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Global Seminar: Urban Design Studio (Istanbul, Turkey)
Istanbul, Turkey
Terms: Summer
This program is currently not accepting applications.

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

Quick Facts:

 Program Types:
Faculty-Led Global Seminar
 Areas of Study:
Architecture, Planning, Design, Environmental Design
 Minimum Required GPA (at time of application):
 Minimum Class Standing (at program start):
2 - sophomore
 Course Prerequisite(s):
1 Architecture Studio recommended
 Open to students from:
All CU Campuses (UCB/UCD/UCCS), CU-Boulder
 Language(s) of Instruction:
 Additional Opportunities:
Service Learning
 Course Load for Summer/Winter Program:
9 credits
 Length of Summer/Winter Program:
6 Weeks

Program Information:


Students Sketching by Fahriye Sancar

  • This program is temporarily suspended due to the Travel Warning issued on 6/27/2016
  • Learn about Turkish culture through site visits in and around Istanbul
  • Embark on a 3-day excursion to Ephesus to see this legendary city

  • Experience guided tours to various historic areas, palaces, mosques, and parks that supplement course objectives

  • Engage in community outreach by working in designated neighborhoods to design contextually appropriate community assets and places

  • Develop urban design proposals for selected sites

  • Earn 9 credits in 6 weeks


Browsing the Backstreets by Professor Fahriye Sancar

Istanbul offers arguably the richest context to study all aspects of urbanism. It is a world heritage site, a global mega city, a city where urban and rural, social classes, multiple cultures, layers of history, and all imaginable forms of habitation intersect. Istanbul is a place that all design students ought to experience for its unique role in urban history and to see consequences of rapid urbanization and policies that are common in contemporary cities, regardless of where they are located in the world. Designers and planners can see the most exquisite examples of urbanism as well as dire consequences of social and economic transformations of our times. Understanding this city in more than a superficial tourist gaze requires studying not only its layers of architectural and morphological history but also deciphering the enduring quality of its places and way of life.

The program will be hosted at the ACCENT Istanbul Center, in the heart of the city. The center has a beautiful design space, computer labs, and a library for student use.


Students will be housed in either a local apartment or hotel with other students on the program.


You are responsible for making your own transportation arrangements to Turkey and back. Transportation from the airport to the university and for all site visits is provided as part of the program fee.


  • Course: ENVD 3009: Urban Design Studio (6 credits) and ENVD 3999: Urban Development Theory in Istanbul from 1453 to Today (3 credits)
  • Credits: 9 upper-division credit hours
  • Approved for: Earn 9 total credits that count as your praxis requirement
  • Grading: This is a CU-Boulder course, so you will receive letter grades
  • See course description

You will take two courses on the program for a total of 9 credits: "Urban Design Studio" for 6 credits and "Urban Development Theory in Istanbul from 1453 to Today" for 3 credits.

The studio will be led by Professor Matt Jelacic. Through daily walking tours and site exploration, you will explore Istanbul through the following mediums: 1. History and Theory: Understanding historical evolution of cities as reflected in morphological, architectural, cultural and social transformations. 2. Culture and Diversity: Understanding issues regarding co-existence and spatial accommodation of multi-cultural, social, political and economically diverse population. 3. Urban Design: Shaping the public realm in response to problems and opportunities using principles and techniques of allied design disciplines. 4. Civic Engagement: Interacting and responding to the needs of local groups by providing meaningful input.

The 3-credit course will be taught by a member of the ACCENT faculty in Istanbul. This course will complement the Urban Design Studio and will meet three days a week. Through visits around Istanbul and to remote sites such as Edirne and Ephesus, you will explore the influence of the historic Ottoman Empire on contemporary Istanbul planning policy and learn about the development of Istanbul as a 21st century mega-city.

Additional tours and site visits in and around Istanbul include a ride on the Bosphorus, Chora Church tour, Blue Mosque tour, Grand Bazaar tour, New District tour- Istikial Street, Mosque of Suliman the Magnificent tour, Underground Cistern tour, Spice Market tour, and the Istanbul Technical University Department of Architecture tour.


Matthew Jelacic is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Design and an Adjunct Faculty member of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities at the University of Colorado Boulder. In 1999 his firm won the first Architecture for Humanity competition to design transitional housing for the Balkans. His current research includes sustainable materials for sheltering displaced people and the role of alternative organizational paradigms for traumatic urbanization planning. In 2009 he began working with the Apsáalooke (Crow) Nation to develop a job training program and affordable homes made with compressed earth block. Following the 2010 Haitian earthquake, he began developing several projects that will provide employment opportunities and affordable shelter. One program, funded by 1000 Jobs/Haiti and in cooperation with Partners in Health, will use a material that he invented which combines recycled plastic and adobe-like mud to make blocks. A second program, which uses rubble from collapsed buildings as material for walls, has been selected by the Haitian government after a major international competition to be a prototype for future reconstruction efforts. In early 2011 he served as a member of the USAID task force on post-disaster infrastructure reconstruction and as a member of the Fetzer Institute’s Inter-Generational Mentoring Community. Prof. Jelacic received his architecture degrees at Pratt Institute, where he received the AIA Henry Adams Medal, and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, was a Harvard Loeb Fellow in 2003-4, studied international human rights law at Oxford University in 2008 and was a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Scholar in Residence in 2009. From 1991-2001 he worked in the atelier of Louise Bourgeois and in 2004 he became a licensed contractor.


There will be guided tours of all of the major architectural monuments of Istanbul, a trip up the Bosphorus, and many afternoons of sketching and exploring various neighborhoods, markets and churches and mosques. There will also be an overnight trip to the ancient Roman city of Ephesus.



  • Global Grant for IAFS and G-RAP Students: The International Affairs Program (IAFS) and Global Studies RAP (G-RAP) offer Global Grants for CU-Boulder Study Abroad Programs. The grants are $1,000 each and open to IAFS and G-RAP students only. To be considered you must apply for the CU-Boulder Study Abroad Scholarship (see the link above).

  • Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) Grants: (up to $2,400/project) for undergraduate research or creative work projects including projects while studying abroad. Application, detailed descriptions, project archive (to get project ideas) are available on the UROP website. Application deadline is EARLY - usually in late February/early March.

  • Study Abroad Turkey Scholarship for Minority Students Diversity Abroad, in cooperation with the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA): Awards grants in the amount of $2,000 & $1,000 for full-time undergraduates (graduate student eligible on a case by case basis) who have been accepted to a study abroad program in Turkey for a semester and summer respectively. Applicants must be full-time African-American, Hispanic/Latino, or Native-American students who have been accepted to participate in a study abroad program in Turkey.



Istanbul Ferry to Uskandar by Professor Fahriye Sancar

This program is currently not accepting applications.