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Smart District Development in Small and Medium-Sized Cities

We are living in a time of rapid social and technological change. It is particularly the small and medium-sized cities and urban regions of Europe that are challenged by this development.

Increasing prevalence of unoccupied buildings in the centres, difficulties managing sustainable mobility and the lack of coupled energy and spatial planning affect exactly the towns that have the least financial and human resources. It is important to help smaller cities and towns to overcome these development problems, in order to protect existing qualities and to make these towns fit for the future.

The university course Smart District Development in Small and Medium-Sized Cities is designed to give people who work on the urban development processes of small and medium-sized cities and towns insight into topics of sustainable urban development. The course presents detailed information on current topics and tasks of urban and regional development and examines real examples. Participants also have the opportunity to reflect on their own work and exchange ideas on projects.

Contents and Topics

The university course was developed by the Institute of Urbanism of TU Graz in cooperation with the Department of Spatial Planning at TU Wien and the Salzburg Institute for Regional Planning and Housing (SIR) and is made up of 8 modules.

Module I: Public Space
Principles: Potential of public spaces for revitalization of small cities
Examples from European planning practice

Module II: Mobility
Principles: Sustainable mobility strategies in the periurban and regional context
Examples from urban planning

Module III: Inner Urban Development
Principles: Densification strategies for small and medium-sized cities
Examples from planning practice

Module IV: Process and Governance
Principles: Innovative development and planning methods and participation in small and medium-sized cities
Examples of innovative processes

Module V: Energy
Principles: Implementing the energy system transformation in the context of small and medium-sized cities
Examples from planning practice

Module VI: Technology
Principles: Socially oriented technology for urban planning in small and medium-sized cities
Examples from urban development

Module VII: Excursion

Module VIII: Conclusion

Source: Martin Grabner

Dates and Deadlines

Next course start: November 2021

  • Welcome and Introduction Event: 19 November 2021, TU Graz
  • Module I and II: December 2021 and January 2022 (online)
  • 2 days with workshops in February 2022, TU Graz
  • Module III and IV: March and April 2022 (online)
  • Workshop and Excursion in May 2022
  • Module V and VI: June and July 2022 (online)
  • Presentation and Conclusion in September 2022, TU Graz

Application by 6 October 2021 (application form will be available soon)

Quick Facts

  • Duration:  8 modules in 4 blocks
  • Certificate: Confirmation of participation
  • ECTS credit points: 4
  • Language of instruction: German
  • Participation fees:

    • 1,950 € (VAT free) including course notes, drinks and excursion
    • 1,750 € (VAT free) for member cities of URBA Graz and for 2 or more participants from the same institution

  • Number of participants: max. 20
  • Location: TU Graz and SIR


An university course in cooperation with TU Wien and SIR

Target Groups

The university course is aimed at people who are involved in urban development processes in small and medium-sized cities, for example:

  • Civil servants
  • Civil engineers
  • Spatial planners
  • Architects
  • Representatives of political parties
  • Consulting institutes

Admission Requirements

Participants in the course must fulfil one of the following criteria:

  • At least two years’ professional experience in the fields of urban planning, spatial planning achitecture/urbanism, urban development, regional devleopment
  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in subjects related to spatial planning (e.g. urban planning, architecture, spatial planning, urbanism, landscape design, sociology, geography, sustainable development, law, economics)
Vera Poschauko, Source: sara-sera – TU Graz


TU Graz Life Long Learning
Phone: +43 316 873 4932

Programme Directors

Arch. Univ.-Prof.
Institute of Urbanism

Institute of Urbanism


Student assistant:
Angelika HAAR
Institute of Urbanism