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SSCI-499: GeoDesign Practice: The European Experience

Summer 2014 in Amsterdam
Professor Darren Ruddell
Dates: June 2-July 3, 2014 (June 9-20 in Amsterdam)


Conduct research with leading international GeoDesign experts in the Netherlands and Los Angeles, and apply Dutch urban planning, geospatial technologies, and environmental design principles to address an LA-area societal challenge of your choice. Analyze three GeoDesign case studies of high-efficiency land uses which minimize adverse environmental impacts as you visit Amsterdam, rich in diverse people, commerce, and land uses; the historic town of Utrecht with a long tradition of integrated housing densities, greenbelts, and bicycle paths; and Rotterdam, home to Europe’s largest port with cutting-edge architecture. Work with faculty from Vrije University Amsterdam, the University of Utrecht, and USC in the field for insights into addressing urban design, population growth, increasing urbanization and globalization, resource and land management, social inequities, and the likely impacts of climate change.


  • June 2 – June 6, 9am – noon, USC campus: Course work on core concepts of GeoDesign, urbanism, planning and policy, people and place, and geospatial technologies.
  • June 9 – June 20, (12 days): Vrije University Amsterdam as base: Field experience.
  • June 30 – July 3, 9am – noon, USC campus: Presentation of capstone research paper proposing a specific GeoDesign strategy in Los Angeles County.

GeoDesign is a forward-thinking, interdisciplinary framework that combines planning, design, and environmental systems with geospatial technologies to explore ways to build a better world. Europe is a region of the world that is particularly advanced in the integration of land management, transportation systems, ecological conservation, and high quality of life. The practice of GeoDesign in the Netherlands is centuries old, and the Dutch, in particular, have long been leaders in designing land uses to maximum efficiency while minimizing adverse environmental impacts. Land reclamation, alternative energy sources, and advanced transportation systems are hallmarks of Dutch ingenuity.

Program Costs:

Tuition: $6144

Airfare: $1200-1400

Additional expenses*

Total: $7344-7544*

*Additional expenses include estimated costs for airfare, accommodations, visa fees and personal expenses (which can vary greatly from student to student).

Funding is available through SURF, summer undergraduate research fund and Continuing Student Scholarships

For further information on this course, contact Dr. Darren Ruddell, Assistant Professor (Teachign) and Director of Undergraduate Studies at