Summer Abroad Spain - Instructor

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Housing and Urbanism in Barcelona

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David de la Pena

Dr. David de la Peña is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Design in the department of Human Ecology at U.C. Davis. He is a licensed architect with graduate degrees from U.T. Austin and U.C. Berkeley. His research focuses on sustainable cities, participatory design, green building, and urban agriculture. For more information see his personal webpage:

A Message to Students and Parents

I spent my junior year of college in Germany after having wandered into the study abroad office on a whim. I’m glad I did because it was a year that changed my life; living in a dense ecologically-minded city sparked my interest in architecture and cities, and it made me rethink the cultural norms that I had become accustomed to in the U.S. Since then, my curiosity about other cultures and places remains. Several years ago, I received a Fulbright to study in Barcelona, and I spent a year there conducting research on young creative activists. I met wonderful people and made key contacts that now contribute their expertise to this study abroad program. Along the way, I also fell in love with this vibrant metropolis on the edge of the Mediterranean.

Beyond its enchanting ramblas, beaches, plazas, cafes, and Gaudi architecture, Barcelona celebrates the design of its public realm and enjoys rich cultural offerings that are shaped by a desire for community association. You can read about places like this in books, but it is no substitute for first-hand experience. Few cities have as much to teach us as Barcelona, and I hope you will join me for an exciting four weeks that will change the way you think about housing, urbanism, and ultimately yourself.