280.914 Alternative Urbanism
This course is in all assigned curricula part of the STEOP.
This course is in at least 1 assigned curriculum part of the STEOP.

2023S, PR, 4.0h, 6.0EC, to be held in blocked form


  • Semester hours: 4.0
  • Credits: 6.0
  • Type: PR Project
  • Format: Presence

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of the course, students are able to...

  • devise and conduct a collaborative research project using qualitative social science research methods in an urban context;

  • understand, discuss and analyse concepts and definitions of Social Infrastructure and different dimensions of its accessibility in urban spaces;

  • relate and critically reflect on policies of culture-led urban transformation to those of urban development;

  • present and discuss the conduct and findings of their research in a report and make a plausible case in a final presentation. 

Learning outcomes beyond:

  • Students learn to independently apply and reflect on qualitative urban research methods in small group settings;

  • Students get insights into secondary data sources that can be used to embed and validate qualitative research approaches. 

  • Students gain basic knowledge of current debates in the field of Alternative Urban Studies

Subject of course

How do conceptions of social and cultural policy become part of urban development? How do social- culture-oriented strategies interact with urban policy movements and initiatives that re-emphasize urban production or the circular economy? How do socio-cultural institutions (un)settle current everyday routines at the urban frontiers of densification? Can these be sufficiently situated within the right-to-the-city discourse, or is a complementary care ethic needed to shift the focus from rights-based debates to the quality of meaningful encounters in urban space? Which notions of everyday routines are addressed by applied social, cultural and planning policies and politics?

If these questions resonate with your interests in urban planning and development, this project offers you the opportunity to transfer and implement questions like these into collaborative research projects. 

Throughout the course we are concerned with the role of cultural and social political actors, institutions and strategies in the context of urban development and spatial production. Against the background of different concepts of the city, like the Neoliberal, Post-Political and Ordinary City, we examine the interplay of the implicit rationalities of social, cultural and planning strategies in the urban context. To do so we investigate how and where urban social as well as cultural policies and urban development policies intertwine. How are they spatially productive in the city (of Vienna)? More precisely, how do district development and neighborhood planning (inter)act with further strategic interests of an emerging urban development axis “Wien Süd” in the course of the commuter railway expansion between the main station and Mödling?

Spatially, the project is located along the Southern commuter railway axis, i.e. in the 10th,12th and 23rd districts of Vienna. Thus, it includes (residential) projects like the quarter around Wolfganggasse, the Sargfabrik and projects by the district management Atzgersdorf/In der Wiesn (e.g., Carré Atzgersdorf, Wildgarten and Unilever-Gründe). Together we analyse the role of social infrastructures, cultural institutions and urban development initiatives along this southern post-industrial development axis of Vienna. In addition to the progressive densification, this area has recently become the focus of public attention (for an interested public) due to the investment initiative of the ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) and the associated expansion of the rail and bicycle transport network. 

In doing so, we approach the notion of an Alternative Urbanistik (Alternative urban studies that seek to reach out and intervene) which places a greater emphasis on the needs and interests of city-dwellers through perspectives from the wider field of Urban Studies, social and cultural policy research as well as urban anthropology.

Following the action research (AR) strategies with their interest in the co-production of knowledge and its emphasis on inductive theory building (situated research perspectives), we will use a set of ethnographic empirical tools and situational mapping techniques as our common methodological foundation. In order to make both the findings and the research process accessible to the interested public, we will also look beyond our chosen context by drawing on mixed-methods research strategies. You will gain insights into social infrastructural access and problematise assumptions by including and considering variables such as the presence or absence of particular kinds of social infrastructures in the fieldwork contexts. 

Dates and course plan

Unit 1 
07.03.23 – Introduction/Kick Off -09:00 - 10:30 am

Unit 2,3 
14.03.23 – Alternative Urban Studies - 1:30 - 5:00 pm

Unit 4,5,6 
15.03.23 – Field excursion to “Vienna South”, group formation & topic identification - 9:00 - 3:00 pm

Unit 7,8
21.03.23 – Social Infrastructure in an urban context - 1:30 - 5:00 pm 

Unit 9,10 
29.03.23 – Culture-led urban regeneration - 9:00 - 12:30 am

Unit 11,12 
19.04.23 – Field excursion to Meidling (socio-cultural institutions & players) - 9:00 - 12:30 am

Unit 13,14,15
26.04.23 – Group work (individually) & consultation - 9:00 - 3:00 pm

Unit 16,17,18
10.05.23 – Group work (individually) & consultation, mid-term presentation - 9:00 - 3:00 pm

Unit 19,20
17.05.23 – Deepening & open space - 9:00 - 12:30 am

Unit 21,22
 31.05.23 – Deepening & open space - 9:00 - 12:30 am

Unit 23,24
07.06.23 – Internal presentations & feedback - 9:00 - 12:30 am

Unit 25,26,27
21.06.23 – Final presentations (public) & closing - 9:00 - 3:00 pm

Teaching methods

Fieldwork in small groups; application of explorative, mobile and performative research methods of Alternative Urbanism; focus groups or plenary discussion, and more.

Special emphasis is placed on the planning, implementation, evaluation and critical reflection of the urbanist field research methodology applied, specifically the primarily qualitative empirical data collection (including by means of data walking or cycling interviews, qualitative interview methodology), evaluation of the data collected (including by means of situational analytic mapping strategies), generalization and narrowing of scope, presentation.

Mode of examination


Additional information

The course mainly addresses master students (and late bachelor or early doctoral students) from planning and architecture. We explicitly welcome students coming from other Viennese universities in disciplines relating to urban studies such as educational studies, migration studies, urban design, geography, (work, urban) sociology, political science, landscape architecture, cultural studies (‘Mitbeleger’ at TU Wien). The course language is English. We support students’ active participation in debates and interactive teaching formats. We encourage students to bring in and develop their own ideas and critical perspectives. We seek to create an international level of debate and exchange and welcome students from all countries and cultures. Just contact us: info@skuor.tuwien.ac.at



Course dates

Tue09:00 - 11:0007.03.2023Seminarraum EBU1-2 - RPL Unit 1 - Kick Off
Tue13:00 - 17:0014.03.2023Seminarraum EBU1-3 - RPL Unit 2,3
Wed09:00 - 15:0015.03.2023Seminarraum EBU1-2 - RPL Unit 4,5,6
Tue13:00 - 17:0021.03.2023Seminarraum EBU1-2 - RPL Unit 7,8
Wed09:00 - 13:0029.03.2023Seminarraum AA 02 – 1 Unit 9,10
Wed09:00 - 13:0019.04.2023Seminarraum EBU1-3 - RPL Unit 11,12
Wed09:00 - 15:0026.04.2023Seminarraum EBU1-3 - RPL Unit 13,14,15
Wed09:00 - 15:0010.05.2023Seminarraum EBU1-3 - RPL Unit 16,17,18
Wed09:00 - 13:0017.05.2023Seminarraum EBU1-3 - RPL Unit 19,20
Wed09:00 - 13:0031.05.2023Seminarraum EBU1-1 - RPL Unit 21,22
Wed09:00 - 13:0007.06.2023Seminarraum EBEG-3 - RPL Unit 23,24
Wed09:00 - 15:0021.06.2023Seminarraum EBU1-3 - RPL Closing
Course is held blocked

Examination modalities

The performance assessment is based on

  • Documentation of the collaborative research process (mid-term presentation and submission)

  • the active engagement in excursions and discussions 

  • the execution of an independently developed research project (group-based). The developed research concept as well as the research report to be prepared and the presentations of the results with subsequent discussion are assessed here.

  • Instead of a comprehensive report, student groups have the opportunity to submit an alternative assessment proposal following the presentation of the results. This is then evaluated by the lecturers according to the pre-communicated guidelines. 


Both partial performances as well as 80% attendance are prerequisites for positive completion.

Course registration

Begin End Deregistration end
15.02.2023 09:00 01.03.2023 09:00 08.03.2023 09:00


Study CodeObligationSemesterPrecon.Info
066 440 Spatial Planning Not specified


No lecture notes are available.