Summer school

Crowds at Copenhagen harbour pool

Ways of Living: Danish Architecture & Urban Design (Copenhagen’s Walking Classroom, Summer 2023)

An international summer school (BA-level, 7.5 ECTS) at the University of Copenhagen.

Application deadline: 1 April 2023 (1st round) and 1 June 2023 (2nd round if there are available places).

The course runs from 31 July 2023 through 9 Aug 2023. 

See the course catalogue.

Course description

This two-week, intensive, summer course welcomes students from a diversity of academic and cultural backgrounds and socio-political perspectives, who have deep interests in urban environments and issues. The city of Copenhagen is our primary classroom, and walking lectures, sidewalk seminars, independent field studies, and collegial debates will be unfolded across a diversity of places within the metropolis. First-hand experiences, place-based interpretative discourses, on-site analyses, and critical readings are entwined to support grounded ways of questioning and considering the historical and contemporary Danish urban design and architecture cases at hand. ‘Ways of living’, in this course, encompasses and addresses a diversity of human and nonhuman actors and relationalities, and acknowledges that architecture and urban design are never stand-alone but are always entangled as parts of something both bigger and smaller than themselves – both materially and immaterially. In this course, ways of living span a broad spectrum between ways of living relative to the constantly shifting socio-cultural conditions and political landscapes, as well as ways of living with (and as) nature and climate crisis. Our primary foci include such wider themes as urban history, sustainable urban development, public life and day-to-day life (including human health and wellness), climate adaptation and biodiversity, architectural transformation, multi-modal transport, decision-making processes (including participatory urban design and the distribution of power relations and resources), circularity, playscapes, and urban recreation.

NB: Additional notes on course structure: The primary assignment in this course is a written exam paper structured as a critical reflection logbook. In general, each course day is organised such that collective field sessions compromise the first half of the day, and independent field studies compromise the afternoons. Moreover, there will be a one-course day designated as a full-day group field study exploring new neighbourhood developments in Copenhagen. Note well that weekend days are included in the course schedule given the condensed period of two weeks. Lastly, all sites can be easily reached via public transport, bicycle, foot, or/and scooter – however, should you have any accessibility-related concerns, please feel free to mail your queries in advance to

Student Testimonials (Summer 2021 + 2022)

The course was a remarkable ON-SITE experience in the city of Copenhagen, while observing and reflecting on the WAYS OF LIVING, how people behave, act and evolve over time. Together with the focus on the SPACE IN BETWEEN, meaning the transition between private and public and all layers in between, together with the focus on the people (considered) at the margins of society, and moreover actions and problems invisible for the users yet crucial for the way we continue to live and use the city as our playground.

Anonymised student

Was such a pleasure to spend two weeks in Copenhagen this summer taking part in the CU Ways of Living class. Learned so much about the design and use of public space. It felt like I was handed a new set of eyes to observe 'life between buildings' at home in Amsterdam too - very grateful for that Courtney D. Coyne-Jensen and Lars Gemzøe! Next months, I'm hoping to put bits of what I've learned in practice with cases/projects I'm working on.

Anonymised student

Thank you Courtney D. Coyne Jensen and Lars Gemzøe for organising this fantastic course down to the last detail. Thanks to you, we were able to see the city through on-site lectures, commenting on the architecture and urban spaces on the spot and exchanging ideas between teachers and students through continuous dialogue. These lecture-tours in the city were special because they were seen not only from the point of view of two architects but also of two citizens madly in love with their city. With your overwhelming passion, you showed us every detail of Copenhagen from the design of the mailbox to the colour of the light on the streetlights. You passed on this attention to detail and curiosity to us students. In fact, my colleagues and I didn't want to stop for a moment and wanted to visit every corner of the city, becoming more and more impressed every day by the changes Copenhagen has made in recent years. Can’t wait to come back!

Anonymous student

Thank you again for this outstanding experience! This course is extremely recommendable for everyone interested in the future of our build environment - but especially for urban planners/designers and architects. My gratitude goes to Courtney and Lars and all the people involved in creating the course as well as the wonderful people I got to study Copenhagen with!

Anonymised student

It has been an honour for me to meet so inspiring people and see so many inspiring places. I’ve learned a lot! Thank you very much to everyone, in particular to the lecturers Courtney D. Coyne-Jensen and Lars Gemzøe. As they would say in Danish: Tusind tak!

Anonymised student