Planning Alternatives: Complex Perspectives and Processes

UPDATE: First session on Thursday, April 19th!!! Not Thursday, April 12th.


Chang, Robin (EPK)
Seminar | 2 SWS | English

Tag From Until Ort Begin End
Thursdays 10:15 11:45  GB I/ 301 19.04.2018 19.07.2018

This course will introduce students to samples of how complexity is articulated and interpreted in urban planning processes and practices. While the literal sense of the word is common enough in challenges outlined by contemporary policy and research, there is a need and opportunity to improve understanding of how this concept is more than a convenient trend, but also a field of study in itself. By finding insight in Complexity science, this seminar will encourage students to critically and collectively consider how an alternative perspective can help retune approaches to urban planning.

Course Objectives

By the end of the seminar, students should be able to:

  1. Develop a general understanding of how complexity is understood and interpreted in urban and cultural phenomena.
  2. Discuss the original sciences and theories that inform complexity in contemporary urban contexts.
  3. Distinguish key concepts that explain complexity in contemporary urban research.

Office Hours:

Office hours are available for students who need further clarification of concepts presented in the seminar, or have made solid attempts on the homework assignment and require further assistance. Students are highly encouraged to rework misunderstood problems with other peers then discuss them with a TA or professor during office hours. Student visits mean we don’t get so lonely during office hours! Please check the lecturer’s homepage for updated office hours.

Active & Constructive Participation


  1. Summaries Presentations

Summaries are to be  presentated on assigned readings relating to a specific seminar topic. In addition to presenting content in the readings, the presentation should include some initial analysis or critiques. The individual insights will be shared during the presentation or as post-presentation discussion questions.


 Reading Reflections

  1. Individual Written Reflection

To prepare for the reading summaries, all students are required to write and submit a one-paragraph reflection of all assigned readings. Reflections should be submitted by the 12.00 pm the day before the seminar and could include consideration of questions such as, but not limited to: What was the most surprising element in this reading? How did the reading add to my learning? From what position is the author writing and why? Can I use any of the insights in my own life?


 Class Discussion & Debate

Seminars do not function without active dialogue that forwards thematic development. Critical thinking reflecting realities and pragmatic potentialities root dialogue and debate about the readings in this course. It is understood that this class is conducted in a language that may not be the native spoken language. Therefore students are encouraged to clarify language uncertainties and follow up on their own presumptions so that they understand the literature and class discussion.


Evaluation & Grading:

This is a course in which all participants must individually prepare one oral presentation, constructively and actively participate in seminar discussions and provide critical reflections. Student who require graded evaluations must also submit a final submission (10 to 15 pages or an alternative format approved by lecturer) at the end of the semester. The topic of the submission will relate to course material and demonstrate good academic writing. For details and clarification on what good academic writing entails please look into online and printed resources listed in the Writing Tips folder on the Moodle platform. Students are also highly encouraged to discuss and develop the paper’s topic with Robin during the semester prior to submission