Sustainable cities – urban design to achieve SDG 11

Semester: SS 20
Lecturer: Univ.-Lekt. Mag. Dr.rer.nat. Elisabeth Oberzaucher

Evolutionary design takes into account the biological foundations of human perception, cognition and behavior, thus leading to more usable and intuitive solutions. In the face of climate change, we need to come up with novel ways how to be less wasteful with the resources of our planet. Past experience has shown that information campaigns have little success in leading to sustainable change in behavior. Therefore we discussed how design interventions can be made use of in triggering changes in behavior. Through making sustainable behavior easier people can be nudged to choose the option that hurts our planet less. We talked about potential applications and investigate how smart cities can contribute to make urban life more sustainable, and where different solutions are needed. 


  • Holland, Caroline; et al. Social interactions in urban places. Bristol: Policy Press (2007)
  • Skocek, Elena. “Private Öffentlichkeit oder öffentliche Privatheit – Eine Diskussion anhand der neunten Staffel der Fernsehsendung Big Brother.” (Dipl. Thesis, University of Vienna, 2010).
  • Oberzaucher, Elisabeth. Homo urbanus – Ein evolutionsbiologischer Blick in die Zukunft der Städte. Vienna: Springer Verlag, 2017.

Individual Project
Format: Field Research
Topic: Analyzation of terrain and social interactions in an urban place of choice with focus on Prospect-Refuge-Escape, Personal Space, Privacy, Room for social interaction, Crowding, Crowding, Neighborhood quality, Neighborhood quality, Orientation quality, Nudges for sustainability, Mobility and accessibility, and Inclusiveness vs. exclusiveness.