Rethink the City won the ´AESOP Excellence in Teaching Award 2017´

The Architecture MOOC “Rethink the City: New approaches to Global and Local Urban Challenges” received the AESOP Excellence in Teaching Award 2017 at a ceremony during the annual AESOP congress,  at the Instituto Superior Tecnico of Lisbon. AESOP is the Association of European Schools of Planning. It gathers more than 150 schools from Europe and beyond. Every year, it gives a prize to most innovative teaching practices in the area of planning and urban studies.On awarding the prize, the ‘Excellence in Teaching Award Committee’ considered that:

This was a very innovative module which emerged in a highly original manner from the  initiative of PhD students from the Global South.  The Committee was impressed by the way in which such a ‘bottom-up’ initiative was accompanied by academic staff and subsequently the institution as a whole. The module was clearly-structured around three key themes of ‘social justice’; ‘housing provision and management’; and, ‘urban resilience’. Themes which it is vital for planners to explore critically, objectively and confidently in a post-truth political climate.

The module adopted a ‘MOOC’ (Massive Online Open Course) format making it possible for a very high number of students (including professionals) from different countries to take it, and creating potential for significant transnational impact through a global, and multiple domestic, ‘planning educational networks’. Such successful elements of the module could be replicated at other institutions using similar online platforms to reach out to new groups and connecting different participants over great geographic distances, creating a base for critical reflection and strengthening practice by increasing awareness of differences and similarities in how the themes of the module are addressed in different global contexts.

Link to the AESOP award page

The RETHINK THE CITY course was conceived by Igor Moreno (PhD candidate at OTB) and Luz Maria Vergara d’Alençon (doctoral candidate at the Department of Management in the Built Environment) and managed by Martina Gentilli (doctoral candidate at the Gran Sasso Institute in L’Aquila, Italy, and Urbanism alumna).

The MOOC contained three modules:

Spatial Justice, led by Roberto Rocco (Spatial Planning & Strategy or SPS)

Housing, led by Darinka Czischke Ljubetic (Management in the Built Environment or MBE)

and Resilience and Spatial Justice, led by Dominic Stead (SPS)

Several faculty members of the Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment gave their contribution. Several SPS members contributed, including Vincent Nadin, Ana Maria Fernandez Maldonado, among others.


This course included:

  • Alternative theories in spatial justice, housing provision and management, and urban resilience.
  • Application of analytical tools and innovative solutions to contemporary urban challenges
  • Critical perspectives to understand the problems of urban development in the global south
  • New perspectives to understand and analyse the urban challenges of the global south.


The course introduction video:


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