Planning Economic and Urban Neighborhoods in Transition - The Case of Berlin

Have you thought about how the aging society will affect major European countries? Or how migrants are integrated into European cities? Maybe you would like to know more about the creative class in Berlin? There are many changes and challenges European cities are confronted with today, and we are going to hunt them down in the city of Berlin!

Course periodJan. 9, 2023 - Jan. 27, 2023
Category Metropolitan Studies & Urban Development
Course levelsBachelor
Class size

max. 18 participants

Credits and certificate

Participants will receive 5 ECTS credit points and a certificate if they attend classes 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-Universität.

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

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

How is the ageing society affecting our neighborhoods? How are migrants integrated in the neighborhood context? 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 developments. As a result, several of these aspects will be explored and explained during short excursions in Berlin.

Students of all relevant disciplines who are interested in different aspects of urban and neighborhood transition, 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).


Syllabus (PDF)

Course structure

Academic lessons

  • You will receive a total of 45 hours (one lesson equals 45 minutes; 15 hours per week).
  • Lessons will comprise lectures, group work, discussion sessions, excursions


Schedule (Track B):

Monday: 1.30 pm – 3 pm & 3.20 pm – 4.50 pm

Tuesday & Wednesday: 9.00 am – 10.30 am & 11.00 am – 12.30 pm

Friday: 1.30 pm – 3 pm & 3.20 pm – 4.05 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, Ice Skating, Exhibitions, Farewell Party…

Language skills English: B2 - proof will be required
Motivation Letter about one page in English
Student Profile

Undergraduate students with an interest in city and regional planning, geography, politics, social sciences, economics.

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.

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.

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

This course can be combined with: