Planning Complex Cities graduations consider spatial planning and territorial governance schemes in areas and regions, and investigate how these can be improved to achieve more sustainable spatial outcomes. Conclusions recommend institutional change and demonstrate, by means of design, how this can lead to new spatial development patterns. The studio knows three focus areas, notably (1) Complex Cities of the Global South, (2) (European) Complex Cities, and (3)  Chinese Complex Cities. Planning and governance are particular in these parts of the world. Graduations therefore use different bodies of knowledge to explain relations between planning, governance, and spatial development. In methodological terms, the studio focuses on approaches that link institutional and spatial analysis, on comparative planning research, and on design-led approaches to planning and governance. Below it is briefly described how these common objectives and approaches are facilitated during a studio program. Please note that parts of the program still need final confirmation!

An introduction to Planning Complex Cities

The first five weeks of Master of Urbanism graduations are dedicated to orientation. During week 1 and 2 of this orientation period students select a research group and a main mentor. The Planning Complex Cities group assists in this during two events:

Planning Complex Cities: An introduction to graduation topics.
Wednesday, 4 September 2019, 8.45 – 11.15
Room: IO-Hall-O-Hans Dirken (watch out: not at BK!)
By Verena Balz, Gregory Bracken, Lei Qu, and Roberto Rocco
A first event will provide insight into the basic workings of the Planning Complex Cities graduation studio and elaborate upon the topics and focus areas of graduations.

Planning Complex Cities: A workshop to find common interests.
Wednesday, 11 September 2019, 8.45 – 10.45
Room: Pulse Hall 3 (watch out: room change + not at BK!)
By Planning Complex Cities 1st mentors
A second event  helps students to reflect upon the implications of Planning Complex Cities topics for their intended graduation projects. In addition it provides students with the opportunity to meet Planning Complex Cities mentors in person.

Key concepts of Planning Complex Cities graduations

Weeks 3-5 of the graduation orientation period are dedicated to the first drafting of a thesis plan and the selection of a second mentor. During an event series key concepts of Planning Complex Cities graduations will be introduced. Brief lectures on concepts by experts will create a common ground of Planning Complex Cities graduations. Related workshops will help students focusing attention on aspects of these concepts. The series is dedicated to Planning Complex Cities students. Students who have chosen another graduation studio are invited to participate!

# 1
Planning tools and instruments.
Wednesday, 18 September 2019, 8.45 – 10.45
Room: TBM- IZ C (watch out: not at BK!)
By Dominic Stead and Luiz de Carvalho Filho
This lecture will introduce key concepts from the field of planning. It will in particular elaborate different planning tools and instruments, as well as their preconditions and outcomes. Notions will help students to focus their attention on distinct aspects of planning.

# 2
Design, planning and governance.
Wednesday, 25 September 2019, 8.45 – 10.45
Room: TBM- IZ C (watch out: not at BK!)
By Verena Balz, Gregory Bracken, and Rodrigo Viseu Cardoso
This lecture will elaborate key concepts from the field of design and show how these relate to notions on spatial planning and governance. A workshop will help students to combine concepts and notions, so they can determine the role of design in their graduation projects.

 # 3
Territorial governance and participation.
Wednesday, 2 October 2019, 8.45 – 10.45
Room: TBM- IZ C (watch out: not at BK!)
By Marcin Dabrowski, Igor Tempels Moreno Pessoa, and Heleen Janssen
This lecture will discuss key concepts from the fields of governance, and participation. During a workshop students will test different ways to involve notions about actors and institutions in graduation projects, in order to refine the conceptual scope of their graduation projects.

Key methodology of Planning Complex Cities graduation

The period between week 1.5 and the first P1 assessment are dedicated to the finalizing of a thesis plan. A methodology workshop series will help Planning Complex Cities graduation students to predefine intended analyses and to prepare for it. The series complements the Methodology course (AR3U012) and the expertise in spatial analysis and design that students gained during their MSc Urbanism curriculum. It will focus on methodologies that have particular relevance for Planning Complex Cities graduations. The series will involve experts, PhD students, and former graduation students. Sessions will take the form of open discussions/workshops so that the particular needs of individual graduation students can be addressed. Please note that the list of workshops below is indicative!

# 1
Key methodologies of Planning Complex Cities graduations.
Wednesday, 9 October 2019, 8.45 – 10.45
Room: BG West 290
This workshop aims at bringing the general knowledge conveyed during the Methodology course (AR3U012) into the practice of Planning Complex Cities graduations. It seeks to assist student’s choices for methods that fit their intended projects best. The session will involve critical discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of qualitative and quantitative analyses, comparative and in-depth case-study research, methods that rely on documentary evidence and that rely on personal contact, such as interviews. Researchers who are experienced in these different approaches will first briefly reflect on their experiences and then discuss their appropriateness for graduation projects.

# 2
Field work
Wednesday, 16 October 2019, 8.45 – 10.45
Room: BG West 290
Planning Complex Cities graduations are engaged with spatial development in various parts of the world. A critical condition of graduations is in the acquisition of data and information about often distant cases. This workshop will assist students in the preparation of this acquisition, in particular via field work. The session will be attended by researchers who are knowledgeable about the acquisition of data and information as well as former Planning Complex Cities students who have undertaken field work earlier onward.

Peer review of P1 presentations
Wednesday, 23 October 2019, 8.45 – 12.45
Room: BG West 290
The third session of the workshop series Key Methodology of Planning Complex Cities Graduations will be dedicated to the preparation of the P1 assessment. Students will have the opportunity to test-practice their presentations. Their peers and an audience of experienced researchers will advise on in particular the strength of the presented argument. Besides improving presentations, the session will serve as an inventory of topics that students’ projects focus on and that can be discussed in depth in the time between P1 and P2.

Other common activities

Discussing Planning Complex Cities graduations

During week 1.1 and 1.2 students decide upon a research group and topic. From week 1.3 onward Planning Complex Cities students, mentors, experts and PhD students will form dedicated groups to discuss the progress of graduations. Initial guidelines for peer group discussions are the Planning Complex Cities focus areas (China, Europe, the Global South), and the key concepts that relate to these. However, students have a strong say in shaping discussions. In case there occur shared questions across focus areas, the studio coordinator will help to set up discussion.

Peer review and learning @ Ps
The programme foresees exchange and learning during or around assessment moments of graduations. P1, that does not formally require the attendance of 2nd mentors and Delegates of the Board of Examiners, will be a common event. P3 will be organized in a way that supports exchange, in particular between graduation students who share an interest in focus areas. Other assessment moments of students  (P2, P5) will be broadly announced, so students have the opportunity to learn from each other’s presentations. Important P presentations will be prepared by test-presentations, in case students wish for this.

Social events
Over the last years we have developed some routines in building a studio group. A common photo session is among these. During this session Roberto Rocco will have the equipment ready to take portrait photography.

General set-up of the programme

When compared to other MSc Urbanism graduation studios, students who choose for a Planning Complex Cities graduation, enjoy a relatively high degree of freedom in the choice of their graduation topic and location. The above programme is set up to provide them with expertise in regionalization, spatial planning and territorial governance, present at the Department of Urbanism. It is also set up to enhance the formation of groups and sub-groups, and thus cohesion among students whose interests seem first dispersed (Figure 1). The largest group – the studio group itself – is formed by a common interest of all participants in how planning and governance influence sustainable spatial outcomes. Within this larger group are groups that are initially formed by a common curiosity about focus areas. These are enhanced through discussing related key words and concepts. The smallest groups are formed, as in other graduation studio’s, by one student and his or her mentor team. It is important to note that the scheme requires active communication from the side of students, e.g. the timely expression of interests, problems and needs.

Related to the groups set out above are a set of responsible people. These and their functions are listed below

Planning Complex Cities studio coordinator
Verena Balz, v.e.balz@tudelft.nl

  • Helps students find the right mentor during graduation orientation,
  • Organizes lectures and workshops,
  • Assists in the set-up of peer discussions and other events,
  • Assists in the organisation of P1 and 3 (peer review),
  • Provides students with relevant information/runs the Planning Complex Cities website (in case students wish to publish information, please don’t hesitate to contact),
  • Is an important contact in case students have new ideas about the studio format, feel  unsatisfied about it, or face particular problems during graduation.

Researchers responsible for topics in focus areas

  • Assists in the set-up and conduction of peer discussions,
  • Assist students in data acquisition, or the laying of contacts to stakeholders/organisations.

Chinese Complex Cities

(European) Complex Cities

Complex Cities of the Global South

Figure 1. Group formats in Planning Complex Cities











7 thoughts on “Graduation program 2019/20.

  1. Pingback: Upcoming events. |

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  3. Pingback: Orient! First event. |

  4. Pingback: Inclusive Cities – Sao Paulo, Shenzhen. |

  5. Pingback: Global cities – Third event on Complex cities graduations. |

  6. Pingback: Internationalisation and Planning – Fourth event on Complex cities graduations. |

  7. Pingback: Next round! | Planning Complex Cities TU Delft

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