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UVA Architecture: Sustainable Europe
Budapest, Hungary; Freiburg, Germany; Ostrava, Czech Republic; Prague, Czech Republic; Riva San Vitale, Switzerland; Venice, Italy; Vienna, Austria; Zurich, Switzerland (Education Abroad Programs Program)
Program Terms: Summer
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Budget Sheets Summer
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Class Status:
2nd year, 3rd year, 4th year, Graduate student Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.5
Language Requirement:
Open to Non-UVa Students:
Housing: Hotel Language Courses Offered: No
Language of Instruction: English
Credit Type:
Direct Credit
Program Type:
Faculty directed, Faculty led
Tuition Payments Made To:
Education Abroad Advisor:
Ryan Hathaway
Application Fee:
Study Abroad Administrative Fee:
Subject Area:
Architecture, Urban and Environmental Planning
Program Description:

Note: This program is not being offered in Summer 2018. Details about Summer 2019's program will be published in late 2018.

This course analyzes trends, planning, and policies in sustainable urban development, water resource management, and sustainable transport in Europe. It is divided into 4 interrelated modules and includes travel to several locations to examine various case studies. The modules are:

  1. Fundamentals of sustainability and environmental policy-making in modern Europe (online prior to trip and at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France);
  2. Addressing Europe’s wicked sustainability challenges and the roles for civil society (Italy, Hungary and the Czech Republic);
  3. Water resource management: the sustainable management and provision of this critical resource (Venice and Switzerland); and
  4. Making urban transport sustainable: How European cities promote walking,cycling, and public transport (Germany and Switzerland).

Program Preparation
Participants will complete a set of online requirements prior to the start of the program. The requirements will be available starting May 5.

The first module of the class will be taught primarily online prior to the trip. It will provide an introduction to prepare students for their trip to Europe. It will focus on the differences in government structure, planning and sustainability between the USA and Europe. Students will also develop study questions and research goals for their trips. In Europe, this module will be reinforced via a field trip to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

The second module will focus on how Europeans are addressing some of the wicked sustainability challenges they face. The group will visit Venice, Italy, to learn about the MOSE flood protection project and consider the pros and cons of this major infrastructure project being undertaken to protect this culturally invaluable ‘sinking’ city and surrounding lagoon. The industrial city of Ostrava, Czech Republic provides interesting insights into the balancing act communities face between economic, ecological and social concerns. The region is grappling with how much to push its heavy industries to clean up while addressing current and historical pollution problems. They are also doing innovative things to advance social and cultural well being in the abandoned spaces of former industrial sites. The group will meet with experts from a large international organization based in Budapest, Hungary that is helping to advance sustainability-related policy-making in new and future EU member states. The group the roles for civil society by visiting an environmental NGO in Ostrava, and activists working on both refugee and Roma rights issues in Budapest.

The third module will explore sustainable natural systems in Venice, the Ticino Region of Switzerland, and Zurich. The primary focus is on water supply, risk, and use. Why this theme in this place? Switzerland is one of the European countries that has taken the lead in maintaining and preserving its water supply. Called the “water tower” of Europe, Switzerland has around six percent of the continent’s freshwater resources. For our study on water, we will examine the following topics related to freshwater using research and case studies from around the world: global availability; significant threats; negative human impact; allocation and regulation; distribution; and water equity. We will begin in Venice with careful observations of water as both a resource and challenge to urban sustainability and explore the positive impact that cross-jurisdictional cooperation can have. In Ticino we will focus on water quality, a topic that will also be explored with researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Research in Zurich. During this module of the program, we will have the opportunity to have a learning laboratory literally in our neighborhood with Lake Lugano in Ticino and Lake Zurich in Zurich.

The fourth module will focus on transport policy, planning, and sustainability. The module will begin with a discussion of the transport and land-use connection and the concept of sustainable transport. We will then focus on active transport (walking and cycling) and public transport. Throughout the module students will work in groups to evaluate the transferability of innovative European transport policies to the USA. Tentative innovative policies and policy areas include: high speed rail, bike sharing, car sharing, traffic calming, tolling trucks in Switzerland and Germany, congestion pricing in London (UK), shared spaces, and innovative land-use planning systems. For each policy, planning approach, and case study in Europe we will attempt to determine how and if European policies could work in America. Our field trip to Freiburg, Germany, and our meetings with transport policy makers and planners there serve as a capstone for this segment.


Sustainable Europe
(PLAN 5500; 6 credits)

Course Information
This program is open to Undergraduate and Graduate students of the School of Architecture as well as students from other schools at the University of Virginia. All students take two 3-credit PLAN 5500 Special Topics courses for a total of 6 credits:

- European Sustainable Economic Development
- Sustainable European Transportation Models


Riva San Vitale
and Lake Lugano, Switzerland

Cost & Financial Aid
The program cost and payment schedule are listed under the "Budget Sheets" link at the top of this page. Students with identifiable financial need are encouraged to apply for fellowships, scholarships, and financial aid. In particular, School of Architecture students are encouraged to apply for
School of Architecture funding. Review the Scholarships page for additional opportunities.

Accessibility Statement
The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual and flexible basis. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.

Passports and Visas
All students will need a valid passport in order to participate in this program. US citizens will not need a visa. Students who are non-US citizens are responsible for researching the visa requirements for entry to Switzerland. Any visa cost is not included in the program cost.


Students Visiting Zurich


Program Director Suzanne Morse Moomaw, Ph.D.,, is Associate Professor in Urban and Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on sustainable community and economic development practices in neighborhood, regional, and global arenas.

Ralph Buehler, Ph.D.,, is Associate Professor in Urban Affairs & Planning at Virginia Tech. His research interests are in contrasting transport and land-use policies, transport systems, and travel behavior in Europe and the US.

Todd Schenk, Ph.D.,, is Assistant Professor in Urban Affairs & Planning at Virginia Tech. His research focuses on environmental policy and planning across the world with a current focus on climate change and infrastructure.

This program is currently not accepting applications.