Land in the City - Green in the City

How can greenery and gardens fit into today´s concept of smart, clean, compact, and global cities? In the age of climate change and mega urbanization, urban agriculture and horticulture provide multiple ecological, economical, and social benefits. In this course, we will discuss and explore new perspectives of how cities can be sustainably developed to be greener and more resilient.

Course periodJuly 25, 2022 - Aug. 19, 2022 Session II
Category Metropolitan Studies & Urban Development
Course levelsBachelor
Class size

max. 15 participants

Credits and certificate

Participants will receive 5 ECTS credit points and a certificate if they attend regularly (at least 80% attendance) and participate actively. Additionally, six weeks after the end of the course a Transcript of Records is issued by Humboldt-University.

Application deadline May 15, 2022, or when participant quota is reached This course is fully booked.
Course fee730.00 Euro | (excl. program fee and discounts)


Explore and learn about urban plants and planting. Within intensive industrialization and urbanization the urban greens were lost in many cities. Now with increasing environmental problems, lack of farmland and food supply, gardens can find the way back to urban dwellers and into the cities. The course provides academic research, institional aspects, projects and experiences of urban gardening in theory and practice for future decision-makers in the fields of urban design and planning, civil engineering, architectecture and landscape architecture as well as for students from administration, politics and legislation.

The classes will deal with the history of urban agriculture and garden cultures for example in the old Persian world and the ancient cultures of Mayas, Aztecs and Incas, as well as in North America and Europe. In the classes it will discussed the current role and future of urban agriculture and horticulture in the world, especially in Berlin.

The course will identify and show examples of the ecological, economical and social functions of urban agriculture and horticulture in large cities and discusses the institutional aspects, the protection and the creation of green spaces. The seminars, lectures and field trips will offer specific skills, tools and know-how to manage urban design and environment sustainable, in particular to deal with food production, energy, housing, transport, water and recycling management. Meet experts of urban agriculture and horticulture projects in Berlin, such as green roof and walls, allotment gardens, community gardens and market oriented urban farms (vegetable, fish and algae production). Explore different ways to protect and create urban green infrustructure.


Syllabus (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 B)

Monday: 9 am – 10.30 am & 11 am – 12.30 pm
Wednesday: 9 am – 10.30 am & 11 am – 12.30 pm
Thursday: 1.30 pm – 3 pm & 3.30 pm – 4.15 pm


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

This course is designed for undergraduate students of all subjects with a strong interest in urban planning, ecological, environmental, cultural and agricultural topics.

This course is taught in English, including readings in English. For the understanding of the texts and the discussions in class a language level B2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) is required.

Participating students need to be at least 18 years old.

Mr. Volker Minks, Dipl. Ing. Agr.

Volker Minks holds a master degree in agricultural engineering with specialization in urban gardening, landscape design and sustainable urban planning. Mr. Minks has worked in interdisciplinary research projects in the areas of urban agriculture and horticulture, green technology, innovation and sustainable urban planning in Germany, the United States, Cuba and Brazil. He is currently a PhD candidate atthe Life Sciences Faculty at the Albrecht Daniel Thaer-Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciencesof Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, andaffiliated with the University of Sao Paulo (USP).

His research is related to the ecological, economic and social benefits of green areas in cities as ecosystems, especially in the context of research, practice and education on megacities and climate change.In 2011 he worked as coordinator for the C40 Sao Paulo Large Cities - Climate Summit and co-produced the publication - Building Sustainable Cities. Since 2011 he acts as coordinator and lecturer for the HUWISU summer school course "Land in the City, Green in the City".

Since 2009 he is developing the cooperation between USP and HU Berlin, and organized several KOSMOS Workshops as coordinator and instructor at USP and Humboldt: Berlin meets Sao Paulo: Cities for all – livable and sustainable.

Since 2014 he is part of the Cátedra José Bonifácio of the Ibero-American Center (CIBA USP), dealing with the challenges of Latin America in the areas of international governance, trade, negotiations, security, energy, education, innovation and environment.

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

This course can be combined with: