Students in the Classical Track travel to Copenhagen and Madrid for their third and fourth semesters, respectively. As in the first two semesters, the program consists predominantly of academic courses, supplemented by excursions and fieldwork. Courses in Copenhagen are held at the Københavns Universitet (KU), and those in Madrid are split between Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) & Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM).

Semester 03 / Københavns Universitet (KU)

  • Urbanism and Architecture
  • Urban Culture and Cultural Theory
  • Urban Analysis 4

Semester 04 / Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) & Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM)

  • The Sustainable and Liveable City
  • Governance and Local Welfare

Semester 03: Copenhagen

Københavns Universitet / September – December / 20 ECTS


Urbanism and Architecture

8 ECTS > Martin Zerlang
A course on problems and procedures in the analysis of architecture and urban space. The course focuses on individual works, which are contextualized by both a broader historical context and the interplay with other forms of art. The question of the meaning of architecture is at the center of this course. With Copenhagen as a central reference it presents the main developments of 19th and 20th century European cities and explores the form and the function of selected types of architecture.  The course addresses themes such as: reading a plan; the role of the city square in urban planning; the architecture of modern institutions such as the town hall, central station, the museum, the school; entertainment as a response to modernization – the theatre, the amusement park, the shopping mall, the zoological garden; the architecture of private life – interior decoration and different ideas of home; ecology and architecture.

The aim of this module is to provide students with competences that enable them to analyze architecture in an urban context. In particular, students should learn:

  • how to read plans, at the level of the individual buildings as well as at the level of urban plans;
  • how to describe ‘genres’ and types of architecture (the town hall, the school, the city square etc.);
  • historical analysis – how to understand the relationship between historical development and architecture;
  • interdisciplinary analysis – how describe the interplay between architecture and art, film and literature.

Urban Culture and Cultural Theory

8 ECTS > Henrik Reeh
This course establishes the basic principles for a humanities approach to the city. The course explores seminal texts from the tradition of 20th-century cultural theory in order to outline key concepts that allow us to understand the city as urbanity, i.e. as a complex cultural phenomenon. A variety of discourses contribute to this project;  architectural and literary studies as well sociological and philosophical texts will be discussed via readings of major theoretical studies by Roland Barthes and many others. Steen Eiler Rasmussen, Jan Gehl, Henning Bech et al. invite us into the realm of “Perception and lifeworld – Copenhagen”. Georges, Perec, Michel de Certeau and Sophie Calle explore “Movements and text – Paris. Adding a social dimension, Siegfried Kracauer and Walter Benjamin elaborate urban culture as “Spaces and memory – Berlin”.

Copenhagen, Paris and Berlin provide materials from the history of the European metropolis from 1850 to the present. In addition, various experiences and bodily approaches to urban culture enable us to develop the analytic dimension of studies in urban culture. In this way, the course outlines the foundations of an interdisciplinary approach to modern urbanity. The course includes a lecture and a seminar (in smaller groups) every week. The seminar hours provide time for student presentations that, in turn, generate material for the written synopsis to be handed in for the oral exam taking place at the end of the semester.

Urban Analysis 4

4 ECTS > Anders Ib Michelsen
Principles for an interdisciplinary analysis of modern urbanity will be developed and tested in case-studies that address the differentiated spatial and socio-cultural reality of a metropolitan region such as Copenhagen around 2000. A number of professional and academic approaches to the present development of the urban field will be illustrated during this course.

Semester 04: Madrid

UCMUAM / January – May / 20 ECTS


The Sustainable and Liveable City

UAM / 10 ECTS > Manuel Valenzuela, Diego Barrado, Carmen Hidalgo, Fernando Molini, Jose Rodriguez
The contents of this module are focused on the complexity of the urban ecosystem from an integrated point of view, and how its components (biotic, abiotic, and anthropic) are bearing the impact of human activities, with dire prospects for their sustainability. Beyond this basic statement, the course deals with the three urban environmental pillars (the physical, the built, and the socioeconomic) through a more detailed approach to selected major topics (transport, building typologies, heritage, others) as archetypical situations where urban sustainability and livability may be analyzed from both theoretical and applied points of view. The course also includes a teaching unit devoted to exploring how better urban planning and practices can create a friendlier urban environment for all concerned.

This course is given in four modules:

  • Module 01 – Methods and techniques for urban sustainability (1 ECTS)
  • Module 02 – Key aspects of urban sustainability (2.5 ECTS)
  • Module 03 – The social and cultural approach to urban sustainability (2.5 ECTS)
  • Module 04 – Sustainable urbanism (4 ECTS)

Governance and Local Welfare

UCM / 10 ECTS > Margarita Barañano, Marta Dominguez Perez, Rosa De La Fuente
The general aim of this course is to explore the local governance system with a special analysis of the provision of essential public goods in relation to three aspects:

  • The residential practices: considering the housing patterns, household dynamics and social housing provision with the uses and transformations of public spaces.
  • The access and use of local services: analyzing the specific characteristics of the local services in relation with the different social spaces in the city, taking into account their relation with the cultural and economic diversities of these spaces; considering the local services both from the supply and the demand sides, and the characteristics of the inhabitants of these spaces. Special attention is given to the question of the proximity and the distance of the services in relation to its impact in the local welfare.
  • The urban governance: all these topics are approached taking into account from one side the perspective of the inhabitants of specific areas, and from the other the dynamics of their neighborhoods. It will consider the diversity of the inhabitants in terms of its social and economic position, age, gender, ethnic or national conditions and other criteria relevant in each case, such as the type of household in which they live. The course also examines the structure of local power in different European countries and the system of decisions in the context of the current multiscale distribution of competencies. It will devote special attention to the citizens’ participation and the different ways of its organization, as well as the formation and dynamics of the local social movements.

The course will also consider the production and change of local welfare and power struggles, the political options and cultural disputes. All these processes are analysed combining quantitative and qualitative research.


What is 4CITIES?

4CITIES is an international, interdisciplinary, immersive master programme in urban studies. Supported by Erasmus Mundus, its perspective is European while its context is global. Students learn to see the city, to hear it, to understand it, to engage it, and to choose their role in shaping it.

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