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Migration & Urban Development

Summer University Term 4: August 19th - August 30th, 2019


Course price: 950 Euros

22 hours of class per week, 3 ECTS credit points, max. 24 participants

Registrations are now closed


This course tackles the prominent, yet wicked question, on how cities deal with migration and immigration and which role migration plays for their urban development. Our focus is on an internationally comparative perspective that allows to see migration as a constitutional part of different forms of mobility that are tied to the urban fabric. While most cities in the global North want to increase the number of their inhabitants and prevent shrinking, cities in the global South grow as fast as never in urban history.

We will consider approaches of formal urban planning as well as actions of the migration communities and the civil society. The course first offers an introduction into general knowledge on migration and the role of diasporas for urban development and frames this knowledge within its historical dimensions. The course then concentrates on different cases of the urban governance of migration in a variety of migration regimes (such as in capital cities like London, Berlin, Rome), which will allow to understand the different institutional settings within planning. Which strategies do cities develop to handle or even attract newcomers? And how do they articulate policies for the marginalized migrant population, for example through their housing and social policies? How do they react on informal settlements? The course will further highlight practices of the migrant population itself by highlighting the transnational character of many types of mobility and the way the diaspora is integrated into development programs.

Learning Goals and Syllabus


Students will learn to deal with migration and population statistics, they will get a sound overview on migration theories as part of social theories, they will get working materials in the field of urban planning as related to different forms of migration.

Students will have an overview on diaspora formation and how it relates to both migrant groups and cities.

The students will get insights on the practices of urban planning in different cities.


You can find a preliminary syllabus HERE

Course components

  • Processing demographic and migration data
  • Theorizing migration and the diaspora, concepts and definitions
  • Urban planning systems in a nutshell, participatory action
  • Case-Studies in the global North (mainly Europe and US)
  • Case-Studies in the global South (Africa and Asia)
  • The additional value of international comparison
  • Lessons learned: Evaluation of the course


The general prerequisites of the TU Berlin Summer University are the following: at least one year of university experience + English level B2 or equivalent.


Prof. Dr. Felicitas Hillmann  is head of the research department “Regeneration of Cities and Towns” at the Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space and holds a professorship on “Urban Transformation in International Perspective” at Technical University of Berlin since june 2015. Her academic career includes positions at the Berlin Social Science Center, at the Institute of Economic and Social Research in Düsseldorf as well as at the Freie Universität Berlin.

She is the author of numerous publications in the field of migration. Her research interests have been focusing for many years on the field of migration studies, especially on international migration, urban transformation and development.

Dr. Burcu Togral is a postdoc-fellow at the Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and at the Institute of Urban and Regional Planning in the Technical University of Berlin and Space who specializes on bordering practices.

Rueben Okine is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Urban and Regional Planning in the Technical University of Berlin with specialisation on the role of the West-African diaspora for urban development.

The three scientists have applied together for the funding of the German Research Foundation (DFG) to do research on the topic of urban planning, migration and the participation of the civil society and will build on their shared knowledge on this innovative, yet underresearched, topic.

Please direct questions about the course to the TU Berlin Summer University Team at: . We will answer your questions and direct specific queries regarding course content to the course lecturers where necessary.


Registration for Term 4 is now closed. Check out our program for Winter 2020!

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Beth Sibly, Director
+49 30 4472 0230