April 23, 2019 - HafenCity Universität Hamburg - Master Programme Urban Design, HCU Hamburg
e-flux Architecture
April 23, 2019
April 23, 2019

HafenCity Universität Hamburg

Video still of the exhibition opening Urban Types - Von Häusern und Menschen (Urban Types - of Houses and People).

Master Programme Urban Design, HCU Hamburg
Applications are open

Application window: June 1–July 15, 2019

HafenCity Universität Hamburg
Überseeallee 16
20457 Hamburg

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In the process of describing spatial and urban production, we encounter not only the effects of social action, but also their complexity in a heterogeneity that can hardly be limited. A fundamental characteristic of the produced city thus emerges: a high degree of contingency and indeterminacy. But what does this mean for the mediation of research and design? In our interdisciplinary teaching and research practice, we neither intend to remove indeterminacy as a characteristic of the urban, nor to translate it into familiar explanations, neither to quickly over-plan it, nor even to accept it as an unfortunate framing condition. Our design and research work in the studio therefore consists of enabling ways of dealing constructively with indeterminacy in order to open up any hidden or implicit resources and make them available to a creative process. The studio combines teaching, research and practice inside and outside the university.

Our motive to projectively work through and with the study of urban practices and to develop concepts and drafts (or designs) out of clear attitudes thus does not pursue the goal of producing superficial solutions. We rather attempt to problematise situational conditions and make them negotiable. Students activate "silent" knowledge in order to make it reflexive in collaborative projects. They do so not to simply represent urban realities and diverse models of life, but to ensure and sustainably expand them. One didactic challenge of dealing with the processes of urban production across disciplines is to think together design and knowledge production in urban design. Students practice dealing with materially and socially heterogeneous practices that (re-)produce cities. This expanded understanding of the city is also reflected in the extension of the disciplinary repertoire into knowledges and methods of various disciplines concerned with urban research. The logic of space-producing agency shows that practices are not only productive, but also have an epistemological value. Recognizing the urban as a relational set of effects is a central premise for the content-related discussion and the questioning of disciplinary self-understanding. If the analysis of such structural links and novel associations extends into project development and designs that do not attempt to order and close down various opportunities, this allows concrete spaces of possibility to emerge and open up. Building on this understanding of planning a project turns into a confrontation with fundamental questions of living, housing and work.

Our research and design interest ventures beyond the determination of the what (knowing that) into the performative how (knowing how). As we examine everyday practices in terms of their implicit knowledge, the leading question addresses the ways in which practices can be arranged and organized so that they can be connected to collective knowledge and inform the basis for socio-spatial agency.

We consider this approach necessary because of the deficiencies of current planning instruments in urban development. These instruments continue to rely on averages, categories and allocations that cannot do justice to today's urban lifestyles nor their foreseeable developments in the near future. An essential requirement for contemporary and differentiated urban development is to enable participation, collective decision making and collective responsibility. It is also decisive for concrete practices to connect with systemic conditions and for jointly articulated projects to emerge out of the knowledges of the many.

Teaching staff
Prof. Dr. Ingrid Breckner, Urban and Regional Sociology
Prof. Dr. Monika Grubbauer, History and Theory of the City
Prof. Christoph Heinemann, Architecture + City
Prof. Bernd Kniess, Urban Design
Prof. Dr. Kathrin Wildner, Cultural Theory and Practice
M.Arch. Marieke Behne
M.A. Nina Fräser
M.Sc. Dominique Peck
Dr. Anna Richter

M.Sc. Urban Design - Basic facts in brief
Application period: June 1–July 15
Further information

Qualification: Master of Science (M.Sc.)
Programme duration: 4 semesters (2 years) full-time
Credit points according to ECTS: 30 CP per semester, 120 CP in total
Study programme: 3 modules Urban Design Project (10 CP each), 9 compulsory modules (5 CP each), 5 compulsory/selective modules (5 CP each), thesis (20 CP)
The study programme is held in German and English. Some modules are offered exclusively in English.

Academic calendar:
Winter semester: October 1 to March 31
Lectures: Mid-October to early February
Summer semester: April 1 to September 30
Lectures: Beginning of April to mid-July

HafenCity Universität Hamburg
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