The lack of a common understanding of what urban design is about is an issue that needs to be resolved. This paper analyzes some relevant contemporary definitions of urban design. Based on this analysis, it first identifies certain general features of this discipline. Then, it provides a general definition, and finally, it clarifies potential misunderstandings. In this paper, any discussion of what makes good urban design is avoided. The main goal is to provide a reasonable definition that can help to navigate the longstanding indeterminacy of this field.

Continue reading...