A group of students waves to the camera

© Fabian Dembski

International Student Seminar

This seminar was created for hosting short workshops with Japanese partner universities. The course aims on elaborating specific topics which have to be investigated in Vienna. In addition to the research objective, the intensive teamwork leads to a better intercultural understanding and improves social and communication skills.

This semester's seminar is tailored to students from Saga University / Japan, but we invite also local TU Wien students to join this course from November 27th until December 5th, 2022.

During the workshop, we will discuss, analyse and experience the quality and utilization of different kinds of urban spaces in Vienna – including public squares, pedestrian areas and shared zones as well as parks, gardens and other public facilities. Lectures will include the history of Vienna’s urban development and public spaces, urban green with its relation to national heritage and street life, with a focus on shared spaces and walkability. Guided excursions, a casual welcome event and a farewell party complete the program.

The tasks will relate to these topics and encourage the students to experience and evaluate the qualities of different urban spaces by themselves. At the end of the seminar, the findings will be presented and discussed in the form of small group works. Local TU Wien students can apply to join this program by sending their CV and a short motivation letter to jasec@tuwien.ac.at .

The seminar is hosted by JASEC, the Japan Austria Science Exchange Center at TU Wien. This unit is responsible for the coordination of the scientific exchange between all faculties of TU Wien and Japanese universities and research institutions.


Vienna, a European metropolis between history and modernity
(Dr. Barbara RIEF-VERNAY)

Vienna is a typical European metropolis. Like Paris, Barcelona or Budapest, Vienna is characterized by its concentric growth around its medieval city centre. Moreover, Vienna is strongly marked by its compact 19th century built-up area. Since the second half of the 20th century, the city has been expanding beyond its 19th century boundaries while seeking to preserve its architectural heritage from the previous periods.

This presentation gives an overall view of the historical urban development of Vienna. Starting from the Roman period through the Middle Ages, the Baroque, the late 19th century, it shows political and cultural issues that shaped the city's development and highlight architectural and morphological features corresponding to the epochs.

Public spaces in the historic core of Vienna
(Dr. Barbara RIEF-VERNAY)

Against the background of the late 19th century’s industrialization and a strong increase in population, Vienna was transformed into a modern metropolis. In the course of this major urban transformation, existing public spaces were renewed, new public spaces were created. To this day, Vienna's city government is concerned with preserving public spaces in the historic city centre and making them attractive.

This presentation shows selected public spaces within the historic city center, such as Stephansplatz, Karlsplatz, Ringstraße and the Museumsquartier, it analyzes their history, their current use and their meaning in Vienna's urban culture.  

Different categories of urban green in Vienna and their distribution in center and peripheral districts of Vienna
(Dr. Meinhard BREILING)

Enlargement and densification processes over more than 1000 years led to the current green structure of Vienna. This lecture will give insight of what kinds of urban green we can find in Vienna and how different kinds of urban green are distributed over Vienna. 

Vienna: Joy, Locomotion and the Image of the City
(Dr. Fabian DEMBSKI)

What constitutes the quality of our cities and their spaces? How do we perceive them and what promotes well-being and joy in urban settlements? 

Besides the implementation of well measured block-sizes, high urban density with well functioning public and green spaces, space for design and “unplanned” or rather unregulated development is needed and to allow the unexpected to happen. For building healthy and joyful cities, it needs attractive architecture and a subtly sensual handling of pathways and spaces — the mis-en-scène and the city as a theatre allowing everyday adventures on an intelligible measure. People constitute our cities and vivify the life between buildings and the culture of walking. As Gehl and Svarre (2013, pp. 2-6) are pointing out, good architecture ensures good interaction between public space and public life. We have to bring in the joy, forgotten by the highway engineers, urban planners and architects of the past decades.

Nevertheless, it is important not to forget about the existing urban structures like buildings, landmarks and morphologies developed over time. Cities are identities (Dembski, 2020).


The tasks will treat the topics (historic) public spaces, urban green and walkability in Vienna and encourage the students to experience and evaluate the qualities of different urban spaces by themselves during excursions. The assignments will be done in small groups and should include references and comparisons between urban spaces in Vienna and Japan. At the end of the seminar, the findings will be presented by the groups and discussed together.

On the first days of the seminar, we will form groups and discuss the individual tasks in detail.

Preliminary Schedule

26.11. (Sat) : Arrival in Vienna

27.11. (Sun) :  Architectural City Tour

28.11. (Mon) : Introduction, Tour to the historical city center / Afternoon: Welcome party

29.11. (Tue) : Lecture: History of Vienna and Public spaces in the city center / Afternoon: Tasks

30.11. (Wed) : Lecture: Urban Green and National Heritage / Afternoon: Tasks

01.12. (Thu) : Lecture: Walkability and Image of the City / Afternoon: Tasks

02.12. (Fri) : Middle presentation / Consultation

03.12. (Sat) : Free time / Prepare presentation

04.12. (Sun) : Free time / Prepare presentation

05.12. (Mon) : Final Presentation & Farewell Dinner

Download Program (PDF), opens a file in a new window

JASEC E057-07

Department Head

DI Thomas Rief
DI Dr. Iris Mach


Gusshausstraße 30, 1040 Wien

Access via the large driveway to the courtyard,
first door on the right on the ground floor.

Postal address

JASEC E057-07
TU Wien
13, 1040 Vienna


Email: jasec@tuwien.ac.at
Phone: +43 1 58801 406108


on appointment


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JASEC Folder (PDF), opens a file in a new window