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Apply now for our International Student Seminar in September

Preserved historic urban spaces and quality of life in the city Lecture series and workshop comparing the situations in Japan and Austria

International Student Seminar


International Student Seminar, Online

057.007 | 2021S | SE | 3.0ECTS

Duration: 6.9.2021 – 17.9.2021
Topic: Preserved historic urban spaces and quality of life in the city

Online Seminar

This seminar is tailored to students from Saga and Ochanomizu University but we invite also local TU Wien students to join this course.

Within this workshop we propose to explore and to compare preservation practices (participation processes, memory processes, decisional processes, material processes……) in relation to old townscapes in Austria and Japan.
The course consists of a series of pre-recorded lectures in English language which enables the participants to watch the videos more often and take their time to understand all the contents. Due to the time difference between Japan and Austria we will use specific timeslots (10:00am CET / 17:00pm JST) for live Q&A sessions, consultations and presentations.
After the first week (6.9.2021 – 10.9.2021) with lectures and live Q&A sessions via Zoom, the students will be assigned to a group which has to work on a specific task. The second week (13.9. – 17.9.) will be dedicated to work out the task and to prepare a presentation.             

Target group and application:

Local students from TU Wien and students from our Saga University and Ochanomizu University who study in a field related to architecture and urban planning. 
The participating universities may nominate up to 10 students to join the online seminar. The participants should have sufficient English language skills to join discussions and follow the course contents. The students will receive a participation certificate which includes a grade according to Austrian grading system and the amount of credits (3 ECTS = 1,5 Japanese credits).
The participation is free of charge.


This workshop is hosted by the Japan Austria Science Exchange Center at TU Wien.
Please contact Thomas for further information or application:

Lecture topics (preliminary draft):


Barbara Rief-Vernay

In recent years, the Austrian capital has repeatedly been ranked first in terms of quality of life the international consulting company Mercer. Even if the Mercer city ranking is mainly based on infrastructural and environmental aspects, the built environment of a city has to be considered as a key element regarding quality of life. This video gives a short overview of the historical development of Vienna and shows the important role of historic districts in the present-day city.


Barbara Rief-Vernay

Vienna is characterized by its large and homogeneous 19th century inner city area. Although not to the same extent, many Japanese cities have historic built-up areas, that date back to the Edo or the Meiji era. In the 1970ies, with the end of modernism, both Austria and Japan developed a consciousness for the importance of these hitherto neglected urban areas and set up architectural guidelines and legal frameworks for their protection and revitalization. The video shows the similarities and differences concerning the approach to the historic urban areas of the two countries.


Barbara Rief-Vernay

This video gives concrete examples of historic urban areas in Austria and Japan: Museumsquartier, Spittelberg quarter (Vienna), Kawagoe (Tokyo area), Bashamichi (Yokohama). It highlights positive and possible negative aspects of their current use as public, living, working, recreation, consumer spaces or tourist areas.


Fabian Dembski
In urban planning and design, topics such as sustainability, efficiency, smartness and measurability are becoming increasingly important. But what does it take to design liveable cities? Which role do joy and life on the streets play and how can design and a "dramaturgy" of cities contribute to this? Especially in the time of the pandemic, joyful places and open spaces in urban areas are becoming ever more important and popular. The lecture and workshop will explore the question of whether joyful cities can be planned and what role coincidence can play therein.


Meinhard Breiling
Urban green in Vienna is considered as favourable contributing to an extraordinary high quality of life. For almost half a century, the iron curtain protected also the surrounding green from Vienna. While European mega cities such as London or Paris experienced a high pressure as a capital due to population inflow, Vienna even lost population during the last century. Therefore, positive structures of urban green could develop. However, during the last three decades, major development challenges appeared in the reconnected CENTROP region, one of the fastest growing regions in Europe. The urban green structure has to be further protected. 


Nobuo Mishima
Recently, regenerative conservation design is becoming very crucial for local areas. Especially in case of Japan, we are also facing to awful depopulation rather than the other countries, so the regeneration using their potentialities such as natural and historical properties is one of the revitalization measures for their sustainability. The cases in Japan teach important points not only for the other Japanese towns but also for foreign countries which may face to depopulation of local areas and suburbs in the future.
Considering the above-mentioned things, in this lecture, I introduce some examples where the local towns have been challenging excellent measures to protect their cultural heritage and to encourage their sustainability.
1. Replan and abolition of city planning to preserve the traditional area, Yame-Fukushima, Fukuoka prefecture.
2. Abolition of fire protection area and relaxation of building low to preserve thatched-roof buildings, Hizenhama-shuku, Saga prefecture.
3. Building height protection to promote guest house use in the preservation area, Ine-town, Kyoto prefecture.


Mon, Sept. 6 at 10:00am CET/17:00pm JST: Live introduction via Zoom
• Tue, Sept. 7 – Thur, Sept. 9: Pre-recorded online lectures
• Fri, Sept. 10 at 10:00am CET/17:00pm JST: Live Q&A and discussion of lecture contents
• Mon, Sept. 13 -Tue, Sept. 14: Group work – preparation of the task
• Wed, Sept. 15 at 10:00am CET/17:00pm JST: Live Consultation
• Thu, Sept. 15: Group work – preparation of the task
• Fri, Sept. 16 at 10:00am CET/17:00pm JST: Live presentation of group task.