AR-680 / 2 credits

Teacher(s): Cogato Lanza Elena, Invited lecturers (see below), Pietropolli Tommaso, Viganò Paola

Language: English

Remark: December 12-14, 2024


Only this year


In a context of global crisis, the 16th IFoU conference focuses on attempts, approaches, and solutions on local level. To what extend are they able to reduce the impact of environmental disasters, to improve resiliency and social integration, to overcome fragmentation, segregation, and separation?


Urbanism of Hope: Reframing the Local and Global Perspectives

2024 Conference of the International Forum of Urbanism (IFoU)

For the first time in its history, the 2024 IFoU Conference (12-14 December 2024) will be organized as a collective event by five member institutions: the University of Auckland, NTU Taipei, EPFL Lausanne, TU Delft, and the University of Buenos Aires. Over the course of 3 days, five sessions will run in sequence, each hosted by a participating institution and dedicated to a subtheme. All the sessions will be accessible online and in-person in the different venues.

In the midst of a structural crisis worldwide that is characterized by natural disasters, growing social and economic tensions as well as increasing political, even military, conflicts, the conference will focus on attempts, approaches, and solutions on local levels: to what extent initiatives on a local level can combat or reduce the impact of environmental disasters,  improve local resiliency, stimulate the local economy and social integration, bridge political contradictions, and overcome fragmentation, segregation, and separation.

To investigate possibilities and opportunities of an "Urbanism of Hope", the five venues of the conference addresses the following topics:

1. Local government and participation (NTU Taipei)

The focus is on models and methods. How can a city be successfully developed and governed on behalf of their citizens, despite all pressure from outside? Which approaches of empowerment and participation can contribute to a citizen's city? How local identity, commitment, and initiative can be stimulated? What is the role of public space and communal space in this framework?

2. Local Resiliency (EPFL Lausanne)

In which way natural and other disasters can be faced on local level. Which preparations in the framework of urban planning and design are possible, and necessary? Which post-disaster strategies can be applied? The topic includes long-term strategies to reduce vulnerability and external dependency regarding energy, water, and food provision on local level.

3. Spaces of Integration - Living together (University of Buenos Aires)

The recent crisis increases income disparities and the tensions between different ethnicities and different beliefs. Additionally, many cities and regions are confronted with an increasing number of refugees that in many cases generates new social conflicts and hate. In which way spatial segregation and exclusion can be avoided/reduced? How social integration can be organized under these conditions? How urban planning and design interventions can support a peaceful living together?

4. Spaces for local economy (TU Delft)

Political conflicts and trade restrictions on the one hand, climate change and the demands of environmental protection on the other increasingly generate problems for the local economy and the employment on local level. Which spatial interventions can stimulate local economy and employment under these conditions? What is the role of informal economies, their impact on and their demand of urban space? In which way spaces for co-working and combined working-living spaces can improve both economic productivity and quality of living?

5. Mobility, Connectivity and Accessibility in the Age of Mediated Relationality (Chinese University of Hong Kong + University of Auckland)

Competitive cities and functioning economy highly rely on efficient movement of people, information, and goods. How can the connectivity and accessibility within the city and with the surroundings be improved? What kind of multimodal transportation system is most affordable, energy-saving, and environmental-friendly? How a city of short distances can be realized? What is the role of bicycle and pedestrian networks in this framework? Finally, in which way connectivity and accessibility can be approved by ICT and fast mobile internet (Smart City Model)?

EPFL sub-theme

Local resiliency: Crisis and catastrophes as laboratories of local/global innovation, adaption and socio-ecological change

The EPFL session will investigate ways to deal with natural and other disasters on a local level on different time horizons: before, during, and after the crisis. Preparedness is possible and necessary in urban planning and design, but this would not contribute to improving living conditions. Territories also require exploring new visions and long-term strategies to reduce vulnerability and external dependency regarding energy, water, food provision, and social infrastructures. The EPFL seminar session will include international PhDs and researchers' presentations (through a call for contributions), engaged in three parallel moderated panels. Keynotes and a collective round table will complete the event.

Student's participation and requirements.


Registered doctoral students will get access to the five IFoU sessions online; they will

a) attend the online opening keynote,

b) attend in person the EPFL session (local keynote, round-table, one panel of choice) and

c) attend at least the four other local keynotes online or recorded.

A term paper is due in the weeks following the seminar.


Attendance with profit in these activities will entitle students to 2 ECTS credit.


Moodle Link

In the programs

  • Exam form: Written & Oral (session free)
  • Subject examined: Urbanism of Hope. 16th IFoU Conference.
  • Lecture: 12 Hour(s)
  • Exercises: 30 Hour(s)
  • Type: optional
  • Exam form: Written & Oral (session free)
  • Subject examined: Urbanism of Hope. 16th IFoU Conference.
  • Lecture: 12 Hour(s)
  • Exercises: 30 Hour(s)
  • Type: optional

Reference week

Related courses

Results from