International Summer Studio: Barcelona, Spain

A joint urban planning and urban design studio exploring the creation and revitalization of urban public spaces in one of the world's most beautiful and walkable cities

Studying great urban public spaces in the vibrant capital of Catalonia

Since 2018, the Urban and Regional Planning Department has offered an international section of the Planning Project Studio course in Barcelona, Spain. Co-taught by MURP professors Jeremy Németh and Ken Schroeppel,the class is a one-month long intensive summer urban planning and urban design studio focused on developing the principles, tools, and methodologies for planning, analyzing and designing great public spaces. As part of the course, students spend approximately 3-4 weeks living and working in the highly walkable and transit-rich center of Barcelona, the capital and economic center of Catalonia, a region within Spain with a fascinating history, vibrant culture, and great urban spaces. 

Upcoming Studio

For info on the 2020 Barcelona studio coming soon!

Past Studios 

2019

For the second year of the Barcelona studio, sixteen urban planning and urban design students participated in a 24-day intensive studio course focused on the revitalization of public space.

The studio consisted of two phases. In the first phase, students learned foundational knowledge and developed skills to understand and analyze the many dimensions of urban planning and design of the public realm. In the second phase of the studio, students were tasked with creating a vision plan and conceptual design for revitalizing a major public space, the Parc del Centre, in the dynamic Poblenou neighborhood of Barcelona. 

Parc del Centre del Poblenou Revitalization Concept Plan

Summer 2019 | Final Report

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2019 Studio Photos

2018

During the first Barcelona Studio in the summer of 2018, seventeen students took in an intensive 25-day program studying "Streets as Public Spaces".  In the U.S. and much of the western world, downtown streets are prioritized for the automobile, not people. However, downtown streets can become destinations worth visiting, not just through-ways to and from the workplace. Streets traditionally had three main functions: as routes for mobility, as public gathering spaces, and as building frontages, but these functions became separated through the course of the 20th century. This studio focuses on bringing these functions back together through an interdisciplinary urban design perspective which uses the city of Barcelona as its primary classroom. 

Due to various political, cultural, and economic reasons, Barcelona has managed to preserve the harmony among the three functions in their streets, resulting in an urban fabric that is the envy of the world. Today, Barcelona is viewed as an international model for using innovative practices that integrate urban design, architecture, planning, landscape architecture, and historic preservation to create an exceptional public realm. 

In the first phase of the studio, students learned about the urban design of public spaces generally, including broad principles of urban design, and then used this knowledge to conduct public space assessments of various site in Barcelona. The second phase of the Barcelona studio gave students the opportunity to use the public space analysis and design concepts and methodologies gained in the first phase on a real site in Barcelona—the historic Can Ricart site in the Poblenou neighborhood of Barcelona. Working in teams, the students prepared three urban design visions which reimagine the public realm in the Can Ricart site and surrounding blocks. 

You may view the course syllabus and the final report below.

Can Ricart Reimagined

Final Report | Summer 2018

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2018 Studio Photos

Students explore cultural resources in Barcelona’s El Born district

Students have the chance to take in the culture and summer festivals of Barcelona

Students observing and studying in Barcelona’s Plaça dels Angels

Students take a guided walking tour of the historic Catalonian city of Girona

The studio offers students the chance to learn about and analyze the design of public spaces

Urban planning and urban design students collaborate and have fun while taking a deep dive into the design concepts of urban public spaces