Half the global population (= 3,500,000,000 and growing) lives in cities by now,
whichs makes them inherently interesting.
The primary objective of the seminar is to explore cities
both as man-made structures and thus built environment,
but also as part of the natural environment and their resource consumption patterns.
This implies an "ontology" (what exactly are we talking about ?),
analysis of urban ecology in terms of structure and function,
material inputs and output, energy flow and climate, the "product"
of "city machines": socio-economic functions and services,
but also their "ecological footprint": resource use and resulting environmental impacts,
urban sustainability and role vis a vis global change: the heavy dependency of
cities on massive fossil fuel (or resources in general) inputs,
urban climate (and climate change), transportation, and quality of urban
environment (and life in the city) are obvious topics to explore - together (this is a seminar).
Recognizing that cities are an indispensible (in fact defining !) part of modern societies,
we want to analyse the pros and cons, identify the properties
that make a city a "good" city, define measurable criteria for such
"qualities", and explore tools for systemic analysis and multi-criteria
decision support: towards better - sustainable ? - cities.