Habitat Unit

DAAD/BMZ, 2016  2020
Prof. Dr. Philipp Misselwitz, Jakub Galuszka, Dr. Anna Steigemann 

Wits – TUB Urban Lab Interdisciplinary Bilateral Postgraduate Studies Programme

The recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement have highlighted the fundamental roles played by cities and local urban stakeholders in achieving sustainable development. The Habitat III process and the New Urban Agenda (NUA), currently under discussion and expected to be agreed in Quito in October 2016, is a unique opportunity to strengthen the urban narrative globally and provide an enabling framework for cities and local urban stakeholders to achieve SDG goals. By recognising that cities and their inhabitants safeguard global common goods, such as climate, economic prosperity, social integration, democratization and political stability, a profound change in policy responses is needed to enable truly transformative actions, motivating changes in the way we use, build and govern our urban environments.

The bilateral Wits-TUB Urban Lab programme supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) seeks to improve graduate education in urban fields across sub-Saharan Africa. Both lead partners, the Habitat Unit at the School of Architecture of the Technische Universität Berlin, and the School of Architecture and Planning at University of the Witwatersrand offer a new urban-oriented graduate and postgraduate training and capacity building programme that would effectively address the challenges and needs outlined above.

The overall objective of the programme is to: Contribute to the implementation of urban-relevant SDGs and the New Urban Agenda in sub-Saharan Africa through the development of a sustainable, bilateral academic programme at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) and TU Berlin (TUB) that will deliver increased capacities at institutional and individual levels in academia, civil society, private and public sectors. The main project activities will include bilateral exchange activities, workshops and conferences implemented through the Wits-TUB Urban Lab and will focus on four innovation areas that address SDG implementation in urban areas: 

  • Politics and policy of the urban
  • Understanding complex urban systems 
  • Managing change processes
  • Co-producing knowledge between theory and practice ​

The programme offers scholarships to African students with the first scholarships available for the masters studies at Wits University commencing in 2017.



WITS-TUB Urban Lab Graduate School – 1 st Joint Summer School+

Between July 17 and July 28 2017, the Habitat Unit hosts the first summer school of the Wits – TUB Urban Lab Interdisciplinary Bilateral Postgraduate Studies Programme (2016-2020).

The summer school focuses on the themes of co-production and practice orientation in research and academia. In this context, the summer school explores three sub-themes central for urban development practice and research. This includes key concepts and different approaches relevant for contemporary housing, urban ecology, social in- and exclusion and urban informality as the three themes with which we research for new innovative ways to co-producing knowledge that also encompasses more practice orientation. The summer school offers the possibility to critically reflect on the origins of such concepts and their applicability across contexts of the global South and North.

The summer school is joined by 14 Master students and 5 PhD students from the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg as well as 23 Master students from the TU Berlin’s international Urban Management Programme. Additionally a number of external scholars from South Africa and Germany take part in the summer school, deliver guest lectures and contribute to the planned discussions and workshop sessions.

In the context of the Wits-TU Berlin Summer School, we also host a public Urban Talk lecture with Prof. Marie Huchzermeyer, who speaks on “Interrogating the New Urban Agenda from the perspective of pressing urban realities in Sub-Saharan Africa” on Monday, July 17, 6.30pm in TUB H3005.

The Summer School is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation (BMZ) and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) via the Bilateral SDG Graduate Schools initiative.


Wits-TUB Urban Lab – 2nd Joint Summer School+
The Wits-TUB Urban Lab – 2nd Joint Summer School is organized by the School of Architecture and Planning (SoAP) in cooperation with the Habitat Unit at the Technische Universität Berlin (TUB) and will be hosted from the 15th-21th of April 2018 at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. The purpose of the summer school is to encourage international exchange of knowledge and research between postgraduate students of SoAP, TUB and local partners. The summer school will have a series of lectures, seminars, field trips, exhibitions and presentations by internal and external stakeholders. It will be joined by a group of master and PhD students from the Technical University of Berlin as well as current master and PhD scholarships holders of the Wits-TUB Urban Lab programme from the University of the Witwatersrand.
The summer school will involve piloting of a new course Theory and Practice of Urban Management (which is a core course of the Master of Urban Studies in the field of Urban Management) as well as one of the modules developed within the Wits-TUB Urban Lab project: ‘Co-producing knowledge between theory and practice’. It will be delivered through the engagement of students in an urban studio/workshop identified with partner organisations networked with the university and located in Braamfontein district.
The summer school is realised with the support from the DAAD and BMZ.
Call for scholarship applications +

Co-producing urban sustainability transformations: Wits-TUB Urban Lab – Summer School Application deadline for PhD students

3 scholarships will be awarded on a competitive basis to PhD students for joining a summer school at University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, April 16 – 22, 2018, in collaboration with Habitat Unit.

The DAAD/BMZ funded Wits- TUB Urban Lab offers 3 scholarships for PhD students to take part in a summer school on Urban Development in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. The advertised call invites students' contributions, which question whether co-production can serve as a new paradigm to achieve transformation to sustainability in urban areas. How would existing conflictual co-production partnerships need to evolve and what new state-civil society-private sector interfaces might be needed? And what are the roles of urban professionals and researchers in this context?

The submission deadline for scholarship applications is December 30, 2017. During the current selection process 3 PhD students will be selected. Please send your application (including CV and 1 page motivation letter) to: jakub.galuszka@tu-berlin.de (cc: anna.wilkpham@gmail.com).

The scholarships are effective for the time April 16 – 22, 2018 and include flight and accommodation.

Academic partners +

The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, School of Architecture and Planning, Professor Mfaniseni Sihlongonyane, Professor Marie Huchzermeyer

academic partners



SDG-Graduiertenkollegs: Gemeinsames Wissen für die Städte von morgen – Bevölkerungswachstum, Luftverschmutzung, verstopfte Straßen – in den Städten in Subsahara-Afrika nehmen die Herausforderungen zu. Ein südafrikanisch-deutsches Graduiertenkolleg fördert nun Nachwuchskräfte, die Städte nachhaltiger gestalten sollen.


Jakub Galuszka

Habitat Unit, Room A 622
T + 49 – 30 – 314 – 21908
F + 49 – 30 – 314 – 21907