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Department of Spatial Planning
Winter semester 2023/24

Seminars and lectures

Prof. Dr. Karsten Zimmermann

091171 | Lecture with Seminar | 2 SWS | German | 2 Credits

Day            From   To         Place                                                     Start                End

Tuesday   12:15   13:45   Lecture Hall Building I - HS 3   10.10.2023     30.01.2023

Cancelled 21.11.2023 (excursion week)

moodle room

European Spatial Planning and Planning Systems in Europe

The lecture offers a basic introduction to the increasingly important European dimension of spatial planning and spatial development.

In the first part of the lecture, the competences and initiatives of the European Union are presented. The main focus is on the European Spatial Development Perspective and the Territorial Agenda of the European Union. Based on the presentation of these basic documents of European spatial development policy, aspects of implementation will be addressed. This includes, for example, cross-border cooperation or planning (formerly INTERREG, now European Territorial Cooperation) and ESPON (European Spatial Observation). In addition, the spatially effective specialist policies of the EU that go beyond spatial planning are addressed. Particular attention is paid to structural and regional policy (Structural Funds). Other spatially relevant policies are transport policy, environmental policy, competition policy and agricultural policy.

The second part is devoted to a detailed introduction to various European planning systems, including the Netherlands, France, England, Italy, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.

The lecture seminar will be guided by the following questions: How far has the European integration process progressed in the fields of spatial planning, urban policy and spatial development? What are the goals of European spatial development? What means does European spatial development policy use? What are the consequences for spatial planning on the levels of nation states, regions and municipalities? Is there a Europeanization of spatial planning systems in Europe? How do the spatial planning systems in the states of Europe differ? Can we learn from the Netherlands or France?



B.Sc. RP (2012): Successful completion of modules 1, 2, 8, 9 and 12 to take the module exam (deadline: exam registration).


Performance record

Examination: Module examination (graded)

Type of examination: Oral examination (20-30 minutes)

Examination content: The contents and competences listed in the module handbook are relevant for the examination (conveyed via all elements of the module); examinees can make suggestions for examination topics.

B.Sc. RP (2012): Assigned elective courses (2 in total): Two out of three courses have to be taken

Prof. Dr. Karsten Zimmermann

092011a | Lecture | 2 SWS | English

Day              From    To          Place                                Start              End
Tuesday    14:15    15:45    Geschoßbau III 214    17.10.2023    30.01.2024

Cancelled 21.11.2023 (excursion week)

moodle room


This lecture gives an overview on current topics of the scholarly debate on spatial planning. This includes co-production, climate urbanism, comparative planning studies, digitization, planning conflicts, urban design governance, planning policies, etc.. 

I will present these topics by referring to research projects. This allows us to learn about research design and methods – something students need for their master thesis. The lecture will have also seminar-like elements and gives room for student presentations. Hence, students are requested to read the material provided on the moodle platform.  Students need to submit a written assignment, Details to follow in October.  

Performance record

5 pages essay


Prof. Dr. Karsten Zimmermann

Dr. Raffael Beier

0920361 | Seminar | 2 SWS | English | 4 Credits

Tag                     From     To           Place                                                 Start                 End
Wednesday    8:30      10:00    Geschossbau I - Raum 301     11.10.2023      01.02.2024
Wednesday    10:15     11:45     Geschossbau I - Raum 301     11.10.2023      01.02.2024

moodle Raum


Part I (Zimmermann): 

Which are the great policy successes with regard to urban transformation? What is Vancouverism and why did it become one of the best known urban policy ideas for tramsforming cities? In this course students will work in groups on a number of cities that represent successful cases of urban transformation. These include Medellin, Vancouver, Melbourne, Kassel, Offenbach, Bremen, Liverpool and some more examples. We will learn about and discuss critically the strategies, tools and projects that have been implemented in these cities and – on a more abstract level – try to identify the underlying paradigms of global urban development. This allows us also to discuss global policy transfer and policy mobility.


Part II (Beier): Megaprojects and Discourses of Transition

Currently, megaprojects shape urbanisation and regional development across the globe. Be it the construction of new cities, satellite cities, or regional transportation infrastructures such as ports, railway systems or roads: we are in the midst of a new construction boom that is often accompanied by a revival of regional and state-led planning. In many cases, megaprojects closely connect to state-driven discourses of “modern”, “green”, and “inclusive” urban transition as part of a city’s or a state’s aspiration to “world-class”. This seminar engages critically with histories and current manifestations of megaprojects by paying particular attention to the framing role of underlying planning discourses, ranging from global cities and world-class, to informality and nuisance, as well as neoliberalism and effectiveness.

Dr. Prof. Karsten Zimmermann

093052 | Seminar | 2 SWS | English | 2 Credits

Day               From  To        Place                                  Start               End

Thursday  10:15   11:45   Geschossbau I - 410   12.10.2023    01.02.2023

Cancelled 23.11.2023 (excursion week)

moodle room


The purpose of urban and regional development planning is to initiate, plan, program and implement balanced and sustainable socio-economic development. This is a long-term process involving various actors and institutions, both governmental and non-governmental, which must negotiate common goals and be coordinated through appropriate organizational structures and procedures. The choice of organizational and administrative measures can significantly affect the ability of regions to achieve established goals. It is therefore particularly important for development planners to have a sound knowledge of governance and decision-making processes, as well as current discourses on state modernization.

The goal of the course is therefore to (1) introduce students to the theoretical foundations of decision-making, (2) familiarize students with institutional change, (3) learn about organizations (including learning theories), and (4) gain an appreciation of state modernization (e.g., decentralization, multi-level governance).

The course includes analysis of original texts, presentations, and discussions to identify the use of theoretical approaches for practical planning.

By the end of the course, participants will have the analytical ability to link theory-based knowledge to complex, real-world conditions of planning structures at the city and regional levels. They will be able to assess site-specific institutional and organizational structures in terms of their evolution, sociocultural context, and political-administrative environment.


The language of the seminar is English.

The registration procedure for all courses takes place at the beginning of the semester. Information and deadlines will be posted on the faculty website, by email, and at the information and orientation session prior to the start of the courses.

This course is appropriate for graduate students.

Performance record

Participating students will be asked to submit an individual essay at the end of the seminar. More information will be provided during class.

Dr. Dahae Lee

092012 EPK | Kolloquium | 2 SWS | English

Day                From   To        Place                                      Start               End

Thursday   10:15   11:45    Geschossbau III - 301    10.10.2023    30.01.2024

cancelled 21.11.2023 (excursion week)

moodle room


This colloquium organised by European Planning Cultures (EPC) aims to help students write master thesis on topics related to urban transformation. It consists of three components. First, ongoing master theses related to urban transformation will be presented and discussed. This will allow students to get insight into the topics and methods. Second, students present initial ideas for their own thesis. By getting feedback, students can better prepare writing exposé and master thesis. Third, topics related to writing master thesis (e.g. research design and method) will be discussed.

Dr. Stephan Treuke

0920366 | Seminar | 2 SWS | English | 4 Credits

Day            From   To         Place                                                Start               End

Tuesday  16:15   17:45   Geschossbau III Room 214   10.10.2023     30.01.2024

cancelled 21.11.2023 (excursion week)

moodle room


In this class, we will focus on ongoing transformation processes of the Ruhr Metropolis in the context of a sustainable spatial and urban development. In this sense, we shall inquire how this post-industrial area has embarked on a pathway towards a sustainable transformation and how the region is dealing with current social, economic and environmental challenges. Furthermore, we will examine different concepts of regional governance thus far implemented in the Ruhr Metropolis in order to identify the main opportunities and obstacles to future regional strategies of urban and spatial planning, particularly with regards to climate change adaptation. The class seeks to engage in an interdisciplinary and international dialogue on urban transformation and provides a project-oriented approach to spatial development on the basis of several field excursions directly linked to the Emscher conversion and to the climate change adaptation programme “Zukunftsinitiative Klima.Werk” (Emschergenossenschaft).

  1. Introduction, programme overview, requirements for participation
  2. The Ruhr Metropolis: An example for the transformation of a post-industrial region
  3. The cornerstone of a regional transformation: the IBA Emscher Park (1989-1999)
  4. Regional Governance and recent approaches to urban and spatial development in the Ruhr Metropolis
  5. The Ruhr Metropolis in international Comparison: Transformation Processes in post-industrial urban areas in Europe
  6. The Ruhr Metropolis in international Comparison: Transformation Processes in post-industrial urban areas worldwide
  7. Transformative governance: The key to success for a regional approach to sustainable spatial planning and urban development
  8. The Emschergenossenschaft: Portrait of a River Manager (excursion to the Emscher, e.g. Emscherland)
  9. The Emscher conversion: a driving force for a sustainable urban and regional development (excursion Emscher conversion, e.g. Pumpwerk Oberhausen / Kläranlage Bottrop)
  10. Living in the new Emscher Valley: Assessing new concepts of working, leisure, mobility and living along the Emscher and its tributaries
  11. Facing new challenges of climate change adaptation: heavy rain, floods and droughts in the Ruhr Metropolis
  12. Combining climate change adaptation measures and transformative governance: The “Future Initiative Klima.Werk” (excursion to the GVMA, Oberhausen)
  13. Rebuilding Urban ecosystems: water-based solutions to increase the biodiversity in the Emscher-Lippe region (excursion Blaues Klassenzimmer / Erlebnisraum Lippe-Auen)
  14. Outlook and Future Perspectives: Opportunities and obstacles to a regional transformation strategy of the Ruhr Metropolis

Certificate of achievement:

M.Sc. Spatial Planning (2012): Prerequisite for passing this course is proof of successful active participation according to §19 MPO. This includes the following requirements [ to be completed by the lecturer ]. In addition, participating students may take a graded examination (module sub-examination). The choice of the form of examination (usually oral examination or term paper) and its execution are governed by the examination regulations and the module handbook.


Past projects