Kaisa_2012_3_photo by Veikko Somerpuro



Here is the course’s teaching schedule. Check the description for possible other schedules.

Tue 25.2.2020
09:15 - 20:00
Tue 3.3.2020
09:15 - 20:00
Tue 10.3.2020
09:15 - 20:00
Tue 17.3.2020
09:15 - 20:00
Tue 24.3.2020
09:15 - 20:00
Tue 31.3.2020
09:15 - 20:00


Compulsory course for USP Peoples

Aalto University, Department of Design, Product and Spatial Design is responsible for the course

Belongs to the USP-300 module

Is available to students from Geography programme, but the number of students may be limited (applications via JOO-system).

Students who successfully complete this course should be able to:

  • Develop an understanding of urban governance and services as object of design.

  • Utilize core terminologies for planners, designers and researchers working in municipal governance and service development contexts.

  • Demonstrate familiarity with theories, methods, skills and examples of design in the public sector.

Recommended time for completion: first year

The course is offered in spring term, 4th period (Aalto).

The course provides an overview of the current and emerging uses and roles of design in the public sector. It introduces core terminologies, theories, methods and examples of design, planning and other creative professional roles in the context of urban governance and public services. The aim is to familiarise students with recent knowledge in the design field and to develop their skills in applying design approaches in their studies and profession.
The main themes are:

  • Introduction to present and future approaches, issues and trends, in public governance and service provisioning, with focus on design and planning implications.
  • Introduction to design theories, methods and approaches relevant in the public sector, including design for policy and governance, design for services, design for civil society and activism, design for behaviour change, and information and communication design.
  • Examples of design activities, cases and experts from the field.
  • Critical analysis of the value, potential and challenges of design in the public sector.

List of literature is provided in the beginning of the course.

Teaching comprises lectures by experts in design studies and governance and case presentations from the government and cities. Students work in reading circles to gain broad knowledge and deepen understanding of their own topics of interest, bringing forth key issues to the common sessions. As a final outcome, students write an essay where they explore a particular topic further and connect it to their own practice. The essays are presented in a final seminar.

Grading 0-5. Assessment is based on participation in contact teaching sessions (including 85% attendance unless otherwise agreed in advance with teacher in charge), completion of individual and group assignments, peer-evaluation and submission of the essay including final presentation.

135 working hours. Contact teaching (lectures, presentations, discussions) 45 h. Independent and group work (reading, assignments, essay, personal reflection time) 90 h.

Antti Pirinen and Ramia Maze; antti.pirinen@aalto.fi; ramia.maze@aalto.fi