BACKGROUND – Education in low resource settings


The Department of Architecture at Aalto University (former Helsinki University of Technology) has given courses on development issues since 1993. The main objective has been to learn to understand the realities of life and conditions of professional work in a developing country.


The first course, Interplay of Cultures, took students to Senegal to give an introduction to the general development problems of the majority of the world’s people and communities. In 2000 the course, then called World Architecture and Planning, moved to Benin focusing on urbanization and uncontrolled growth of the cities. In 2008 course moved from Africa to Asia. Cities in Crisis course started in Cambodia in 2008.


After that the ecosystem of courses alike has grown within Aalto. The education and research has become more multidisciplinary and teams from different fields have been giving their inputs to societal impact globally. Multidisciplinary study programme Sustainable Global Technologies (SGT) started in 2006 in Aalto’s Water Engineering department and was followed by How to Change the World – Innovating toward sustainability courses at the School of Business to name few. The architecture course continues with the name Cities in Transition and has been working in Dar es Salaam together with SGT in 2013 – 2014 and in the island of Bohol in the Philippines since 2015.


Aalto WiT LAB is a research group and community building on these footprints.


Read also: Aalto University Architecture courses in low resource settings (1993 – 2009)
Text by Hennu Kjisik, Professor, Dr.Tech., architect SAFA