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College of Environment and Design

Dean Sonia Hirt Lectures at the ETH Zurich

Dean Sonia Hirt recently delivered a virtual lecture to an audience of Swiss and international students in a class titled European Aspects of Spatial Development at the ETH Zurich (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich—the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich). The course is part of the Master’s program in Spatial Development and Infrastructure Systems. The lecture explored the evolution of urbanism and urban planning in Central and East Europe over the last forty years, especially in comparison with urbanism and urban planning in Western Europe and the United States. Provocative topics of debate included: What is Europe, and does it make sense to still consider Central and Eastern Europe as a separate region of the continent? Dr. Hirt is the author of many publications on the subject, including the scholarly monograph Iron Curtains: Gates, Suburbs, and Privatization of Space in the Post-socialist City, which won an award sponsored by Harvard University. Her latest work on Central-East Europe explores the contributions of female architects in the post-World War II era. It will be published in the Bloomsbury Global Encyclopedia of Women in Architecture.

The ETH Zurich is a public research university founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with a mission to educate scientists and engineers. The university has 22,200 students originating from more than 120 countries around the globe. Nearly 5000 students are on a doctoral track. See The ETH is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world. In 2021, the QS World University Rankings, placed the ETH 6th in the world: this made it the second most highly regarded university in Europe, just after the University of Oxford, England. In the previous year, QS World University Rankings by subject, ETH was listed as 4th in the world for engineering and technology (second in Europe). In the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2022), ETH was identified as the 15th best university globally.

Institute for Spatial and Landscape Development

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