HUWISU | Summer on Campus
Subject Course

Land in the City - Green in the City [S2]

How can greenery and gardens fit into today´s concept of smart, clean, compact, and global cities? In the age of climate change and mega urbanization, urban agriculture and horticulture provide multiple ecological, economical, and social benefits. In this course, we will discuss and explore new perspectives of how cities can be sustainably developed to be greener and more resilient.

Course Period
July 15, 2024 – Aug. 9, 2024 Session II
Metropolitan Studies & Urban Development
Course Levels
Class Size

max. 18 participants

Credits and Certificate

Participants will receive 6 ECTS credit points and a certificate if they attend regularly (at least 80% attendance) and participate actively. Additionally, six weeks after the end of the course a Transcript of Records is issued by Humboldt-Universität.

Application Deadline
May 15, 2024, or when participant quota is reached
Course Fee

Explore and learn about urban plants and planting. Within intensive industrialization and urbanization the urban greens were lost in many cities. Now with increasing environmental problems, lack of farmland and food supply, gardens can find the way back to urban dwellers and into the cities. The course provides academic research, projects and experiences of urban gardening in theory and practice for future decision-makers in the fields of urban design and planning, civil engineering, architectecture and landscape architecture as well as for students from administration, politics and legislation.

The classes will deal with the history of urban agriculture and garden cultures for example in the old Persian world and the ancient cultures of Mayas, Aztecs and Incas, as well as in North America and Europe. In the class we will discuss the current role and future of urban agriculture and horticulture in todays world, but especially in Berlin.

The course will identify and show examples of the ecological, economical and social functions of urban agriculture and horticulture in large cities and discusses the institutional aspects, the protection and the creation of green spaces. The seminars, lectures and field trips will offer specific skills, tools and know-how to manage urban design and environment sustainable, in particular to deal with food production, energy, housing, transport, water and recycling management. Meet experts of urban agriculture and horticulture projects in Berlin, such as green roof and walls, allotment gardens, community gardens and market oriented urban farms (vegetable, fish and algae production). You will also explore different ways to protect and create urban green infrustructure.

Course structure
  • You will receive a total of 45 contact hours (one contact hour equals 45 minutes; 11 contact hours per week).
  • The lessons are held three times a week.
  • Lessons will comprise lectures, group work, discussion sessions, excursions.


The courses are grouped into different time tracks.
Your course will take place in Track B.

Monday: 9.00 am – 10.30 am & 11.00 am – 12.30 pm
Wednesday: 9.00 am – 10.30 am & 11.00 am – 12.30 pm
Thursday: 1.30 pm – 3.00 pm & 3.30 pm – 5.00 pm

Cultural activities
You are welcome to join our cultural program with an excellent selection of excursions, sports activities, and social gatherings. It is the perfect setting for getting to know each other and for experiencing the varous facets of Berlin. There are no additional costs for participation in the activities.

Activities and tours we offer regularly: Federal Chancellery, German Parliament, House of Representatives, Topography of Terror, Political Archive, Museum Island, Kreuzberg Tour, Daytrip to Potsdam, Exhibitions…

Language Skills
English B2
Motivation Letter
About one page in English
Student Profile

This course is designed for undergraduate students of all subjects with a strong interest in urban planning, ecological, environmental, cultural and agricultural topics.

This course is taught in English, including readings in English. For the understanding of the texts and the discussions in class a language level B2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) is required.

Participating students need to be at least 18 years old.

Mr. Volker Minks

Mr. Volker Minks holds a master’s degree in agricultural engineering from Humboldt Unversität zu Berlin with specialization in urban gardening, landscape design and sustainable urban planning. Mr. Minks has worked in interdisciplinary research projects in the areas of urban agriculture and horticulture, green technology, innovation and sustainable urban planning in Germany, the United States, Cuba, India and Brazil.

Since 2011 he has been the coordinator and lecturer for the course "Land in the City, Green in the City". He works with specialists from different fields and Professors from the Life Sciences Faculty at the Albrecht Daniel Thaer-Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. In Brazil he is affiliated with the Escola Superior de Agricultura "Luiz de Queiroz" (ESALQ) and Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (FAU) of the University of Sao Paulo (USP).

His research is related to the ecological, economic and social benefits of green areas and urban agriculture in big cities as ecosystems, especially in the context of adapting and mitigating climate change. In 2011 he worked as coordinator for the C40 Sao Paulo Large Cities - Climate Summit and co-produced the publication - Building Sustainable Cities. He organized cooperation between USP and Humboldt with several KOSMOS Workshops: Berlin meets Sao Paulo: Cities for all – livable and sustainable.

Since 2014 he has been a part of the Cátedra José Bonifácio of the Ibero-American Center (CIBA USP), dealing with the challenges of Latin America in the areas of international governance, trade, negotiations, security, energy, sustainable education, innovation and environment. He is part of the Global Institute for Peace (GLIP USP) at the University of Sao Paulo. Working in projects with balance of gender and diversity, sustainability and peace, green infrastructure, ESG, nature as well with the indigenous populations to promote preservation of biodiversity, food security and culture.

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