Fall '14

Action! On the Real City

Play, Negotiate and Act!

Elective Course

  • Start: 25.09.2014, 15:00 - 17:00
  • ETH Zurich, ONA E30
  • Prof. Alfredo Brillembourg & Prof. Hubert Klumpner
    Haris Piplas & Lea Rüfenacht
  • ECTS: 2


The elective course “Action! On the (real) city” will focus on developing innovative scenarios that analyze and visualize the social, urban, environmental and cultural potentials of a multicultural corridor in Zurich-North.


The former blooming industrial suburb of Zurich has experienced economic decline, conflict and social incoherence in the last decades. The former working class neighbourhood became home of dozens of immigrant communities who provided new liveability and urbanity, creating a multicultural cityscape. Lately, it has been confronted by the new zoning plans, large housing development projects and big commercial players.

But what are the future prospectives? What are the visions and realities of the area? What scenarios can we imagine and produce by interconnecting various social, economic and ecologic parameters?


The course intends to teach a new urban literacy focusing on an understanding of the social, economic and ecologic aspects of the urban context. The methodology is consisted of both individual and group work tasks: definition and specification of the site boundaries and intervention area, followed by the identification and evaluation of impact variables (such as density, mobility types, social structure, land use patterns, etc.). The variables will be calculated, put into the context and translated into the envisioned scenarios for the site.

The work will include urban hikes, data collection and mapping. The scenarios will be presented in an audience of academia, policy and local experts. The course aims to teach both systematic and creative approaches emphasizing on the role of the future architect as a moderator of city development.