60 502 Urban Design - Arctic City


The studio is open for students of architecture and landscape architecture

Recommended prerequisite knowledge

Basic knowledge of urban design, urban landscape design and/or knowledge of social development and design in arctic areas.

Course content

The Arctic is changing rapidly, and nowhere is this more so than in Greenland, which is undergoing radical political, social, economic and demographic changes. In Greenland, urbanization affects the capital Nuuk, but also regional 2nd tier towns like Tasiilaq. Tasiilaq is on the East coast of Greenland. It has approx. 2000 inhabitants and a spectacular landscape setting.
Working with Tasiilaq the studio stresses the fact that contemporary changes in Arctic cities are not necessarily connected to resource exploration and exploitation, but to a general social structure change. The studio also challenges conceptions of Arctic communities as non-urban. Concepts of urbanity in the Arctic are largely imported from other urbanized regions. Most recent attempts to develop specific approaches to Urban Design have essentialized landscape relations in design, focused narrowly on mitigation of local climate or reduced urbanity to an engineering issue.
The studios will develop sets of strong, but complementary logics of urban design that focus on a wide range of issues: social, cultural, infrastructural, ecological, etc. It is the complementarity of these approaches that first and foremost promises sustainability in the future thinking of cities in the arctic.
A mapping of potentials and ressources but also of the challenges and needs in Tasiilaq will form the basis for programming the design exercise.
Specific issues to be addressed in Tasiilaq include: the development of a new airport as part of the city, the location and design of new residences, strategies for long-term sustainable urban development with a focus on inclusive (universally designed) urban social space, the development of tourism infrastructure, as well as the facilitation and redevelopment of new social, commercial and retail services

Learning outcomes

After the studio, students will have acquired knowledge of theories and current issues within the design of cities and landscapes in the Arctic.

After successfully completing the studio, the student will have acquired experience and skills relating to fieldwork as well as both established and experimental forms of urban mapping.

Overall accomplishment
After successfully completing the studio, the student will be able to develop a critical position with regards to arctic urbanism and be able to develop this by gathering necessary information. Based on this the student will be able to independently develop strategic design proposals for northern, urban landscapes and cities.

Working and learning activities

the studio starts with an intensive theoretical seminar on arctic urbanism and urban developmen on Greenland. Students will read and present texts to the class. This is followed bye a week-long mandatory visit to Tasiilaq in the last week of August. Students will conduct mapping in groups and establish a shared knowledge base. following this, students will program and develop a design project. This will be an individual exercise, or take place in teams of two. The studio also includes two mandatory design workshops relating to the design project. All students are also required to participate in the production of the studio booklet, which will document theoretical perspectives, aspects of the knowledge base and selected strategic design proposals. The final presentation will be with an external examinor.
By signing up to the course students commit to doing field-work in Tasiilaq and the associated travel and accomodation expenses (travel should be booked soon).

Professor in charge

Associate Professor Peter Hemmersam

Mandatory work requirements

Work requirements Number Number of approved Mandatory presence Comment
Project 1 Ja

Design project - individual or in teams of two

Counselling meeting 10 Ja

Supervision sessions

Oral examination 6 Ja

Presentations to the class - including final review

Excursions 1 Ja

One week fieldwork in Tasiilaq

Workshops 2 Ja

Two design workshops relating to the design project.


Assessment Date Duration Grade scale Oral examination
Prosjektoppgave Individual 2014-12-15 00:00 1 days Pass / Fail 100

Presentation in front of external sensor. The presentation will be individualle or in a team of two.