The Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability (GCSMUS), is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) via the DAAD program “Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation – exceed” and based at the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin). GCSMUS seeks to introduce the use of social science research methodologies for the advancement of urban sustainable development, by connecting social sciences methodology, via knowledge transfer, exchange and implementation, with urban policy-making, planning and design.
The Principle of the 5 E’s
In light of the Sustainable Development Goals of the Agenda 2030, the GCSMUS focuses on the SDG #11. In order to contribute to the achievement of the SDG #11 targets, the center’s main actions revolve around the advancement of five strategic elements – the principle of 5 E’s:
- Education: Building a global methodological network via conferences,
- Experience: Gaining applicable skills in research through combined teaching-research-courses,
- Evaluate: Reflecting on methods via writing a PhD Thesis and developing project proposals for post-doctoral research
- Exchange: Gaining applicable skills in practice through practical-empirical implementations and
- Enhance: Workshops for bridging the gap between research and professional work.
Outcomes derived from planned actions are to:
- inform the practice of design disciplines (e.g. architecture, urban design, landscape architecture), urban planning and policy-making initiatives that address dynamics of inclusion/exclusion, safety and resilience in cities throughout developing countries and
- lead to more excellence in education.
Overall Design of the Centre
More specifically, the GCSMUS puts forward an innovative methodological stance that attempts to bring together research methods of the social sciences and research methods deployed in design disciplines, urban planning and policy making, to then co-produce enhanced spatial methods for promoting urban sustainability in the form of evidence-based and low-impact urban development (LIUD). This is conceptualized explicitly as a peer-learning process between the 48 partners from 47 countries and 8 world regions, for there is a need, in both developed and developing countries, to close implementation gaps of LIUD approaches and cultivate transdisciplinary methodology.