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Urban Neighborhoods in Transition - The Case of Berlin

Have you heard of Berlin’s creative class, the ageing society, or the new social dynamics caused by migration? There are many new changes and challenges European cities are confronted with, and we are going to hunt them down in the city of Berlin!

Course periodJuly 22, 2019 - Aug. 16, 2019 Session II
Category Metropolitan Studies & Urban Development
Course levelsBachelor
Class size

max. 18 participants

Credits and certificate

You will receive a graded certificate and 5 ECTS credit points as well as six weeks after the end of the course a transcript of records only in the event of regular attendance (must be present 80% of the time) as well as active class participation.

Application deadline June 1, 2019, or when participant quota is reached Application period over.
Course fee680.00 Euro | (excl. program fee and discounts)


The aim of this course is to understand and learn about the different challenges European regions are facing, e.g. integration and migration, social exclusion, demographic change, creative milieus, economic decline, shrinking cities and ecological renewal.

- How is the ageing society affecting our rural and urban areas?

- How are migrants integrated in European cities?

- Does Berlin have a creative class and if so, how does it affect the city?

These are only some of the questions that will be discussed in the course. The city of Berlin is a hot spot for various regional developments. As a result, several of these aspects will be explored and explained during short excursions and day trips in Berlin (e.g. ethnic businesses and the migration situation in Neukölln, the newly developing zone Tempelhofer Feld).

Students of all relevant disciplines who are interested in different aspects of European regional development, including e.g. city and regional planning, geography, politics, social sciences and economics, are most welcome to join this course.

Participants will be invited to draft a presentation on a specific topic discussed in the course (including e.g. the home regions of the participants).


course program (PDF)

Course structure

Academic lessons

  • You will receive a total of 45 contact hours (one contact hour equals 45 minutes; 11 contact hours per week).
  • The lessons are held three times a week.
  • Lessons will comprise lectures, group work, discussion sessions, excursions.


Schedule (Track C)

Tuesday: 1.30 pm – 3 pm & 3.30 pm – 5 pm
Wednesday: 1.30 pm – 3 pm & 3.30 pm – 5 pm
Friday: 9 am – 10.30 am & 11.00 am – 11.45 am


Cultural extra-curricular activities:

HUWISU offers a fine selection of interesting extra-curricular activities and aims to give all participants an unforgettable stay in Berlin. Your program includes excursions, sport activities and social gatherings providing you the opportunity to get to know the city, the university and your classmates better and to meet students from all parts of the world. The costs for these offers are included in the course fees.

Activities and tours we offer regularly: Federal Chancellery, German Parliament, House of Representatives, Topography of Terror, Political Archive, Museum Island, Kreuzberg Tour, Daytrip to Potsdam, Boat trip, Beach Volleyball, Exhibitions, Farewell Party…

Language skills English: B2
Motivation Letter about one page in English
Student Profile

Undergraduate students with an interest in geography, economics, cultural studies, social sciences, European studies.

In order to follow the course a very good command of English is required. Participants must be at least 18 years old.

Prof. Dr. Lech Suwala

Lech Suwala is currently a Full Professor (Guest) for Urban and Regional Economics at Technische Universität Berlin. Apart from that, he worked as a Visiting Associate Professor for Innovation Management at Ritsumeikan University, Japan, Osaka and Senior Lecturer in Economic Geography at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He is a geographer and economist with working experience in both science and industry. He has held positions as Research Fellow at Simon-Fraser-University, Vancouver, Canada; Lecturer at the University of Namibia, Windhoek and University of Applied Sciences on Technology and Economics, Berlin. His expertise includes spatial creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship research, European and regional planning, as well as smart und green approaches towards urban development. His research has been published in both peer-reviewed journals (e.g. Regional Studies, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Society and Economy) and internationally edited volumes (Ashgate, Routledge, Springer).

Dr. Robert Kitzmann

Robert Kitzmann is currently research associate  in Economic Geography at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Besides his teaching obligation in the division of Economic Geography he is actively engaged in research on real estate and urban development, for which he was inspired during his graduate research on the consequences of the housing bubble and crisis for the urban development in Phoenix, Arizona. Following his passion for topics related to urban development his doctoral research is dealing with the transformation of Berlin’s housing market and the consequences for neighborhood development. This research and the enthusiasm for his hometown Berlin has led to the elaboration of several seminars and a broad variety of field trips. Since 2013, he is regularly giving insights to international students on how the urban landscape of the growing metropolis of Berlin is transforming.

Ms. Sylvana Jahre, Dipl.-Geogr.

Sylvana Jahre is currently employed as a research associate in Economic Geography. She is holding a degree from the Department of Geography, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and has also gained international study experience at Lund University (Sweden) und at University of Melbourne (Australia). Throughout her work she has focused on issues such as urban policies, urban governance and the connection between space and marginalization. Her doctoral research is going to deal with refugee reception policies in Germany focusing on education. She has taught introduction seminars about scientific working, a methodological course on the preparation of field trips and has participated in various projects in and about Berlin.

CoordinatorPierre Steuer/ Carmen Opolski/ Sanja Müssig
Contact detailsInternational Office
Unter den Linden 6
10999 Berlin


This course can be combined with: