Urban Design in Barcelona

Language Requirement: None
Academic Standing by Program Start: Sophomore or Above
Location: Spain
GPA: 3.0
Program Overview



Humanity is inherently social. Life in urban environments of varying scales offer diverse options for activities and behaviors. This freedom to choose between walking, public transit, ride share and biking, for example, is enhanced today with data. The accessibility of human-scaled data to urban designers such as architects, landscape architects, entrepreneurs and social scientists is our last tool to resist increasingly harmful conditions of air quality, sound pollution, light, heat and humidity, and carve out refuges in our cities for the inclusion of children, seniors, caregivers and even real estate speculators. 
The  Urban Design in Barcelona program will focus on observing, sensing, listening, collaborating and designing. The program will build on shared experiences since 2010 with Salvador Rueda and the Agency of Ecological Urbanism of Barcelona, the City of Barcelona’s 22@ information activities district planning office and offices Aldayjover Arcos and RCR Arquitectes. Contextual environments will include historic neighborhoods spaces in Barcelona, coastal cities, pyrenes mountains, and Granada and the Alhambra. Methods to understand site, data measurement, sensors, data visualization and integration with design will use Rhino Grasshopper, weather data plugins, environmental sensors and design software to speculate on urban design "master planning" focused not soley on a single plan but on qualities of human scale experience.


See student work from previous years at the Urban Design in Barcelona blog.


Program Scholarship:

This program will award three scholarships of $1,000 each. To be considered for a scholarship, applicants must complete the program application, which includes a scholarship essay, by the program's Priority Deadline. Scholarship recipients will then be selected based on financial need, academic merit, and overall quality of their application.

If not all scholarships are awarded at the Priority Deadline, applicants who submit their program application at the final Deadline will be considered for any remaining scholarships.


** GEO programs are under continuous review during this period of global uncertainty and limited travel. All program details outlined on this page, including program cost, are subject to change if global or location-specific conditions require modifications to program structure.

Academic Details

You will enroll in four upper-division architecture courses related to urban design and taught by Professor Philip Speranza.

  • Advanced Technology and Barcelona Data (UO ARCH 410/510)

  • Barcelona Urban Design Studio (UO ARCH 4/584)

  • Contemporary Urban Design in Barcelona Seminar (UO ARCH 410/510)

  • Media for Design Development (UO ARCH 423/523)

For more course information, click on View All Courses.
For UO students majoring in architecture, interior architecture, and landscape architecture, these courses may be used for professional elective requirements. Students from allied fields may be able to request major credit from their major departments.

Course Equivalencies

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.

Faculty and Staff

Professor Philip Speranza is the faculty leader of the program. He created the program and has successfully run it for over a decade. He will be joined by Barcelona architects and other local design professionals, and possibly other visiting University of Oregon faculty members during the program as guest speakers. Professor Speranza is an architect, urban designer and assistant professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Oregon, where he teaches design studios in architecture and urban design, media courses in computation and data visualization.  Speranza’s research scholarship and creative work explore the use of new geospatial design methods to understand small-scale social and environmental phenomena in urban design.

Housing Description

Students will be housed in apartments in the same building located within a short commute of the study center. You may share a room with another student depending on the size of the group.

Additional requirements

Experience with media-based design software.

Dates and Deadlines
Term Year Priority Deadline Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date
Summer 2021 2/15/2021 3/15/2021 6/16/2021 8/14/2021

Travel Advisories

For current health, safety, and travel advisory information, search the US Department of State country webpage.

Priority Discounts

If your program has a Priority Deadline, complete all pre-decision application materials by this date to receive a $100 credit toward your program fee. Please note, students participating in multiple summer programs are only eligible to receive the $100 credit once.

Note: this $100 discount does not apply to priority deadlines for SIT programs.