Students took part in a blended intensive programme on Sustainable Urban Regeneration


From 14 to 18 November, three Unite! partner universities – Technische Universität Darmstadt, Aalto University and Université Grenoble Alpes (where Grenoble INP – UGA operates) gave their students an opportunity to join the international and interdisciplinary blended internsive programme (BIP) they developed.

The BIP allowed students to reflect upon a range of challenges related to the sustainable urban regeneration of the suburban commune of La Tronche (Grenoble), located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, South-Eastern France. Over the course of a week, students attended lectures given by academics, local councillors and practitioners. They also benefited from various site visits and tours in La Tronche and Grenoble. The design focus of the workshop involved working in small mixed groups, which allowed students from the three institutions to share their knowledge, methods and perceptions of the area and of the challenges it faces. The event was held at the Institute of Urbanism and Alpine Geography, a department of Université Grenoble Alpes. It was organised by the academics of the three Unite! partner universities, namely Prof. Dr Stephane Sedoux, Dr Cecilia Di Marco, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jean-Michel Roux from the Institute, as well as a number of academics from Université Grenoble Alpes’s School of Architecture. Also, Guest Prof. Dr. Nebojsa Camprag, Dr. Anshika Suri from Technische Universität Darmstadt and Prof. Dr Pia Fricker from Aalto University. The BIP was linked to the postgraduate courses in Urban Design offered by the three institutions.

The programme gave students an opportunity to gain a better understanding of key challenges in urban development challenges through diverse learning activities and a focus on case-studies.

The lectures and discussions included in the first part of the workshop provided knowledge and highlighted diverse challenges of planning for sustainable urban regeneration–such as gentrification, population ageing, heritage conservation, community-building, and general challenges associated with the transformations of socio-spatial and economic structures. Lectures were also streamed online for the students of TU Darmstadt and Aalto University. The walking tours were led by academics and practitioners with a range of profiles (architecture, planning, landscape architecture).

During the second part of the programme, allowed students from all three partner universities to work in theme-based groups. This method provided them with an opportunity to analyse and engage in interdisciplinary discussion and highlight some perspectives for practical solutions to local urban challenges in La Tronche. The workshop concluded with presentation and discussion of student group works, including feedback from international experts and representatives of the local council.

Nearly 40 students attended this week’s workshop. The organisers see this BIP as a real success and have started to work on next year’s event.

“This workshop was designed as the pilot BIP offered with support from the Unite! Alliance. TU Darmstadt & UGA have had a long-standing collaboration between their department of architecture & urban planning through an Erasmus mundus programme. Through the Unite! alliance, they were able to collaborate with Aalto University’s interdisciplinary Urban Studies and Planning Programme, and find common interest on the topic of sustainable development, which also corresponded with Unite! alliance’s objectives. Hence, the three departments decided to focus on providing their students with the opportunity to collaborate and co-create design methodologies and present their solutions on the topic of sustainable urban regeneration of the suburban commune of La Tronche using ‘Urban transect’ as a joint design tool”

–Anshika Suri, Programme Manager at TU Darmstadt

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