COURSE 2.3: Urban needs and requirements (3 ECTS)


Urban heritage is a comprehensive concept. It is not only tangible elements of cities but also intangible, is whatever makes our cities different one from another, it is what builds city identity. So, tangible urban heritage is not definitely only buildings but also systems of buildings, street patterns, urban structure (even territorial organization), green areas, and public spaces representing particular spatial qualities.

Urban contemporary heritage deals with parts of our city that bring to our mind what happened to the city along 20th century, when cities growth become according to different needs and requirements but also building city identity to be respected.

Lately, speedy urban development fails to recognize the characteristics that provide this identity and has not helped to protect it. By the main definitions of urban planning and design, urban needs and requirements, paradigm of systemic thinking, city structure and case studies of city planning and design at different scales this course will introduce students to the controversies of urban contemporary heritage in the context of social needs.

It will also introduce students to the systems of protected areas in the cities and methods of development of areas with conservation priority. Students will apply presented theories performing short practical tasks and course project of city structure modelling and design for augmenting social values and city identity.

Course objectives:

To qualify students in the resilience chain: from the building to cities.

To acquire fundamental knowledge on the evolution of theories and practices.

To develop survey studies, analyses and interpretation guided towards the urban scale.

To explore instruments and methodological tools supporting the characterization, assessment and management of urban contemporary heritage.

To foster critical analysis of social needs and the relation with the heritage scenario.

To build an autonomous and critical thinking on the topics covered, through design assignments or oral presentation.

Course structure:

The course will combine theoretical classes with active learning. Each day a different topic will be treated. Lectures will have a duration of one and a half hour and will be followed by a short practical task. The teaching material related with the lecture will be uploaded to online platform before the class. Class short practical exercises are carried out for each topic so that the students will understand and apply the theoretical contents. In addition, students will also undertake a course project that will be prepared in parallel with short practical tasks, and will be related with the urban heritage of the 20th century. This task will be done in groups, using active learning methodologies, in order to promote cooperative work and collective autonomy. Each working group will study the selected area of modern urban heritage proposed at the beginning of the course. In the exercise, the students will define the urban elements to be protected and used for different social purposes.


20/05/2024 - 31/05/2024


To have successfully completed the course, students will be required to pass all two sections: the course project and the class exercises. The value of each section is as follows:

- %60 course project

- %40 short practical class exercises


The course is structured in 7 modules, with the following lectures (L):

1.- Definition and evolution

L1: Definition and evolution of urban needs and requirements for attending contemporary urban heritage (I. Aseginolaza Braga)

2.- Planning for urban needs and requirements

L2: Current approaches to attend to the existing city and the contemporary urban heritage (I. Aseginolaza Braga)

3.- System-based thinking, city as a system, structure of city and its modelling

L3: Identification of the urban structure and its modelling: Torino case (J. Kamičaitytė)

4.- Designing the city

L4: Study and conceptual design of the selected Torino neighbourhood (J. Kamičaitytė)

5.- System of protected areas

L5: Identification of protected zones/territories of the city (A. Mlinkauskienė)

6.- Development of territories with conservation priority

L6: Modeling of the territories with conservational priority (A. Mlinkauskienė)

7.- Course project

L7: Study and design proposals of the selected Torino quarter(s) with cultural heritage objects from 20th c.

Practical Exercise

Presentation: 20/05/2024, 9.00h

Delivery: 31/05/2024, 9.00h

Supervisors: Jūratė Kamičaitytė (1 ECTS),

Aušra Mlinkauskienė (1 ECTS),

Izaskun Aseginolaza Braga (1 ECTS),

The aim of this practical exercise - project is to identify the needs and requirements of a 20th century neighborhood in Torino to become a 21st century neighborhood regarding the identity that this part of the city has. It will consist of four parts: three parts related to the parts of the course according to the classes and the fourth part that will be completed during the last days of the course.

Parts of the Practical Exercise and final results:

This practical exercise will consist of four parts: three parts related to the parts of the course according to the classes and the fourth part that will be completed during the last days of the course:

1st part of the exercise will consist of analyzing the growth of Turin, identifying the parts (neighborhoods) of the city that were developed in the 20th century. 

2nd part of the exercise will be to analyze the overall urban structure of Turin as a context for the city parts developed in the 20th c. and modelling its sustainable development as well as making proposals for the redesign and use to one of the 20th c. neighborhoods identified. 

3rd part of the exercise will consist of identifying the patrimonial buildings and characteristics that must be taken into account in a proposal for the neighborhood. 

4th part will be a final proposal (project) which will consist of detailing strategies and proposals to update the neighborhood to 21st century urban entity regarding the identity the heritage gives to the area.


Zaleckis, Kęstutis; Kamičaitytė-Virbašienė, Jūratė. (2012). Sustainable development of urban structures: Kaunas Case. The spaces of creation, 16, 46-69.

Salingaros, N. A. (2005). Principles of Urban Structure (Design/science/planning). Amsterdam, Holland: Techne Press. 252 p.

Batty, M.; Longley, P. (1994). Fractal Cities: a Geometry of Form and Function. Academic Press. 394 p.

Schenk, L. (2023). Designing cities: basics, principles, projects (Second revised and expanded edition.). Basel: Birkhäuser.

Cairns, S., & Tunas, D. (Eds.). (2022). Future Cities Laboratory: Indicia 03. Lars Muller Publishers.

Careri, F. (2017). Walkscapes: walking as an aesthetic practice. Culicidae Architectural Press.

Ståhle, A. (2006). Sociotope mapping - exploring public open space and its multiple use values in urban and landscape planning practice. Nordic Journal of Architectural research, 19 (4), 59–71.

Tung, M. A. (2002). Preserving the World's Great Cities: The Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis. Publisher Clarkson Potter.

Wong, L. (2016). Adaptive Reuse: Extending the Lives of Buildings. Publisher Birkhauser.

Logan, W., Labadi, S. (2016). Urban Heritage, Development and Sustainability. International Framework, National and Local Governance. Taylor and Francis Group.

Medina, C. D. & Monclús, J. (2018). Urban Visions: From Urban Planning Culture to Landscape Urbanism. Springer International Publishing, Cham (Suiza).

Velpaus, L., Pererira, A. R. and Colenbrander, B. J. F. (2013). Urban Heritage: Putting the Past into the Future. The Historic Environtment, 4 (1), 3-18.

Eckardt F. and Alsadaty A. (2023). Urban Heritage in Transformation: Physical and Non‐Physical Dimensions of Changing Contexts. Urban Planning, 8 (1), 1-4.

Amati M., Stevens Q. and Rueda S. (2023). Taking Play Seriously in Urban Design: The Evolution of Barcelona´s superblocks. Space and Culture, 1-16.

Casellas A. (2009). Barcelona´s Urban Landscape. The Historical Making of a Tourist Product. Journal of Urban History, 35 (6), 815-832.

Mardones N., Luque J y Aseguinolaza I. (2020). La ciudad del cuarto de hora, ¿una solución sostenible para la ciudad postCOVID-19?. Ciudad y Territorio, vol 52 (205), 653-664.

Useful internet links:

Evaluation and Resit rules:

All the courses/subjects and Master Dissertation have jointly evaluation rules based in the quality of the practical works proposed by the teachers. The student and teachers presence is mandatory. Related with the courses/subjects all the teachers involved in them have to send to the coordinator teacher the individual evaluation of the students

The evaluation level (excellent, good and deficient) will be taken by the coordinator following the opinions of the teachers involved and in agreement with them. The evaluation level will be discussed with the student. If a student fail a course (deficient level), at least one resit per course/subject within the period Block will be allowed. This resit will take into account the new data and solutions reported by the student. The resit evaluation process will be similar to the initial one.

Students with a deficient level after resitting a course/subject will remain bound to the EMJMD until ends of the respective Block where the course is allocated. In these cases, the Academic Committee will review the study performance status of the student and advises on continuation of the programme in accordance with their regulations. Students with very weak study performance (decided by the Academic Committee) may lose their scholarship or may be advised to end their study. Students who quit ARURCOHE early, but have successfully completed several courses/subjects, will get a certificate stating the courses for which they have earned credits (in ECTS). This decision will be communicated to the Erasmus+ Program office.