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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Enhancing digital teaching

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | bologna.lab | Projects | Berlin Perspectives | Courses | Winter Semester 2014/15 | Berlin – portrait of a city. An introduction to creative urban research.

Berlin – portrait of a city. An introduction to creative urban research.

Taught by Blattner

Tuesday, 10:00 - 12:00, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7, Room 0323-26

Course taught in English and German

Language Requirements: English B2, German B1


Course description

Various aspects characterize a city: its history, materiality, everyday life and politics – only to name a few. Research in the urban field requires methods that can adapt to a number of situations and can capture the changing natures of a city. For instance, the materiality of a street can hardly be analysed with the same means as the quotidian life of its inhabitants, being different every hour of the day.  

The focus of the course is on urban research based on a creative methodology. Fields of study will include sociology, art, philosophy, literature, geography and urban planning. In order to develop their own portrait of Berlin, participants will be introduced to a selection of creative methods of urban research such as walking, photography, mapping, soundscapes, observation and smell.

The  course  will  be  taught  in  English.  However  an  advanced  level  of  German  is  required as some of the core readings are in German. 



  • Back, Les. „Listening with our eyes. Portraiture as urban encounter.“ In Picturing the social landscape. Visual methods and the sociological imagination., von Caroline Knowles, 132-­‐146. London: Routledge, 2004.
  • Benjamin, Walter. Berliner Chronik. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1988.
  • Benjamin, WalterStädtebilder. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1992.
  • Bridge, Garry, und Sophie Watson. The Blackwell City Reader. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2010.
  • De Certeau, Michel. „Walking in the City.“ In The Practice of Everyday Life, 91-­‐110. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.
  • Debord, Guy. „Theorie des Umherschweifens.“ In Das große Spiel. Die Situationisten zwischen Kunst und Politik, von Roberto Ohrt. Hamburg: Edition Nautilus, 2000.
  • Hiebsch, Maria Elisabeth, Fritz Schlüter, und Judith Willkomm. „Sensing the Street. Eine sinnliche Ethnographie der Großstadt.“ In Straße als kultureller Aktionsraum. Interdisziplinäre Betrachtungen des Straßenraumes an der Schnittstelle zwischen Theorie und Praxis., von Sandra Maria Geschke, 31-­‐57. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2009.
  • Kästner, Erich. Fabian. München: dtv, 1931 [2013].
  • Krusche, Jürgen. Strassenräume Berlin Shanghai Tokyo Zürich. Eine foto-­‐ethnographische Untersuchung. Baden: Müller, 2011.
  • Lynch, Kevin. „The Image of the City.“ In The City Reader, von Richard Le Gates und Frederic Stout, 98-­‐102. London: Routledge, 1996.
  • Latour, Bruno. „A Cautious Prometheus? A Few Steps Toward a Philosophy of Design (with Special Attention to Peter Sloterdijk).“ Eröffnungsrede des Networks of Designs* Treffens der Design History Society Falmouth. Cornwall, 3. September 2008.
  • Moles, Kate. „A Walk in Thirdspace: Place, Methods and Walking.“ Sociological Research Online 13 (4). 2008. http://www.socresonline.org.uk/13/4/2.html (Zugriff am 15.05.2014).

Regener, Sven. Herr Lehmann. Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn, 2001.

  • Rhys-­‐Taylor, Alex. „Bear with me. I'm quite a quick walker but it's a long market.“ Street Signs. Centre for Urban and Community Research Autumn (2008).
  • Schafer, Raymond Murray. The soundscape. Our sonic environment and the tuning of the  world. Rochester: Destiny Books, 1977.
  • Scheppe, Wolfgang. Migropolis. Venice / Atlas of a Global Situation. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2009.
  • Simmel, Georg. Die Großstädte und das Geistesleben. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1903 [2006]. Truax, Barry. „Soundscape Composition as Global Music: Electroacoustic Music as Soundscape.“ Organized Sound 13 (2) (2008).
  • Whyte, William H. City. Rediscovering the Center. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1988 [2009].