Gentrification and the Welfare City

Gentrification and the Welfare City

Course dates:
4 August, 2020 to 20 August, 2020
Degree and PhD students €990 / Professionals €1490
Social Sciences
Application deadline:
Friday, 26 June, 2020
University of Helsinki
Helsinki, Finland


The course is designed for Master’s degree students interested in urbanisation and with a background in urban studies, social sciences, sociology, geography, cultural studies, architecture, urban planning, environmental studies, politics, and economics.

This Helsinki Summer School course explores urbanisation from the point of view of the Nordic ‘welfare city’. A welfare city, such as Helsinki, is built on ideals of equality, the well-being of its citizens, a sustainable balance between the needs of both nature and the people, and responds to social and ecological awareness alike.

A process affecting the welfare city at the moment is gentrification. From hipster bars to rent increases, gentrification is a common and visible process of contemporary metropolitan restructuring, familiar from cities around the world. Often its real meaning and what the process really entails remain invisible. Brought on by uneven investments, gentrification sees capital take over and transform homes and neighbourhoods of low-income people and is a cause of displacement and urban inequality – a process poorly suited to the ethos of the welfare city.

The course uses lectures, workshops and excursions in Helsinki to help the students understand contemporary problems and issues related to gentrification in the Nordic welfare city.

The course is organised and led by Dr Giacomo Bottà, Docent (Adjunct Professor) in Urban Studies at the University of Helsinki. Other lecturers include leading Finnish urban studies scholars, international guests, activists, experts and municipal officers. The course also features leading international researchers of the field, and experts from Finnish think tanks, municipalities and other institutions.

Understand the relation between welfare and urbanisation in the Finnish, Nordic and global context.
Recognise the main features of a welfare city.
Familiarity with theory and concepts of gentrification.
Recognise the effects of gentrification on the city.
Acquire a critical understanding of contemporary urbanisation under capitalism.

The course consists of lectures, workshops and excursions by leading Finnish scholars, international guests, activists, experts and municipal officers. Before and during the course, the students will engage in individual and group work. The interactive learning method is based on an interdisciplinary understanding of urban studies. The students are encouraged to participate actively in the development of case studies and hands-on on-site research activities in the Helsinki region.

Degree and PhD students: Early Bird 900 EUR (until 28 Feb 2020) / normal fee 990 EUR
Professionals: Early Bird 1400 EUR (until 28 Feb 2020) / normal fee 1490 EUR
Students of the University of Helsinki and the students doing their exchange at the University of Helsinki before or directly after summer school 1 ECTS=15 EUR
Helsinki Summer School and University of Helsinki
Alumni receive a 50 EUR discount of the course fee, provided they do not already study at the University of Helsinki.