Center for Cultural Studies on Science and Technology in China

Alumni Seminar: "SPURT - Sustainable Processes of Urban Rural Transformations"

Chinas cities are rapidly growing in number of inhabitants. This not only causes changes in society, technology and the economy but also environmental issues. Simultaneously, the demand for joined expertise in the fields of urban planning and urban research is growing.

The "SPURT - Sustainable Processes of Urban-Rural Transformations" alumni seminar discusses issues regarding the future and sustainable coexistence of cities. The seminar is based on the idea that sustainable development in cities requires interconnections beween urban centres and its urbanised outer areas. These may be organised at regional level.

The seminar will take place in the form of a combination of keynote speeches, talks, discussions, networking activities and field trips. It will take place at TU Berlin, Germany (date to be announced). The participation is free of charge. Travel costs can be partly refunded. Applications are open now! Please find all further details on the website of TU Berlin.

The application deadline will be announced at a later date.

SPURT Documentary

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Call for Applications - Alumni Seminar SPURT

“SPURT – Sustainable Processes of Urban-Rural Transformations”

Alumni Seminar

TU Berlin, Berlin, Germany, date to be announced

The number of people living in urban areas in China exceeded 50% for the first time in 2012. By 2017, this had reached as much as 58% and in approximately the next 13 years, a further 300 million people are expected to be residing in cities. This will mean that more than one billion people will be living in urban areas.

The rapid process of urbanization and the changes this brings for society, the economy and technology are decisive drivers in the development of China; at the same time they represent enormous challenges for the country’s society as a whole. Today, we are already seeing that a development so strongly focused on cities leads to many social-societal, economic and environmental problems, with an ever increasing number of people in megacities living without sustainable access to urban infrastructures. At the same time, extensive processes of urbanization are causing ever greater damage to the environment. The economic growth of cities and their increased urbanization are resulting in an ongoing shrinkage of rural regions in spatial, social and economic terms, often with drastic consequences. 

In light of these developments, the disciplines of urban planning and urban research have, until now, mainly focused on the sustainable development of megacities and their inner city areas. Current smart city discussions are also largely influenced by this approach and guided by a strong focus on sustainable aspects of urban centers in terms of technology and inner cities. 

The “SPURT – Sustainable Processes of Urban-Rural Transformations” alumni seminar discusses issues regarding future and sustainable coexistence in cities and presents the thesis that this is only possible in the long term if the multi-level interconnections between urban centers and urbanized hinterland regions are recognized and creatively and sustainably organized at regional level.

In addition to theoretical and methodological approaches, specific reference projects on existing governance innovations and best practice examples will be presented and discussed in the workshop. 

The seminar will take the form of a combination of keynote speeches, talks, discussions, networking activities and field trips. 

Please refer to to view the preliminary program for the seminar. 

The event will be held in English. 

Management and cooperation partner 
The scientific director of the Alumni Workshop is Dr. Sigrun Abels, Head of the Center for Cultural Studies on Science and Technology in China (CCST, short: China Center) The seminar is supported by the DAAD and by the Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises. 

Participation and funding 
Participation in this seminar is free of charge. Traveling expenses will be partly refunded upon presentation of original tickets: a maximum of 800 euros is available to cover traveling expenses from China. Accommodation costs (including breakfast) will also be refunded: for the duration of the event (5 nights including the days of arrival and departure) in one of our partner hotels in the immediate vicinity of TU Berlin. You are required to attend all sessions of the seminar. 


(Information on the application deadline will be announced at a later date)

  • The seminar is aimed at alumni residing in China who either studied or researched at a university in Germany. Applications are particularly welcome from alumni who studied or researched in the areas of planning and social sciences as well as civil engineering, architecture or environmental policy. Applications are also welcome from alumni of other programs as long as their professional fields demonstrate a relationship to the themes addressed in the seminar (e.g. urban ecology, urban design, urban management, historic buildings and sites, geotechnology, landscape architecture, etc.) 
  • Please complete the application form here

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 

We look forward to receiving your application. 

Kind regards, Your Alumni Team and China Center Team 

Technische Universität Berlin 
Office for Press, Public Relations and Alumni 
Straße des 17. Juni 135, 10623 Berlin 

Phone: +49 (0)30 314-24028/-27650/-22760 
Fax: +49 (0)30 314 -79587

Preliminary Program

Day 1

  • Opening of the Alumni Seminar
  • Representative of TU Berlin Executive Board 
  • Introductions
  • Photo session
  • Representative of the International office, presentation of TU Berlin
  • Dr. Sigrun Abels, presentation of TU Berlin’s Center for Cultural Studies on Science and Technology in China and the Sino-German alumni network in the area of urbanization and urban development (URBANIXX)
  • Bettina Klotz, Juliane Wilhelm, presentation of the TU Berlin alumni program
  • N.N., Habitat Unit, Institute of Architecture, TU Berlin
  • Introductory talk “Development of strategic planning approaches and the implementation of pilot projects for the sustainable strengthening of urban-rural relationships” 
  • Talk and discussion
  • Afternoon: WALKSHOP- excursion with citymakers (CONSTELLATIONS): “City on the move“
  • Dinner


Day 2

  • N.N. , Chair of Circular Economy and Recycling Technology
  • “Designing away waste: a comparative analysis of urban reuse and remanufacture initiatives” / Scientific introduction to the ALBA company visit 
  • Talk and discussion
  • Keynote delivered by alumni or representative of the GIZ Sino-German Urbanisation Platform and/or Dr. Dominica Kalinowska and LI Jingzhu (both TU Berlin) “Urban Logistics” (tbc)
  • Afternoon: Company visit to ALBA Group the recycling company


Day 3

  • Morning: N.N., Institute of Vocational Education and Work Studies, TU Berlin 
  • “Citizens’ participation in urban planning and development”
  • Talk and discussion
  • Prof. Dr. Johannes Küchler, China Center TU Berlin
  • “Urban planning and urban development“
  • Talk and discussion
  • Dr. HUANG Huang, postdoc in the Sino-German Urban-Rural Assembly (URA) joint research project at the China Center TU Berlin
  • “Development of strategic spatial development tools and participative planning governance on the basis of the Huangyan-Taizhou region in Zhejiang province as an exemplary case study”
  • Talk and discussion
  • Afternoon: Alumni presentations - Sustainable urban development projects in Asia 
  • Talks and discussions
  • Dinner


Day 4

  • Morning: Alumni presentations - Sustainable urban development projects in Asia (continued)
  • Talks and discussions
  • Prof. Dr. -Ing. Thomas Richter, Chair of Planning and Operation of Roads (tbc)
  • “Autonomous local public transport in rural areas”
  • Prof. Dr. Oliver Schwedes, Chair of Integrated Transport Planning, TU Berlin (tbc) or visit to the Conscious City Lab, Jonas Schorr (tbc)
  • Afternoon: World Café - Discussion focusing on sustainable urban-rural relationships in urban areas
  • Final discussion