Shrinking Cities: Urban Redevelopment in Europe

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UW Tacoma Europe Summer 2014 study abroad program posterNote: The summer 2014 application cycle is now closed. Check back in the fall for information about upcoming Urban Studies study abroad programs.

Urban Studies presents the seventh iteration of a study abroad field course to the Netherlands. This year, time abroad will be shared between cities in four European countries: The Netherlands (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Utrecht), Germany (Dusseldorf/Duisburg), Belgium (Brussles), and France (Lyon/Saint-Etienne). The course will be led by Dr. Mark Pendras and will focus on exploring emerging economic and political dimensions of urban redevelopment in contemporary Europe.

Academic Content

This course is intended to enhance students' understanding of urban development and redevelopment through a focus on Shrinking Cities. Attention to the concept of ‘shrinking cities’ is relatively new to the urban studies field, emerging in recognition of the fact that despite the near-universal political, economic, and ideological attachment to ‘growth’, not all cities can and do grow. In fact, many cities, primarily in Western Europe and the United States, are instead shrinking or at least finding the goal of growth difficult to achieve (we can recognize Tacoma as a local example here in the US). Appreciation for the reality of shrinking cities raises new and important questions about the causes and consequences of urban growth/shrinkage dynamics and forces us to reconsider urban redevelopment from a social justice perspective. At the heart of this course will be an exploration of whether and how a shrinking city might also be a vibrant, healthy, and sustainable city, and what strategies might help shrinking cities to realize more positive futStudents on viewing model of the city in the Netherlandsures.

As we make connections to Tacoma and the greater Puget Sound region, this course will draw lessons from cities in European countries that have a long history of confronting urban development/redevelopment concerns. We will visit cities in The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and France, focusing specifically on dynamics of competition and urban growth/shrinkage among neighboring cities. In addition to discussing readings and reflecting on experiences in the classroom, our time will be spent taking excursions to different locations and completing a variety of field exercises. All lectures, readings, visits, and activities will focus on increasing student's ability to conduct research, critically assess urban issues and societal problems, and learn important lessons about urban development and redevelopment at home and abroad.

Students will receive 12 credits for T URB 379, Urban Studies Field Experience. UWT Urban Studies majors may count a total of 12 field course credits toward the 'core elective' requirement of the degree. Other majors must check with their academic adviser for placement of credits within their degree program.

Program Schedule

This year, this course will involve approximately four weeks in the field. Travel will take place during the Summer quarter, 2014. The following preliminary schedule is subject to change based on travel/lodging rates and availability:Students on the foot path through the forest in the Netherlands

  • June 15: Student preparation (Tacoma)
  • June 22: Depart from Sea-Tac
  • June 23: Arrive in Amsterdam
  • June 23 - July 6: Explore Dutch cities
  • July 6: Travel to Lyon/Saint-Etienne
  • July 7 – 12: Explore Lyon/Saint-Etienne region
  • July 12: Travel to Brussles
  • July 12 – 17: Explore Brussels region
  • July 17: Travel to Dusseldorf
  • July 17 – 21: Explore Dusseldorf region
  • July 21: Travel to Amsterdam
  • July 22/23: Return to Tacoma
  • August 20: Final projects due
Students on the ferry in the Netherlands

The program also involves mandatory meetings prior to departure. These meetings will take place on the UWT campus.

Student Eligibility

Undergraduate and graduate students from any UW campus may apply. Participants are selected on the basis of academic preparation, scholarship, motivation, and financial responsibility. A maximum of 15 students will be accepted, and preference will be given to UWT Urban Studies majors, minors, or students from other fields who have completed coursework in the area of urban studies.


Note: The summer 2014 application cycle is now closed. Check back in the fall for information about upcoming Urban Studies study abroad programs.

Priority will be given to applications received by February 17, 2014. Click TO APPLY. Priority applicants will be notified of acceptance decisions by February 24, 2014. Once accepted to the program, priority applicants must confirm their participation in the program by March 3, 2014.

All other applications must be received by March 31, 2014. If there are spaces available, applicants will be notified of acceptance decisions by April 7, 2014, and will need to confirm their participation in the program by April 14, 2014.

Travel Documents & Insurance

All program participants must have a valid passport in order to travel to Europe. No visa or other paperwork is required for U.S. citizens.

Students in the town square in the NetherlandsStudy abroad insurance coverage is required. We recommend UW students take advantage of the UW Study Abroad Insurance, as an easy and affordable option. Students with personal insurance may petition for a UW Study Abroad Insurance waiver. For details, please contact the UWT International Programs office.

Program Cost

The total cost of the program: $4000

Included in the cost of the program:

  • Academic course fee (12 credits)
  • Housing
  • Long distance travel between Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and France

Not Included in Program Fees:

  • Airfare
  • Meals
  • Ground transportation (except as described above)
  • Health/travel insurance
  • Travel documents i.e. passport
  • Personal spending money

Payment schedule

ADMINISTRATIVE FEE $250 upon acceptance to program
PROGRAM FEE $3,750 July 11, 2014
TOTAL $4,000  

Method of payment: The Administrative Fee of $250 is due upon acceptance to the program. This payment can be made in person or by mail and will need to be paid by personal check, cashier's check, or money order made payable to University of Washington Tacoma. Please write "Europe Summer 2014" in the memo line of the check. The Administrative Fee of $250 must accompany your acceptance confirmation and payment contract for the program. Please submit the check along with the appropriate paperwork to our office in GWP 102 or by mail to:Overlook for a bridge in the Netherlands

International Programs
University of Washington Tacoma
1900 Commerce Street
Tacoma, WA 98402

For other methods of payment, please contact Tracey Norris, Study Abroad Coordinator, International Programs Office (253) 692-4426.

The last payment will be charged automatically to your UWT student account upon registration and can be paid online through your MyUW account. Please note: Students do not register themselves for this program. The Office of International Programs will register the student once the Administrative Fee and all appropriate program requirements have been completed.

Financial Aid

Students receiving financial aid which they intend to apply toward the program cost should consult with a financial aid adviser before applying to the program. Some sources of funding, i.e. the GI Bill, do not cover the cost of study abroad programs. Check with a financial aid advisor to understand how your funds apply toward study abroad. Please bring the student financial aid budget form with you to your meeting. [Click to view and print]

Street life in the NetherlandsBe aware that you may not receive financial aid in time to cover initial program costs. You should be prepared to pay your expenses out of pocket until your financial aid is dispersed. The deadline for program payment cannot be waived or postponed.


Students searching for study abroad scholarships and other funding opportunities will want to consider the following options. For more information about each opportunity, click the link to visit.

UW Global Opportunities (GO!) Scholarship - a competitive scholarship funded by the Washington State Legislature. It helps academically promising undergraduate students with significant financial need access international learning opportunities. [Click to visit]

UW Fritz Scholarship - funded by the Chester Fritz Endowment. This academically competitive scholarship provides funding to students majoring in the humanities and social sciences. [Click to visit]

UWT Urban Field Experience Travel Grants - funded by UW Tacoma's Urban Studies program. UW Tacoma students in the Urban Studies and Sustainable Urban Development majors are eligible to apply for grant funding. [Click to visit]

This is by no means a definitive list, just a starting point. We recommend you begin your search process early. You do not need to wait until you are admitted into a study abroad program to apply for most scholarships. Visit the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards website to search for additional funding opportunities. [Click to visit]

Refund Conditions for Fees

Once you confirm your participation in the program:Students walking the docks in the Netherlands

  1. If you withdraw prior to May 16, 2014, all payments, less the $250 non-refundable administrative fee, will be refunded to you.
  2. If you withdraw on or after May 16 but prior to June 23, 2014, you are obligated to pay 50% of the total cost of the program.
  3. If you withdraw on or after June 23, 2014, you are obligated to pay the full cost of the program. No refunds will be given for unused accommodations, meals or other fees and services.

Notice of Withdrawal from the program MUST be made in writing to:

UWT International Programs
University of Washington Tacoma
1900 Commerce Street
Tacoma, WA 98402

Changes in Costs or Scope of the Program

In the event of significant devaluations of the dollar, some adjustments to program activities may be necessary. If there are any political events that might compromise the safety of the participants, a rescheduling or cancellation of the program may be necessary. If such changes occur, students will be notified of the changes and options will be presented.

Program Cancellation

If viable enrollment is not reached by April 15, 2014, the program will be cancelled. Participants will be notified and the Administrative Fee will be refunded.

Equal Opportunity and Disability AccommodationsUW Tacoma student participants on study abroad program in the Netherlands

The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran in accordance with University policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations. The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process contact Disability Support Services at least ten days in advance.