AR-804 / 2 credits

Teacher: Binder Signer Claudia Rebeca

Language: English

Remark: Dates : 5-13.06.2021 (core week onsite and virtual) ; 24.05-25.06-2021 (entire virtual framing) Deadlines : 15.04.2021 (onsite participation); 01.05.2021 (virtual participation)


This hybrid format of nudging social transformative action allows virtual-global and onsite participation. Participants co-design seeds of systemic innovation for resilient and regenerative livelihoods in direct application with local communities, cultivating new urban-alpine solidarity.



The majority of onsite seats is reserved for the financing institutions ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne. In our new European cooperation on Systemic Design with the partnering institutions AHO Oslo, Technical University Delft and Politecnico Torino, we offer a limited number of onsite seats for PhD’s from these institutions as well. All other PhD students are invited for virtual participation.

The onsite number of PhD students for this summer school is limited to 15. For virtual participation we allow a maximum of 30 participants.

To apply, please register online for either onsite or virtual participation, including uploading a detailed CV and a letter of motivation (300-500 words), stating why you want to participate, how this relates to your PhD project, and how you believe you can contribute to this summer school. If you apply for virtual participation, please reflect about an urban-rural/alpine location near to you, and about a potential "cohort" to build around you as local physical support and experience network – and name both in your motivation letter.

For any further question or inquiry please contact the organizing team by email:

Organizational note to the COVID-19 situation

We plan this summer school as a hybrid format so that it could take place even fully virtual, if required. Ostana mountain community is a remote and very sparsely inhabited place, where physical distance is easy to keep. We take specific precautions according to EPFL/ETHZ and Italian regulations and experience Ostana as the safest place to be. However, we are aware of the challenges to plan for the near future and remain flexible with the summer school schedule. You are welcome to apply to the onsite summer school and cancel your subscription any time before the 1st of May 2021. After that date, onsite subscribers will be able to cancel in case of unforeseen circumstances (i.e. a positive Covid test).


Local identity; resilient landscapes; regenerative economy; mountain communities; urban-rural; cross-scale; tourism; real-world laboratory; Italian Alps; hybrid format.

Learning Prerequisites

Important concepts to start the course

This PhD school accepts applications from higlhly motivated, interdisciplinary students currently enrolled in a wide range of PhD programs. The openness and ability of students to engage with the local community is key for the success of this Summer school. Interest in mountain environments and practical experience in the fields of planning, design, engineering, architecture, mountain tourism, grahical communication or construction are an advantage. Be ready to "get dirty hands" in the mountain soils and to sweat on a mountain hike.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

  • Understand the challenges and opportunities facing mountain communities, recognize their social, ecological, and economic specificities, and identify their strengths and vulnerabilities in coping with future challenges (immersion)
  • Get a feeling of compassion for alpine (rural)-urban circularity, and within social circularity of solidarity
  • Apply systemic design methods to integrate socio-ecological, technical and planning perspectives and cope with the complexity of sustainability challenges in the real world (design)
  • Develop innovative solutions that can support regenerative and resilient mountain livelihoods (regeneration and resilience)
  • Effectively communicate complex problems and systemic design solutions to various stakeholders.



Bibliography will be communicated directly to the participants. Information can be found on the website.


In the programs

  • Exam form: Oral presentation (session free)
  • Subject examined: Summer School on Designing for Resiliency: RE:GENERATE alpine-urban circularity
  • Lecture: 14 Hour(s)
  • Exercises: 28 Hour(s)
  • Practical work: 40 Hour(s)
  • Exam form: Oral presentation (session free)
  • Subject examined: Summer School on Designing for Resiliency: RE:GENERATE alpine-urban circularity
  • Lecture: 14 Hour(s)
  • Exercises: 28 Hour(s)
  • Practical work: 40 Hour(s)

Reference week