Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


Upon completion of the course, participants should be able to:

Analyze the urban challenge theme and a particular urban situation in relation to relevant issues and theories drawn from across multiple disciplines; Demonstrate understanding of urban issues and dynamics across spatial and temporal scales, including local, regional, national and global impacts.

Credits: 5

Schedule: 11.09.2020 - 11.12.2020

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Michail Galanakis, Teemu Jama, Anssi Joutsiniemi

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Michail Galanakis, Teemu Jama, Anssi Joutsiniemi

Contact information for the course (valid 10.08.2020-21.12.2112):

Responsible teacher

Anssi Joutsiniemi /

Assistant teachers

Michail Galanakis /

Teemu Jama /   

 P r o g r a m m

a n a l y s i

08-13.09          Fieldwork

11.09   Opening: Course arrangements. (Theme of a

Exercise: Quality

18.09   Lecture: Design with nature
(Theme of a day: TIME)


25.09   Lecture: Network City/ Netzstadt (Theme of
the day: SCALE)

Exercise: Density

02.10   Lecture: Guest lecture
(Theme of a day: XXXX)


16.10   Exercise: Forming planning questions: What is essential in Vantaa’s Future?

WEEK 43 FREE ----------------------------------------------

s y n t h e s
i s

30.10              TOWARDS SYNTHESIS 

Each group should have articulated their research question(s)

06.11               Lecture

Exercise: Iteration 1

13.11               Lecture: Urban typologies (Theme of a day: COMPLEX ENTITIES) 

Iteration 2

20.11               Lecture: Planning as practice (presentation by Teemu)

Exercise: LAST iteration

27.11               Lecture: <Theme selected to support current student
work phase>

of submission of projects for USP book publication

04.12               Return of feedback for revisions

11.12               Book contributions by all teams   r e v I s e d   and   r e a d y!



CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Common urban challenge studios integrate multiple expert areas to study and address contemporary urban phenomena from different perspectives. The challenge-driven educational model of the studio crosses disciplines and specializations, prioritizing design thinking, learning-by-doing experimentation, transdisciplinarity and solving societal challenges. The students will produce research exploration. For the USP-A and USP-LA students the focus will be in design work.

  • Applies in this implementation:


    "Urban Palimpsest  - Discovering Vantaa"

    Prerequisite is acceptance to USP as ‘major’ or ‘minor’ studies option.

    Urban Challenge Studio 1 provides an introduction to challenge-driven
    and research-based practice in urban planning and design. The
    course alternates between scales – from macro to micro and from the contemporary, to past and future.

    In this
    studio students acquire training in research and planning through project work
    within the theme and the focus area. the project work is realized through a series of
    practical tasks, supported by lectures, seminars, reading, reflecting and writing,
    workshops, and tutorials. Our students will be tutored both by
    inter-disciplinary groups, and by experts from their specific fields.

    learning outcome: by the end of Studio 1, students possess a broader
    understanding of the complexities of urban development,
    and have acquired practical training in analyzing, visualizing, and
    responding practically to challenges in urban development.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Active participation in the different tasks specified during the course, such as lectures and discussions, group work, field trips, presentations and final reports and research exploration. The grading is defined form 5 (outstanding) to 1 (acceptable).

  • Applies in this implementation:

    The assessment of a student's overall performance will be based on her/his active participation in the different
    activities during the course, such as lectures and discussions, group
    work, field trips, and presentations. Students are required to produce
    reports compile their learning portfolios, and organize their work in
    the form of publishable material for the annual USP publication. You
    will be
    evaluated individually but also based on team work. Grades: scale 1
    (acceptable) to 5 (outstanding).

  • Applies in this implementation:

    In Studio 1 we provide training in research and planning through project work
    within a focus area. The project work is guided through a series of
    practical tasks, supported by lectures, seminars, reading and writing,
    workshops and tutorials. Students work in interdisciplinary and multicultural groups.

    Contact teaching on Fridays, 09:15-17:00.

    Total contact teaching hours: 12 x 7,75 = 93.

    Officially, 10 study credits correspond to 10 x 27 = 270 hours of student work.


Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Will be announced before the course begins.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    *** Course material is not uploaded in
    MyCourses, nor the University of Helsinki Moodle site.

    course material will be uploaded in the AaltoUP website (soon to launch). Details on the course material, assignments, and practicalities are discussed in detail
    during the Friday teaching sessions.

    For any IT issues go to:

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Prerequisite is acceptance to USP as major or minor studies option; final decision is program chair (in consultation with course leader) if the course is overbooked.

Registration for Courses
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:


    Minimum amount of students: 6

  • Applies in this implementation:

    Check regularly MyCources.

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

    13 Climate Action

    15 Life on Land

    17 Partnerships for the Goals


Details on the schedule
  • Applies in this implementation:

    Studio 1 takes place in Living + hub (Rakentajanaukio 4, 2nd floor) on
    Fridays. Given the Covid-19 situation we adhere to the Aalto University's guidelines. Stay tuned in order to get the latest information. Studio 1 will mostly take place remotely. Additionally, site visits and/or field trips will be
    organized according to the university guidelines on social distancing.