Germany (Fall)Week-Long Study Tour | Urban Studies Program

Required Course(s)
European Urban Experience: Why Cities Matter
Fall semester

This week-long Study Tour goes to the Ruhr Valley district of Germany. This is one of the densest urban agglomerations of Europe, which is in the midst of transforming from a carbon past to a sustainable future. The Study Tour takes you to Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg and Düsseldorf, major cities traditionally known as centers of industrial revolution and famous for their soccer clubs, but which are now hubs for hi-tech and environmental innovation. Ruhr, ‘the city of a thousand flames’, is now illuminated by a rainbow of colors, and the heavy metal industry has been converted into landscapes of amenity.

Highlights of this Study Tour include the UNESCO-listed Zeche Zollverein industrial complex and the Duisburg Landscape Park, both part of the European Route for Industrial Heritage, along with powerhouses of art & design and contemporary culture.

Tour Objectives

  • Learn about urban strategies for transformations from a carbon past to a sustainable future
  • Study re-adaptions and re-configurations of industrial infrastructure, once closed and disjunct territories, into inviting green landscapes of amenities honoring identities of past heritage
  • Compare and contrast continuous cityscapes and industrial belts of Europe, in this case the Ruhr Valley district, with the U.S.

Possible Activities

  • Get at sense of one of densest urban areas of Europe, spanning from Dortmund in the East across Essen to Duisburg in the west
  • Go intermodal on various types of rail infrastructure: trains, city lines/S-bahns, undergrounds/U-bahns, and street cars & lightrail
  • Explore the European Route of Industrial Heritage – including the UNESCO-listed Zeche Zollverein industrial complex, a monument of industrial architecture, once the pride of coal and steel production and now a showcase of industrial heritage and design innovation
  • Experience new paradigms in landscapes and 'back to nature' throughout IBA Emscher Park and Duisburg Landscape Park North