Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability

SMUS Highlight-Video!

Click here to view the video.

“….we are not just learning from, but we are also learning with each other”

Prof. Gabriel Faimau, GCSMUS Lead Partner and Action Speaker, University of Botswana

The Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability (SMUS or GCSMUS) is one of 12 Excellence Centers for Exchange and Development (exceed), funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) via the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

SMUS, with its coordination base at the Technische Universität Berlin, connects close to 50 partners from eight world regions. Focusing on some of the most pressing issues related to Sustainable Development Goal #11 of the Agenda 2030, Sustainable Cities and Communities, the center works at developing transdisciplinary spatial methods by bringing together research methods from various spatial disciplines, such as sociology, geography, humanities, architecture, urban planning and design and transportation planning.

The center is organised as a peer-learning process. Our goal is twofold: to advance excellence in academic education across the spatial disciplines and to bridge the gap between research and planning practice by furthering evidence-based and low-impact urban development (LIUD). To achieve this, SMUS urges the production, teaching and exchange of a more contextualised spatial practice and knowledge and sees this approach as a precondition to lessening social inequality and increasing social, ecological and economic sustainability in cities and communities around the globe.


SARDC Teaching On-Site Workshop Report

The SARDC Teaching on-site workshop took place from October 2nd to 6th, 2023, at the Great Zimbabwe historical site. The workshop allowed students from three SMUS partner universities to acquire new theoretical knowledge, learn about responsible research practices, gain exposure to archaeological sites, interact with advanced academics and learn about the importance of stakeholder and community engagement. The workshop also benefited the more advanced researchers in the group by strengthening their teaching skills, facilitating knowledge sharing amongst peers, and facilitating greater interdisciplinary understanding and cooperation.
read more

New Publication: 40 Perspectives on Urban Sustainability from Around the Globe

This first SMUS publication comprises of contributions on urban sustainability from 40 international junior researchers from around the globe. The SMUS network researchers took part in the centers “Developing a Ph.D. Proposal” program from September 2020 to February 2021. At the end of the program, they were invited to submit a contribution on an urban sustainability topic from their home country. Please click on the Read more link below to get a glimpse into urban sustainability perspectives from around the world.
read more

SARDC Teaching Research course Phase I 2022-2023

This is an innovative South-South collaboration of three SMUS partner universities: Midlands State University in Zimbabwe, the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and SMUS extramural partner SARDC’s History Institute. The project team is working on strengthening the development of teaching research skills in Southern and Eastern African universities by co-designing a teaching program to address their research project topic - “ARC 420 Research Project Sustainable Cities Past and Present – Lessons from Pre-colonial Urban Settlements in Africa”.
read more

Workshop Report: Measuring Urban Resilience

Measuring Urban Resilience - Transitioning from a Multidisciplnary to a Transdisciplinary Approach reports on the workshop that was held from 30 Oct to 1 Nov 2023 in Semarang, Indonesia, in a collaborative effort between SMUS and Diponegoro University (UNDIP). The workshop brought together a group of international academics and practitioners, mainly from SMUS partner institutions, with the goal to achieve comprehensive exchange and encourage active participation on the topic of measuring urban resilience across multiple geographical representations.
read more

SMUS Actions

The center’s main activities revolve around the advancement of five interconnected actions:

InternationalConferences Educate Experience CombinedTeaching-ResearchCourses (Post-)DoctoralResearch Evaluate Exchange Practical-EmpiricalImplementations Enhance Bridge UrbanResearch andPractice

SMUS Global Network

SMUS takes a peer-learning approach to advance the academic discourse on spatial methods for urban sustainability and to bridge disciplinary and implementation gaps. The center strives to establish an expansive international network of scholars and practitioners and serve as a platform by facilitating dialogue and collaboration in research, teaching and planning practice.

South-South cooperation lies at the heart of our key objectives, and the majority of our close to 50 partners are based in the Global South. Our long-term goal is to have the network become autonomous, with network partners continuing to collaborate with one another beyond the life of this project. At the same time, we aim for the network to become integrated into existing international networks that focus on social science methodology and spatiality.

We invite you to use this interactive map and click on the circles to locate SMUS partners in various world regions.