Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Bottom Up Strategies for Urban Regeneration

Bottom Up Strategies for Urban Regeneration
First semester
Main language of instruction: English

Teaching staff

Teaching staff are available by appointment through email.


This course will give students a multi-disciplinary perspective on urban regeneration through the integral use of bottom-up strategies. Specific case studies and projects will allow students to examine the and develop tools for mapping, working with groups of different cultures, built environment analysis, as well as tools for measuring land use issues. Students will have an increased understanding of how design responds to social and environmental issues and of the methods to involve community members in decision making.

This course will also examine appropriate, low-tech construction and building materials, their techniques and their application in various contexts. Students will examine the urban planning of these contexts, how they came to be, and how it enables and responds to the lifestyles, culture, and climate of the region. It is very important to strengthen the social structure of the place where the work is being performed, by providing improved construction techniques and organizational forms. These will bring the population greater autonomy and greater quality of buildings, enhancing their comfort, safety, identity and sense of belonging.


To introduce a variety of cases of innovative community-based revitalization in the global North and South, with the guiding principle and tenet that many cities around the world have similar spatialities, connections and processes and that comparative urbanism beyond the North-South divide and towards post-colonial urban studies is valuable for learning and reflection.

To explore the contrast and connection between bottom up processes of urbanization and community design compared to top-down, institutional practice. 

To offer students a variety of examples, tools, and techniques that can foster innovative community-based environmental revitalization projects.


  • 01 - That students apply the knowledge acquired and the capacity to solve problems in underpriviledged places in multidisciplinary contexts related to the area of international cooperation.
  • 05 - Aquire a methodolgy based on interdisciplinary criteria in order to develop sustainable architectural projects.
  • 06 - Aquire a specialized knowledge in the management of materials and human resources for each project development
  • 07 - Be capable of aplying to a specific project the knowledge acquired.
  • 08 - The capacity to develop planing tecniques of projects developed by interdisciplinary profesionals of cooperation organizations.
  • 09 - Acquire the knowledge of urban develpment strategies in acordance to local and regional cultures
  • 11 - Be capable of understanding the needs in order to give multidisciplinary responses to complex problems related to urban planning
  • 13 - From a specialized standpoint, to be able to select the criteria for sustainable development solutions applied to planning projects at a territorial, regional and local scale.
  • 14 - To know and apply the practical and theoretical principles for the conservation of sustainable resources in urban development.
  • 17 - Be capable of offering integrated transport system solutions that are adecuate to sustainble urban development.
  • 18 - Be capable of proposing action plans to prevent human and material disasters
  • 19 - To propose and develop constructive techniques based on local cultures and materials
  • 20 - Acknowledge local resources related to energy systems and apply them to constructions.
  • 21 - Saber aplicar los conocimientos en técnicas constructivas low-cost, fundamentales y universales, aplicables a todos aquellos países en fase de desarrollo o afectados por catástrofes naturales y humanas.
  • 22 - To know how to adapt construction materials in order to develop alternative, sustainable, and low-cost construction techniques
  • 25 - To know how to apply the knowledge acquired of the 'macro logic' tool for the planning and management of international cooperation projects
  • 26 - To be capable of developing, through a critical analysis, a manual that defines from a systemic point of view the priority of intervention for projects developed by international cooperation agencies.
  • 27 - To know how to apply the methodologies applied by the international cooperation agencies and local entities

Learning outcomes

Various forms of settlement and urban growth methods will be studied, especially learning to elaborate planning according to the tools and features of the site. The student will acquire tools to stimulate the collaboration of people in participatory processes.

Understanding of some of the key factors that need to be addressed in successful development and relief projects.

Understanding how a successful project is constructed that addresses these factors in development

Teaching and learning activities

In person

Group work, case study analysis and group presentations.

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

1. Participation in class 

2. Analytical skills and ability to develop eventual proposals providing specific solutions to the problems raised 

3. Ability to develop teamwork and leadership skills 

4. Ability to integrate in the student’s own project/exercise what has been learnt during the lectures.

5. Ability to put forward in public the work and/or research developed during the course

Bibliography and resources

Basic bibliography listed below, class material will be provided prior.


Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City, MIT Press, Cambridge MA 1960

Hassan Fathy, Architecture for the Poor, Ed. The American University in Cairo Press, Egypt, 

1989, ISBN: 977 424 575 X

Ian Davis, Emergency architecture

Van Lengen, Johan “The barefoot architect” A handbook for green building, Shelter Publications, 2008  ISBN: 978-0-936070-40-7

Shigeru Ban. Editorial Gustavo Gili, Barcelona, 1997       ISBN: 84-252-1721-0

Shigeru Ban. Laurence King Publishing, London, 2001        ISBN: 1-85669-301-5

Hugo Houben, Hubert Guillaud.  Traité de construction en terre.Editions Parentheses. 1989 Marseille. ISBN 2-86364-041-0

Peter Walker, Rowland Keable, Joe Martin, Vasilios Maniatidis, Rammed earth. Design and construction guidelines. 2005. ISBN 1-86081-734-3 Informes de la construcción, Earth as Building Material

S. Bestraten and E. Hormías Informes de la Construcción. (Coord.)Vol 63, No 523 (2011) doi:10.3989/ic.2011.v63.i523