Photo: Sabina Askholm Larsen, DTU

Combining competences for better urban planning

Thursday 23 Aug 18
by Sabina Askholm


Carsten Rode
DTU Civil Engineering
+4545 25 18 52
A European summer course is a unique opportunity for students from DTU, Copenhagen Business School (CBS), and HafenCity Universität in Hamburg to combine their very different academic competences to present new takes on sustainable urban planning.

In a gravelled square at Nordhavnen, the new waterfront city district in Copenhagen, heavy trucks whizz past as a group of students from Denmark and Germany listen intently to the story of the construction of the first 3D-printed building in Europe.

The visit to the 3D-printed house The BOD is part of the summer course Hamburg-Copenhagen Urban Challenge offered by DTU in collaboration with Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and the HafenCity Universität in Hamburg.

The theme of the course is sustainable urbanization, and in the course of three weeks, the students must become better at identifying and resolving complex urban sustainability issues across disciplines.

The students have been asked to compare the two districts HafenCity in Hamburg and Nordhavnen in Copenhagen. The students will therefore visit both cities as part of their course to take a closer look at specific examples of urban planning.

"A course such as this is a chance for the students to combine their competences and come up with socio-technical solutions that can be realised in practice."
Prosfessor Carsten Rode

Combined competences create new solutions
Both Hamburg and Copenhagen have seen the emergence of new districts in the past few years, so quite a few parallels can be drawn between the two cities, according to Professor Carsten Rode of DTU Civil Engineering, who is one of the course organizers.

“It would appear that both cities have experienced some challenges in defining a sustainable profile. It is therefore interesting to look at what the two cities can learn from each other in relation to urban planning. A course such as this is a chance for the students to combine their competences and come up with socio-technical solutions that can be realised in practice, based on input from experts from, for example, the authorities and businesses,” says Carsten Rode.

Important to deliver from day one
For the students, the cross-disciplinary collaboration is also one of the big attractions of the course. According to DTU students Stine Skov Christensen and Vania Mahdi and CBS student Alberte Honore, the course gives the students a good idea of what will be expected of them once they enter the job market.

For example, the students have benefitted greatly from being assigned to groups and knowing that they had to make it work from day one in order to be able to submit their project three weeks later. 

The intensity of the course means that they have had to practise working with students from different academic and national backgrounds, and as a result they feel better-prepared for their future working lives, the three students concur.

Hamburg-Copenhagen Urban Challenge

The summer course Hamburg-Copenhagen Urban Challenge is offered jointly by DTU, CBS, and HafenCity Universität in Hamburg.

Approximately 15 students from each university with totally different backgrounds participate in the course, and together they must plan sustainable districts in the two districts HafenCity in Hamburg and Nordhavnen in Copenhagen.

The project is supported by EU programme Erasmus+, and a number of similar joint courses are offered in Europe under the name ‘Urban Challenge Programme'.

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