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Resilient Cities: A diary from the workshop

by Ira Borgstedt, student of Heidelberg University


During the last winter semester, the “Resilient Cities” Seminar has been introduced to our curriculum. It was held as an innovative teaching format under the umbrella of Flagship 1 of the 4EU+ Alliance. The cutting-edge format included a cooperation between Heidelberg University, the Sorbonne University in Paris and Charles University in Prague. Due to the external circumstances, the event followed the format of blended learning, using digital and analogue as well as synchronous and asynchronous elements. The initial digital phase was followed by a workshop in Prague in September, which, in addition to getting to know each other personally, was primarily aimed at discussing the participants' own research results and looking at on-site case studies.


Although the Covid-19 pandemic postponed the in-person workshop, it was worth the wait. The first day of the workshop began with an exciting keynote lecture addressing the Czech spatial planning system, and providing a perspective on regional linkages and funding opportunities. Small group works and discussions on the social, economic, and infrastructural aspects of resilience in the participants' hometowns were next on the agenda.


On the second day, we visited various places in the Prague region where resilience could be experienced first-hand: How is resilience implemented and evaluated by microbrewery operators? What makes the tourist town of Kutná Hora socially resilient? And how do the high-power lasers of the Eli Beamlines research institute relate to resilience? The participants actively discussed these and many other questions during pleasant get-togethers in the evening, as well as during the closing session the following day.


We particularly enjoyed the opportunity to make contact with students from other universities and to absorb the insights into other disciplines. Looking at three different cities - Paris, Prague and Heidelberg - during the discussion of the individual questions helped us grasp the concept of resilience and to work out the local specificities of this concept.