Rethink the City: New approaches to Global and Local Urban Challenges

  • Job DurationedX
  • Job Duration6 weeks long, 3-4 hours a week
  • Job DurationFree Online Course (Audit)

Project detail


Learn about today’s urban challenges focusing on developing countries, referred to as the Global South. We will debate the benefits associated with three different themes, going beyond traditional urban strategies and policies:
1. Spatial justice
Having fair, inclusive and healthy urban contexts is one of the greatest challenges of cities in emerging economies.
2. Housing Provision and Management
Increasing demand in the Global South calls for alternative approaches in housing provision and management.
3. Sustainable Urban Transitions
In order to transition from our current (unsustainable) system towards a fair and sustainable future we need to pay attention to the social, economic, and cultural context.

In the course, we will address questions such as:

  • Is the ‘just city’ framework applicable to cities with extreme socio-economic inequality?
  • Can community-led housing initiatives provide effective solutions for households in need?
  • How can the transition towards an environmentally sustainable future also be socially just?

In this architecture and urban planning course, academic urban planning expertise from TU Delft is used to formulate possible answers to these questions, and is applied in a range of challenging case studies from Latin America, MENA region, Sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia, , among others. This course offers you a new perspective to understand and analyse the urban challenges of the Global South.

Through a combination of short theoretical lessons, presentation of case studies, testimonies from practitioners and practical assignments you will also learn how to develop a critical perspective about your own urban environment and how to translate this knowledge into analytical tools and innovative urban solutions.


The course is structured as follows:
Week 1: Welcome and Opening
This week is devoted to introducing the course and getting to know each other. This week also contains the first assignment of the course which aims to introduce yourself and the urban challenge in your own context.

Week 2 to 4: Parallel Modules
During these you can choose in which order to take the modules, but there is a fixed sequence of activities inside each module, consisting of lecture videos, quizzes and assignments. In order to keep an appropriate workload, the course team suggests to take one module per week.
Module — Spatial Justice
This module will analyse concrete cases of spatial justice and injustice in emerging economies and discuss how contemporary theories apply in the booming metropolises of the Global South.
Module — Housing Provision and Management
This module will discuss the role of the State, the society and the private sector in housing policies, exploring opportunities for hybrid and alternative housing provision models in different contexts.
Module – Sustainable Urban Transitions
This module will introduce the topic of sustainable urban transitions and will discuss the complexity of these multi-level processes by highlighting the potential of innovation on the small scale and the challenges of institutionalising these innovations.

Week 5 and 6: Final Assignment and Peer Review
The final assignment is meant for you to develop a critical stance towards the urban challenges in your own context, using the theories and tools presented during the course. You will have one full week to prepare your final assignment.

Hot Topics: in these weeks you will also have access to additional videos that discuss hot topics in both the Global South and the urban development discourse. This will complement the content of the modules. These videos are completely optional and they won’t have quizzes or any required practical assignment.

Languages required