TU Dresden | Wintersemester 2022 / 2023

Envisionig postgrowth urban planning

Our present global environmental crisis puts into question the model of sustainability used in architecture and urban planning.

The ideal of green growth, which assumes a technological discourse, has been put into question recently. But while a plethora of academics and activists, like Architects for Future, reject the green growth paradigm, there is no alternative urban development imaginary replacing it. This favors the appearance of green washing urban proposals, which use green growth strategies while appropriating the language of radical environmentalism.

This course explores how spatial interventions can truly embrace a radical environmental agenda. To do this, students will explore how architectural and urban projects can describe a radical environmental alternative for cities.

The course will depart from key texts reacting against the green growth agenda to critically discuss the potentials, reach and shortcomings of radical environmental propositions in architecture. Based on this, students will portray radical environmental strategies that can be used in architecture culture. To provide conceptual input to students, the instructor will lecture and discuss with students about green urban growth, degrowth, and critical cartography.

The course will contribute to chapters of the monograph “Sufficient Urbanism: An Urgent Plea”, to be published by Jovis. In this context, students’ work will be credited.




Throughout the semester, students will build a visual argument persuading an imaginary audience of the need to build minimal urban interventions. To do so, they will analyze an existing project with a radical environmental agenda, to create a visual narrative that persuasively renders the positive aspects of the project. This will require a critical and creative interpretation of architectural projects and their representation.

Students will use text and visuals to portray the value of such minimal projects. The representation system developed by students should be simple, consistent and rich.

Project I

Each student will choose a case study among a pool of projects provided by the instructor. After performing a background research, they will explain how the chosen project leads to a radical environmental agenda. They will develop this graphic analysis by incorporating text and images into a page template provided.

Project II

Students will critically re-edit the narrative of the Project I developed by one of their colleagues.

Project III

Students will re-edit the narrative of the Project II of one of their colleagues and elaborate a standardized book page format analysis.


10/10   Introduction

   Introduction to course content, instructor presentation and group discussion

17/10   Topic presentation and discussion:

   Topic: The appeal (and the shortcomings) of green growth

24/10   Topic presentation and discussion:

   Are there (really) alternatives to urban green growth?

31/10   Reformation day (no class)

07/11   Individual desk-crits

14/11   Individual desk-crits                

21/11   Project I presentation

   Interpretation of Project I arguments, followed by a group discussion

28/11   Individual desk-crits    

05/12   Individual desk-crits    

12/12   Individual desk-crits

19/12   Project II presentation

   Interpretation of Project II arguments, followed by a group discussion

09/01   Individual desk-crits

16/01   Individual desk-crits

23/01   Individual desk-crits

30/01   Individual desk-crits

06/02   Project III presentation



The grade distribution is as follows

Project I        24/10         30%

Project II       19/12         30%

Project III      06/02          40%

The grading will take into account the graphic and written quality of students argumentation, as well as the relative effort put by each student given the different representation methods chosen by each student, and the availability of data for each case, and the input received from a previous student.



Bibliography: Information about possible case studies and theoretical references will be placed in Opal.

Graphic Standards: Students will initially use an InDesign page layout provided by the instructor, as well as some references for text quotations. Additional details regarding the outline of their assignments will be provided by the instructor.

Language: The course is offered in German and English. Students can speak and write in their preferred language; and instructor will suit to the need of students in each language.

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