Fiches de cours 2017-2018


Urbanism of Hope. Designing horizons of expectations


Lecturer(s) :

Cavalieri Chiara
Mantziaras Panos
Milbert Isabelle
Viganò Paola





Next time: Fall 2017


The Laboratory of Urbanism and Habitat Research Center EPFL and the Braillard Architectural Foundation, in the framework of The Eco-Century Project®, organise conjunctly the 3rd Working Seminar Bernardo Secchi, under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program.


The disciplines of spatial transformation ' or "design disciplines" ' have regularly played an active role in defining, interpreting and shaping broader visions and systems of values within the project of Modernity and of the social hopes that it embodied. At times marginalized or a-critically absorbed, shaped visions opened to both the individual and the community more or less distant perspectives, or "horizons of expectations" according to the famous term of the historian Reinhart Koselleck. The difficulty today is to compose a convincing collective narrative about the future whereby situating design inside it. Of course, urbanism, architecture, landscape and urban ecology, civil and environmental engineering are always expected to develop strategies based on a long-term global understanding of the human activities and articulate it in specific design solutions according to local needs. But we should bear in mind to what extend have humanities done away with the grands récits. Moreover, the complex management of resources blurs the inherent capacity of the design processes for optimized development beyond merely quantitative preoccupations.

In this context, the Seminar opens the question of design as an interdisciplinary field and as a cultural category, under the following aspects:

'          Design and the Knowledge: how is the transformative activity of design to highlight possibilities, reveal dangers and contradictions?

'          Design and Action: how is the anticipatory nature of design to construct responsible interrogations on the possible, although not always chosen, future?

'          Design and Hope: how could the design culture refresh the collective need to consider positively the 21st century?

The seminar will be held at EPFL Lausanne, Rolex Centre, on September 20th, 2017. The Seminar will offer EDAR PhD candidates the opportunity to follow a full working day of presentations and discussions within an international research environment. The PhD students are asked to deliver a 6000-word paper critically describing, comparing, and augmenting the notion of hope that emerged from at least 3 presentations (of their choice). A commented bibliography is required.


The detailed program of the seminar will be published in the website (see below)


Urbanism, design oriented knowledge, action-oriented design

Acquis de formation

A la fin de ce cours l'étudiant doit être capable de:


Sites web

In the programs

Reference week

      Exercise, TP
      Project, other


  • Autumn semester
  • Winter sessions
  • Spring semester
  • Summer sessions
  • Lecture in French
  • Lecture in English
  • Lecture in German