Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Socio Spatial Workshop for Integrated Urban Upgrading

Socio Spatial Workshop for Integrated Urban Upgrading
First semester
Main language of instruction: English

Teaching staff

Teaching staff are available by appointment through email.



Dr Carmen Mendoza Arroyo

Dr Raquel Colacios

Dr Apen Ruiz 

Dr Marta Benages


During the past three decades, migratory waves coming from the global south have modified the social map of European countries and have obliged governments to introduce social integration and housing solutions to their political agendas. Today, the crisis in the Western economic system has accentuated the complex social and cultural frictions of the immigrant population, enhancing social fragmentation as well as spatial segregation. This two-week workshop in UIC Barcelona intends to study the spatial inequalities, and lack of social cohesion in a broad and local scale in order to contribute to the discussion of alternative strategies for mitigation and integrative measures towards a more sustainable and resilient urban development path.


The spatial and social qualities of many peripheral neighbourhoods in Barcelona are deficient and facing the need to acknowledge and assess the intricate relationships between the diverse existing cultures and their use and perception of spaces of civic content. Therefore, the course offers a methodological approach which analyses the existing social and spatial values and active organizations in a real case study, hand in hand with all the stakeholders involved (public administration, private sector and civil society). The students apply this methodological approach in which the objective is to understand place-making as part of a socio-spatial assemblage that can help identify and build spatial and social ties. The students will delve into the strategic value of cultural resources in order to reinforce local identity and community engagement.


This workshop introduces the students to a methodological approach which understands place-making as part of a socio-spatial assemblage that can help identify and build spatial and social ties. The students will delve into the strategic value of spatial and cultural resources in order to reinforce local identity and community engagement.


  • 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.
  • 03 - That students may capable of communicating the conslusions of their research as well as the knowledge and resasons that support it, to a specialized and non-specialized public, with clarity and security.
  • 07 - Be capable of aplying to a specific project the knowledge acquired.
  • 15 - To know how to extract global identity factors aplicable to local territorial situations
  • 16 - To know how to apply the knowledge acquired of international socio-economic analysis to systems of local economies.
  • 24 - To know how to manage projects of different scales with the objective of prioritizing individual interventions in multidisciplinary tasks

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

Acknowledge the importance of socio-spatial mapping in the regeneration of degraded and informal neighbourhoods.

Work with urban planning methodologies and tools to target different needs felt by diverse social groups.  

Apply practical spatial skills and knowledge for urban upgrading

Interpret and develop a spatial diagnosis and economic development assessment

Interpret and recollect qualitative data through observations, interviews and informal conversation.

Respond to and work with a client

Perform effectively in a team situation

Develop appropriate written and oral communication skills for addressing the diverse stakeholders involved and their concerns


The students will work in groups and analyse through a socio-spatial analysis, the community’s perception and needs. The methodological process will follow five steps: 

STEP 1 Initial physical assessment of various aspects that may include:

-       Ecological Grid, open spaces, facilities and pedestrian mobility

-       Housing: typologies, morphology and state of the buildings of the 3rd Sector

-       Topography, roadway system and public transport

STEP 2 Social approach: Design and apply qualitative methods in order to understand the everyday practices of the inhabitants

STEP 3 Socio-spatial integration of the data collected and recommendations

STEP 4: Data analysis

STEP 5: Strategic proposals and recommendations.

Teaching and learning activities

In person

Learning that involves group discussions and individual work. Group presentations.

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes. 

Assessment includes presentations, projects and class participation. The assessment may be done individually and in teams. You will be encouraged strongly to collaborate with the other students in the course. Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks. 

Bibliography and resources

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


Anguelovski, I. Neighborhood as Refugee. Community reconstruction, place making and environmental justice in the city: MIT Press, 2014.

Busquets, J. Barcelona: urban evolution of a compact city. Barcelona: Ediciones del Serbal, 2004.

Corner J (1999) The agency of Mapping: Speculation, Critique and Invention. In: D Crosgrove (ed.) Mappings. London: Reaktion Books, pp. 211-252.

Cochrun, S. E. (1994). Understanding and enhancing neighborhood sense of community. Journal of Planning Literature, , 92-99.

Colacios, R. (2015). Social infrastructure as a base for urban regeneration. in favor of identity and cohesion in socially fragmented neighborhoods. In C. Mendoza-Arroyo, M. Ngulube & A. Cañizares (Eds.), Development in context. challenges and sustainable urban strategies (pp. 38-43). Barcelona: Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura UIC.

Cooper, M. (2007). Social framework: Planning for a civic society-investing in social infrastructure to develop social capital. In D. Soule (Ed.), Remaking american communities, a reference guide to urban sprawl (pp. 103-126). Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London.

Corcoran, M. P. (2002). Place attachment and community sentiment in marginalised neighborhoods: A european case study. Canadian Journal of Urban Research, , 201-221.

Costa, J., & Bonal, R. (1981). El problema de la delincuencia en el barrio de sant cosme del prat de llobregat. Barcelona: Fundació Jaume Bofill.

Ferrer, A. (1996). Els polígons de barcelona. Barcelona: Edicions UPC.

Francis, J., Giles-Corti, B., Wood, L., & Knuiman, M. (2012). Creating sense of community: The role of public space. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 32, 401-409.

Gilbert, P. (2011). “Ghetto”, “banishment”, “neighborhood effects”. A critique of the “ghetto” image of french housing projects. Metropolitics,

Gotham, K. F., & Brumley, K. (2002). Using space: Agency and identity in a public-housing development. City & Community, 267-289.

Hayden D  (1995) The power of the place: Urban Landscapes as public history. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Jacobs, J. The death and life of great American cities. New York: Random House, 1961.

Kuo, F., Sullivan, W., Levine Coley, R., & Brunson, L. (1998). Fertile ground for community: Inner-city neighborhood common spaces. American Journal of Community Psychology, 26, 823-851.

Lefebvre  H (1991) The production of space. Oxford: Blackwell.

Mendoza- Arroyo, C (2013 ) ‘Socio-spatial assemblages: The backbone of informal settlement regeneration.’ In: Chiodelli,F., De Carli, B., Falletti,M., Scavuzzo, L. (Eds.). Cities to be tamed? Spatial investigations across the Urban South. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp 90-114.

Sola-Morales, M.  Of Urban things. Barcelona: Gustavo Gilli, 2008.

Talen, E. Design for Diversity. Exploring socially mixed neighborhoods. Oxford: Architectural Press, 2008.

Talen, E. (2000). Measuring the public realm: A preliminary assessment of the link between public space and sense of community. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, 17, 344-360.