Our research group has conducted three field courses so far: 2014 in Leipzig, 2018 in the Ruhr region, and a digital field course in Switzerland in 2021. The next field course will take place in Copenhagen in the summer of 2023.
On this field course, the manifold metamorphoses of the East German city of Leipzig were taken up and discussed from a spatial planning, property rights and human geography perspective. In particular, the historical urban development, the socialist past, as well as the challenges of the subsequent transformation after the German reunification were a topic. Furthermore, the current processes of change in the city and the region were in focus. Leipzig experienced a “Gründerzeit” building boom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After the collapse of the GDR, however, a trend toward deindustrialization and emigration set in. The city was subsequently often associated with vacancy, decay and migration and discussed in urban research as a prime example of a "shrinking city". Lately, this attribution has changed and hardly any other city in the German-speaking world has recently been so strongly associated with "creative awakening".
The two cities of Dortmund and Bonn were visited as part of this field course. Urban development and planning were explored and researched through lectures, guided tours, workshops and bike tours. Industrial wastelands, shopping centers, former federal buildings, and open-pit lignite mines were visited and analyzed and discussed from a post-growth perspective.
Once again, Copenhagen has been declared the most liveable city in the world in 2022: reason enough for us to spend 10 summer days in the capital of Denmark and experience first-hand what makes a city liveable.
During these 10 days we will have experts explain to us how the municipality’s planning and land policy have contributed to sustainable urban development for the last 30 years and in the future. Among other things, we will look at the creation of affordable housing, urban expansion, mobility and climate adaptation. Alternative (e.g., anarchist) urban development ideals and critical voices about the current development will also have their say.