M.Sc. Integrated Urbanism & Sutainable Design


The vision of the IUSD Lab is to jointly develop the IUSD programme into a self-sustainable German-Egyptian centre for graduate teaching, research, training and dialogue in Stuttgart and Cairo - the “Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design Laboratory” (IUSD-Lab). Its thematic focus will be on sustainable urban development of Egypt and the MENA region in close relation to international approaches.


The IUSD Lab is a platform for research and graduate teaching of the master’s program Integrated Urbanism & Sustainable Design, at Ain Shams University and Stuttgart University. The IUSD Lab serves as a platform for interdisciplinary and intercultural academic exchange. IUSD-Lab has established itself as a joint, cross-institutional center at Stuttgart University and Ain Shams University, involving several faculties and departments within these universities. It closely cooperates with a broad range of partners from different academic, governmental and private institutions around the world. The IUSD-Lab provides access to the megacity of Cairo and economic hub of Stuttgart with their world-class networks of industrial and research institutions. Since 2013, the IUSD Lab has broadened its scope, i.e. embracing the active cultural civil society in Maghreb region. It supports the implementation of pilot projects in close cooperation with its international network of research, teaching and business partners. The results of teaching activities are contributing to the lab’s research activities and vice versa. Different forms of outputs, such as events and publications are used to disseminate the Lab’s work. The IUSD-Lab is working on the selected fields of sustainable urban development that also represent the three core competencies of the IUSD programme:

  • Urban governance and civic engagement
  • Cities, environment and sustainable urban infrastructure
  • Sustainable construction and energy efficient building design
Vision of the IUSD Lab

The vision of the IUSD Lab is to jointly develop the IUSD programme into a self-sustainable German-Egyptian centre for graduate teaching, research, training and dialogue in Stuttgart and Cairo - the “Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design Laboratory” (IUSD-Lab). Its thematic focus will be on sustainable urban development of Egypt and the MENA region in close relation to international approaches.


The aim of situating the IUSD programme within the framework of the IUSD-Lab is to pool competencies in sustainable urban development in order to become self-sustainable through external research funding and funding of partners after the end of the initial period of funding by DAAD and the supporting ministries. It also gives a proposal on engaging former IUSD graduates within the research activities of the IUSD LAB.

  • self sustain IUSD after funding phase
  • Engaging former IUSD graduates within the research activities
  • Strengthen international partnerships and networks

IUSD-Lab was inaugurated in September 2012, on the occasion of the second IUSD-week. The aim of situating the IUSD program within the framework of the IUSD-Lab is to pool competencies in sustainable urban development in order to become self-sustainable through external research funding and funding of partners after the end of the initial period of funding by DAAD and the supporting ministries.

How to join IUSD Lab?

There are two ways to join the IUSD Lab activities:

1) Once the IUSD Lab has a running research project, or is planning a summer school, conference, etc. there will be announcements and calls via this website, the IUSD Facebook group and email. 

2) In case you have a research project idea that matches the above mentioned competencies, including options of funding, please get in touch with the local IUSD Lab offices in Cairo and/or Stuttgart.

Recent Activities since 2011

(most recent mentioned first)


The emergence, development and challenges of city-regions was the subject of an international symposium organized from 26 till 28 of April in Stuttgart. The public event on "Sustainability in the Endless City - International Perspectives on the IBA City Region Stuttgart" and the expert group workshop "Collective action and resilience in emerging city regions" attended by 20 experts from different global contexts, reflected on the challenges and potentials of these areas. Reflections on mismatches between local and international agendas and the need for integrated approaches considering collective action, urban planning and resilience and disaster risk reduction were highlighted. In addition, new strategies to resolve challenges on land management, diversity of spaces, people-centered processes and city-regions competitions were identified. It is foreseen further discussion on these aspects to enhance the coherence between different goals for comprehensive and inclusive urban regions and support emerging city-regions development considering current trends, urban dynamics and local and global agendas.
The 2 events were conceptualized and organized by the department of International Urbanism at the Institute of Urban Planning and Design (SI) and the Institute of Spatial and Regional Planning at the University of Stuttgart (ireus). It was supported by the City of Stuttgart, the Stuttgart StadtRegion, the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (ihs) Rotterdam and the Center of Excellence on Critical Infrastructure and Strategic Planning of Integrated research on Disaster Risk (CoE of IRDR) and financed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) through the Master of Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design (IUSD Lab), the International Center for Culture and Technological Research (IZKT) of the University of Stuttgart and Engagement Global on behalf of the Germany Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). 


Working Groups at the Expert and Researchers' Workshop “Scenarios for Post-War Reconstruction in Aleppo ” in Stuttgart University

Many historic cities are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites of special cultural and physical significance. It is considered in the interest of the international community to preserve these sites due to international standards. However, many of the World Heritage Sites are also listed as in danger due to increasing urban growth or have been subject to destruction by armed conflicts, as it is the case, in Aleppo, Syria. 
In order to discuss some of the challenges related to destruction of World Heritage in conflicted areas, the conference and workshop “Strategies for Post-War Reconstruction” gathers young and experienced researchers and practitioners from Syria, Italy and Germany.  This event is hosted at the University of Stuttgart, by the Department of International Urbanism (Institute of Urban Planning and Design), and kindly funded by the IUSD Lab Stuttgart.
The objects of study will be the historic center of Aleppo, with the aim of developing short term and long-term scenarios on the level of the house, the quarter, and the city. 
All scenarios will be presented and discussed during the workshop and further summarized in a written report following the workshop.

The workshop is undertaken in collaboration with Poitecnico di Bari (Italy) and BTU Cottbus-Senftenber.

Workshop dates:
16 June 2016: Introductory lectures
17-18 June 2016 Workshop at University of Stuttgart
19 June 2016 City tour through Stuttgart's rebuilt historic center


IUSD Lab, Studio Urbane Landschaften, and Leibnitz University Hanover jointly organized the symposium "Let's Walk Urban Landscapes", that took place 01 - 03 September 2015 in the premises of Herrenhausen Palais. The event was supported by Volkswagen Foundation. During three days, students and experts jointly experienced a lively discourse on urban landscapes and modes of knowledge creation via conscious and structured discovery techniques, analyses, and design approaches.

The symposium was a welcomed opportunity for the fifth MSc. IUSD intake to start their introduction weeks in Germany. After actively joining the symposium, the IUSD young professionals jointly discovered Hamburg for a three-day field trip, guided by IUSD Course Director Prof. Antje Stokman. During these days the group explored Hamburg’s urban landscapes based on embodied explorations with different places and people. The aim was to apply and test the different discovery and mapping methodologies of creating knowledge which the students learned during the conference in a creative manner. For that purpose, the group was working and exploring the city on three different themes: “Green city on the water – the Alster” (Focus on Urban Ecology and Ecosystem Design), “Sustainable living and architectural design – IBA Wilhelmsburg versus Hafencity” (Focus on Sustainable Architecture), and “Right to the city and urban social movements – urban and social gardening examples in Altona” (Focus on Urban Policy, Planning and Management). 

Cover of an arabic magazine

IUSD is glad to present a fruitful collaborative initiative strengthening the ties between IUSD Alumni and our emerging IUSD Lab – the “Journal de la Medina” activity, taking place since autumn 2015:

The "Journal de la Medina" is a participatory journal created by the community for the community that aims to shed light on neglected parts of the Medina (old town) of Tunis and to weave together a community of people who share a common objective: to raise awareness of this particular cultural heritage and its preservation. The journal hereby functions as a medium for anyone who is involved with the Medina and its community to share their experience, stories, ideas, feelings etc. associated to this special place and its cultural value. Distributed free, it should become more and more participatory and sustainable through interaction by locals, NGOs and civil society. The editor team consisting of IUSD Alumni Zeineb Mediouni, former IUSD Coordinator Raoul Humpert and Emily Sarsam with backgrounds in cultural studies, architecture, design and urban planning tries to tackle the challenge of grasping the intangible heritage of the old town with a focus on its socio-urban context to work with the community of the Medina for an improved vision of the usage and understanding of their surrounding urban heritage. This particular cultural environment influences the collective city memory of its inhabitants that has to be kept before it is forgotten. In a society with a long history of oral tradition, the history went through a continuous transformation and an eventual romantization of the past. As most of interest is directed into the past of the Medina, the journal tries to capture current moments of the daily life of its community to show another image of the old town than the major "postcard image". For that goal, local calligraphers, poets, artisans and others involved in the cultural sector are contributing to the journal so that their work can be displayed to a wider audience and the sense of participation becomes more common in Tunisia.
The "Journal de la Medina" also strengthens interest in cultural offerings, which will in turn be of benefit to tourism and the local economy.
The Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) supports with its special CrossCulture Plus funding programme this IUSD Lab activity in cooperation with its Tunisian partner organisation bluefish to elaborate a cultural project in the Medina (old town) of Tunis, Tunisia. The ifa is advocating political, social and cultural change in Arab countries in transition in the scope of the transformation partnerships as a partner of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany (AA).

IUSD is looking forward to more collaborations and exchange in the future.

In the year 2015, IUSD Lab Cairo and IUSD Lab Stuttgart have submitted applications for research projects. 


By IUSD Lab Stuttgart and IUSD Lab Cairo
10-12 December 2014
Funded by DAAD

In a two-day workshop the IUSD Lab defines research fields along and around the topic of water sensitive green infrastructure, taking into account environmental, socio-economic and technological challenges in order to prepare coordinated proposal activities. During the workshop upcoming funding options (with and without focus on the MENA region) were discussed with the aim to initiate consortia covering the various aspects relevant for the topic.

By IUSD Lab Cairo and IUSD Lab Stuttgart
22 September - 03 October 2014
Funded by DAAD

The Summer School was held in collaboration with Carthage University, Tunis ( Prof. Dr. Imène Zaâfrane Zhioua) and Ain Shams University, Cairo (Prof. Dr. Mohamed Salheen). During 10 days a mixed group of eight German, eight Egyptian and eight Tunisian students developed common concepts in mutual ex­change of experience and much-needed skills for the support of an integrated and sustainable costal development of the Tunisian touristic infrastructure.

By IUSD Lab Cairo
3-7 April 2014

This workshop was done as a part of the ‘IUSD Salon’ events’ series jointly organized with Ain-Shams University and Stuttgart University in collaboration with experts in landscape architecture, biodiversity, and water, ‘Talaat Mostafa Group’, National Water Research Centre and Desert Research Centre. The main objectives of this event were open a new research field, understand the current situation of landscape in Cairo, identify different stakeholders connected to water sensitive urban design, know different contributions of governmental institution, NGOs and public sector towards the topic and discover the needed points for further research linked to water sensitive landscape. The workshop involved visits to several governmental and institutional meetings to get an understanding of how these institutions act toward water consumption, irrigation and agriculture systems, and to get to know their previous studies, current interests and future proposed projects. Numerous field visits and tour around greater Cairo region and its fringes were undertaken by the study group, to acquire information on the landscape patterns of different areas in accordance with their contextual perspective, which the study group later analyzed and classified its results. Examples on how communities existing on the desert outskirts of Cairo deal with water sensitive urban design included ‘Al Rehab’ and ‘Madinaty’ gated communities. Outcomes of this workshop was the fruitful discussion of the problem and preliminary research topics, the primary trial for mapping landscape patterns in Cairo, an overview on the stakeholders involved, highlighting best practices according to different climates and an initiative to create an Atlas for Cairo's landscape based upon the proposed researches.

By IUSD Lab Cairo and IUSD Lab Stuttgart
24-26 March 2014

A fact-finding mission took place in collaboration between both IUSD Lab Cairo and IUSD Lab Stuttgart in cooperation with ISTEUB (Institut Supérieur des Technologies de l'Environnement, de l'Urbanisme et du Bâtiment). In this mission IUSD Lab continued on the knowledge and network built during one of the Course taught by Ain Shams University in December 2013 in the unique island of Djerba. The island has a unique character in its environmental, urban and socio-cultural settings. ASU-Labs then decided to continue with further research activities and for that the fact-finding mission was planned to validate some research lines and contacts professionals, civil society, authorities and stakeholders related to the identified case study. The IUSD team with local partner Dr. Imene Zaafrane applied for funding for a workshop involving German, Egyptian and Tunisian Students to be conducted on the island. The workshop was approved and is planned for the period from 22 Sep. to 3rd of October 2014.

By IUSD Lab Cairo
Funded by GERF

The current transformation process in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) and particularly in Egypt was triggered by a demand for public participation in political decision-making processes, but also by a call for an improvement of living conditions in the region’s rapidly growing cities. The ‘Development Priorities in Informal Areas: Planning, Realization and Local Perceptions’ is a research project jointly developed by Ain Shams University in Cairo (ASU) and the Technical University in Berlin (TU-Berlin) and funded by the German Egyptian Research Fund (GERF). The research aims to develop a theoretical and practical framework and structure for developing priorities for inhabitants’ needs within informal settlements in Cairo-Egypt. This arises because one of the biggest challenges to sustainable urban development in post-revolutionary Metropolitan Cairo remains largely unchanged due to the recent boom in informal building activity within an emergence of a multitude of new local actors beyond those sanctioned by the old regime, which radically changed the power-dynamics in the neighborhoods while the economic uncertainties threaten the poorest households. The output of this project is intended to help policy and decision makers as well as community representatives to forge more effective partnerships towards an inclusive priority driven definition for future participatory upgrading projects.


By IUSD Lab Cairo
2013 - ongoing

Within the IUSD Lab Cairo various workshops and research lines are developed on the issue of sustainable design of buildings as well as site design. The ‘Energy-Efficient, Sustainable Building Design and Construction in Egypt’ research project aims at developing an energy-efficient and sustainable building prototype for a still to specify Egyptian context. The prototype will integrate climatic conditions and locally available sustainable building materials and craftsmanship towards a low-cost affordable housing unit providing thermal comfort. Ain Shams University (ASU) does the research in cooperation with the Housing & Building Research Centre (HBRC) funded by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology in Egypt. The first phase of the project was signed last June 2013 and is now in the process of desktop research looking for state of the art and best practices after which the team will go for the field study survey or local building materials, techniques and norms.

By IUSD Lab Stuttgart
12-13 December 2013
Funded by DAAD Transformation partnership

The workshop is co-hosted by the Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design Lab (IUSD Lab) at the University of Stuttgart and the Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design Lab (IUSD Lab) at Ain Shams University Cairo. It is organized by the Department of International Urbanism (SI), in cooperation with the IUSD-Lab at Ain Shams University. The workshop is supported by DAAD and financed by the Foreign Office of Germany (Auswärtiges Amt). The initiation of this bi-cultural workshop is driven by a belief that students who become involved in well organized and carefully framed socially engaged projects during their studies will continue to pursue socially responsible approaches in their professional lives. The workshop seeks to contribute to the wider debate for a joint development of a systemization of tools and teaching methodologies for Live Projects at German and Egyptian Universities. ‘Live Projects: Laboratories for Change?’ addressed a variety of questions in its sessions including but not limiting to the teaching and learning methodologies within the academic programs and its pedagogy, the long-term sustainability of Live Projects, and their impact on local communities and the impact of regional and social differences across different contexts. Together with several guests they contributed to the wider debates regarding professional practice as well as sharpening teaching methodologies in both university contexts and beyond, which will benefit the next generations of students. The focus on Live Projects is driven by the belief that students who become involved with well-organized and carefully framed socially engaged projects during their studies will continue to pursue socially responsible approaches in their professional lives. These approaches are needed in the German, Egyptian and Tunisian context, even though the reasons are different.

By IUSD Lab Cairo

The spring school aimed to find possible ways to deal with the needs and demands of the people and to develop building practices and design solutions according to them.


By IUSD Lab Cairo
September 2012
Funded by DAAD

The event explored the potential of integrating the different disciplinary approaches to resilience in the urban context of the MENA region and the potential for integrated approaches to urban resilience.


By IUSD Lab Stuttgart
December 2011
Funded by DAAD


IUSD Office
University of Stuttgart

Keplerstr. 11, 70174 Stuttgart, University of Stuttgart
Faculty of Architecture and Urban Design


IUSD Office
Ain Shams University Cairo

1 El-Sarayat Street, 11517 Abbasiya, Cairo, Ain Shams University
Faculty of Engineering

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