AESOP 2023 Excellence in Teaching Prize


Teaching in the broad field of planning is one of the main activities of AESOP Member Schools. Thus, in 2002, AESOP introduced a prize, which recognizes and encourages Excellence in Teaching. Through this award, AESOP celebrates and disseminates innovative practices in teaching in its Member Schools. The broad aim of the Prize is to stimulate the development of planning courses or groups of courses in order to better prepare students for their forthcoming practice, to further educate practitioners, and to promote the development of a critical perspective. The specific purpose of the prize is to promote and encourage planning schools to innovate in ways that enhance the knowledge and skills necessary to respond to existing and emerging planning challenges. The Award provides an important opportunity to disseminate effective practice and importantly to celebrate teaching quality amongst AESOP members.


Five very high-quality entries were received – all with commendable pedagogical aspects and in many cases addressing also innovative, future oriented spatial planning topics. After thorough deliberations by the Committee we are delighted to announce that the 2023 AESOP Prize for Excellence in Teaching is awarded to TU Vienna, Barbara Steinbrunner, Isabel Stumfol and Lena Schartmüller for the linked set of modules on “Single Family Homes” and “Single Family Home – thinking ahead”.

The set of modules “Single Family Homes” and “Single Family Home – thinking ahead” are electives for master students studying Spatial Planning and Architecture at TU Vienna. The reflective and provocative nature of the modules addressing a topic rarely critiqued in planning studies – that of the single-family home. The residential format – of the (free-standing) single family house - is however one on one hand, in many countries in the northern hemisphere what families aspire and on the other hand highly problematic both socially as well as economically and ecologically. The jury thought it commendable and timely not to accept but address this almost taboo topic in planning education. Pedagogically the modules combine research, group-work and discussion as well as producing outputs that can be used to engage the public via outreach activities to progress a constructive dialogue and discussion in form of an exhibition and e-reader. As such the modules offer valuable opportunities to develop and practice communication techniques with different audiences and in interdisciplinary settings.

The modules are transferable to other countries and settings and can be adapted to different needs (online, part-time, full-time; hybrid delivery); The topic is relevant to a wide range of different countries.

We are looking forward to a presentation from Barbara Steinbrunner at the forthcoming AESOP Congress in Łodz.


Andrea Frank, Committee Chair (University of Birmingham, UK): Maria Håkonsson (KTH – Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden); Lukas Gillard (Hafencity GmbH, Germany); Josselin Tallec (Université Grenoble Alpes, France); Valeria Fedeli (Polytechnic of Milan, Italy); Rüya Erkan, Young Academics Network Representative (Yildiz Technical University, Turkey); Maros Finka (Slovak University of Technology, Slovakia).