Common urban challenge studios integrate multiple expert areas to study and address contemporary urban phenomena from different perspectives. Urban challenge themes are explored theoretically through perspectives from the different areas and are addressed practically through experiential learning within specific cases, sites or initiatives. Teachers represent key disciplinary areas and professions, and studios are conducted in cooperation with partners in research and municipalities. Examples of urban challenge themes include:
- Urban economies and the challenge of governance and welfare
- Social integration and the challenge of urban typologies and heritage
- Livability and the challenge of a high-speed and global cities
- Socio-Ecological habitats and the challenge of densification
Urban Challenge Studio 1 (10 ECTS) takes place on Fridays during the first autumn semester with an anually changing theme. In 2017, the studio's theme was "Confused suburban identities" and in 2018 "Trans-urbanism". The studio includes a kick-off excursion, which offers the new USP students an opportunity to get to know each other and to gain first-hand knowledge of (sub)urban development in the context of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. The work done in the Urban Challenge Studio 1 concludes in an annual book. See the first ever USP publication!
Urban Challenge Studio 2 (10 ECTS) takes place in the first spring semester and is more advanced in terms of the breadth and depth of research and planning skills and applications. The challenge-driven educational model of the studio crosses disciplines and specializations, prioritizing design thinking, learning-by-doing experimentation, transdisciplinarity and solving societal challenges. The students will produce research exploration.
- In 2018, the theme was "Helsinki-Nanjing - a tale of two cities" and included an international excursion to China. Read more about the excursion here!
- In 2019, the theme was "Talsinki/Hellinna: Twin Cities or Pair of Cities?" and included international excursions to Tallinn, Estonia, and to Copenhagen, Denmark. The students even got to visit the world-famous Architect, Jan Gehl!