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Co-creating urban futures

Explore how citizens and governments co-create urban policy and institutions and advance your knowledge of democracy and governance.

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CIVIS focus area
Cities, territories and mobilities
Open to
  • Master's
  • Phd
Field of studies
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Environmental sciences, Urbanism, Geography
  • Blended Intensive Programmes (BIP)
Course dates
16 October 2024 - 16 January 2025

Cities have a significant role to play in advancing democracy and citizenship. In an urban world, cities are both home and local political context for most people. As centres of social life, economy and resource use, cities are also key sites for dealing with global challenges like climate change. Citizen “co-creation” is an important means of opening-up multi-directional, horizontal dialogues and decision-making processes between government and civil society. But it necessitates experimentation and institutional change, which can be difficult for local governments because of rigid structures and a lack of resources. There are also concerns over the extent to which citizens can genuinely influence government. Hence critical engagement with local concepts and practices of ‘co-creation’ is necessary to identify challenges and ways forward.

The blended intensive programme “Co-Creating Urban Futures” will take place from October 2024 to January 2025 and consists of three elements: 

  1. online Roundtables, between October 2024 and December 2024;
  2. online learning Hub (on Moodle) to facilitate independent and group learning and provide documentation of the course and workshop;
  3. the main on-site learning, between 18-22 November 2024.

The module develops comparative and interdisciplinary knowledge of co-creation in local government and examines its potential to address urban challenges. The international (Brussels, Bucharest, Glasgow, Rome, Tübingen) and interdisciplinary background of staff and students (Political Science, Geography, Planning, Urban Design and Urban Studies) will help develop multi-faceted, comparative insights. Learning will occur in blended formats, including online roundtables with participating staff and students. A 5-day meeting in Bucharest incorporating in-person learning activities is also part of the course. 

This will be a 3 ECTS module, with some flexibility for more/ less credits to be awarded according to each institution’s needs. Assessment will be a mix of group presentations carried out in-person (50%) and individual projects (50%).

Main topics addressed

  • Co-creation and co-production in contemporary cities
  • Challenges facing cities today
  • Democracy and politics
  • Urban governance
  • Planning, policy and power

Learning outcomes

  • a critical understanding of co-creation in urban futures;
  • local and comparative knowledge of recent experiences in cities;
  • skills of engaging with the government and the public;
  • experience of collaborative learning.
Dates: 16 October 2024 - 16 January 2025 Total workload: 90 hours
Format: Blended ECTS: 3*
Locations: Bucharest, Romania Language: English (B2)

*Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university.

Physical mobility

On-site Learning in Bucharest

Teaching staff and students come together in the city of Bucharest for five days of intensive learning experiences (18-22 November 2024). The focus will be on the transfer of theoretical approaches to co-creation into more practical exercises, applications, and discussions. 

Students will work together in groups, examining case studies of co-creation in Bucharest. There will be site visits, talks by government officials, community groups and activists. 

Teaching staff will give teaching input and lead smaller working groups dedicated to deepening the learning experiences. These include:

  • drawing lessons from interdisciplinary theoretical approaches and to problematise them in terms of practicability,
  • experimenting with existing tools and techniques for organising participatory problem solving,
  • conducting interviews with participants of co-creation projects to gather insight in their experiences and to identify strengths and shortcomings of such collaborative processes,
  • meeting stakeholders from governments, administrations and civil society, and learn about their interests, needs, and recommendations for co-creating urban futures,
  • participating in excursions to ‘best’ and ‘worst’ practice examples.

A dinner is also included in the social part of the schedule. 

Virtual part

The virtual part of the programme consists of 5 online sessions, held between 16 October - 4 December:

1. Introduction - 16 October

In the first session, the main aims and objectives of the course will be introduced and discussed with the students.

2. Global urban challenges - 23 October

In the second session, teaching staff from the participating universities will present their perspectives on “global urban challenges.”

3. Co-creation and democracy - 30 October

The third session is dedicated to the main concepts of “co-creation”, their normative foundations and role within politics. All sessions include group work and discussions. After the workshop, one further session will take place to review and summarise the results of the on-site course and to fill the online repository with content.

4. Power, planning and policy making - 7 November

The fourth session aims at establishing the interrelatedness of “power, planning and policy making” and will introduce the case studies for the workshop.

5. Summary and concluding reflections - 4 December

After the workshop, one further session will take place to review and summarise the results of the on-site course and to fill the online repository with content.

All sessions include group work and discussions.


This course is open to Master's and PhD students at CIVIS member universities, with academic background in architecture, politics, geography, sociology, urban studies, urban design, urban planning.

Participants should have not only a good level of written and spoken English (B2), but also critical thinking, interviewing/ fieldwork, teamwork. 

NB: Visiting Students - Erasmus Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for your selected CIVIS programme, you must be a fully enrolled student at your CIVIS home university at the time you will be undertaking the programme. Click here to learn more about the eligibility criteria.

This course is also open to students with the same academic profile, who are enrolled at a CIVIS’ strategic partner universities . Please check here, if you can apply and this particular course is open to applications from your university. Successful applicants will be nominated for an Erasmus+ grant covering travel and subsistence costs during their stay. Erasmus+ grant rules apply. Applicants should be willing to extend their stay at the host university for 1-3 weeks for additional research and/or training purposes.

Application process

Send your application by filling in the online application form by 28 April 2024. Don't forget to also include your Level of English (According to CEFR). 

All applications will be evaluatedbased on their level of English and appropriate academic background. 

Apply now


Students will conduct group presentations on a problem of co-production (e.g. equal access to knowledge resources) at the end of the 5 day meeting (50%). The group presentation will be given in mixed groups (from different universities), developing collaborative as well as analytical and presentations skills.

Students will also conduct an individual project on a case study in their own country. This part of the assignment (50%) will take the form of podcasts, videos, or written reports and be made available on the Hub. This individual assignment will be submitted online at the end of the course, in January 2025. 

Blended Intensive Programme

This CIVIS course is a Blended Intensive Programme (BIP): a new format of Erasmus+ mobility which combines online teaching with a short trip to another campus to learn alongside students and professors across Europe. Click here to learn more about CIVIS BIPs.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

  • Professor Annette Hastings (Glasgow)
  • Dr Rolf Frankenberger (Tübingen)
  • Associate Professor Luisa Moretto (Brussels)
  • Dr Giuseppe Faldi (Brussels)
  • Dr Cătălina Dobre (Brussels)
  • Associate Professor Mihai Răzvan Niță (Bucharest)
  • Dr Athanasios Gavrilidis (Bucharest)
  • Dr Serena Olcuire (Rome)
  • Professor Carlo Cellamare (Rome)