Landscape Architecture College of Design

Cities on Water

Cities on Water is a Spring Semester program that explores the cultural ecology of water in the Netherlands and Istanbul, Turkey. The program focuses on the co-evolution of systems of culture, engineering, law, and economics that have evolved to deal with the complexities of water in the delta landscape of the Netherlands and the supra-urban conurbation of Istanbul. Both cultures possess long histories of moving water that are reflected in the landscape, social tradition, and structure of governance.

The program spends four to five weeks in the Netherlands and eight weeks in Istanbul, Turkey. Courses are taught by faculty from the University of Minnesota's School of Architecture, Department of Landscape Architecture, and academic institutions and NGOs in the Netherlands and Istanbul.

Courses Include:

  • Cities on Water Prep. Minneapolis-based prep course that begins study of the history of Dutch water management.Students are introduced to the history of land reclamation and the construction of the water infrastructure in the Netherlands through readings and lectures.
  • Cities on Water Netherlands. Students experience the Netherlands through daily excursions to observe landscape-scale responses to water issues, site-scale projects, and hear lectures from government officials, scientists, and professionals. Students will also participate in two design charrettes. One charrette will generate proposals for new programming for the Waterloopbos and the other will generate proposal for the Marker Wadden ecological island project.
  • Cities on Water Istanbul. The program in Istanbul begin with a two-week intense immersive program introducing students to the language, culture, history, and food of Istanbul. Students will work on projects related to the rapid urbanization of Istanbul either along the Bosphorus or in the neighborhood of Kadiköy. There will be day excursions to Edirne, Bursa, and a multi-day trip to Izmir and Cappadocia. The studio project focuses on the Bosphorus as an essential part of Istanbul’s infrastructure.

The course fee covers all housing (in hostels and shared apartments), UMN and departmental administration costs, transit cards in the Netherlands and Istanbul, all field visits, site trips and museum and monument access.


Open to University of Minnesota graduate students interested in the physical environment.


  • Ozayr Saloojee, Associate Professor of Architecture
  • Vince deBritto, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture
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