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  • Locations: Ouro Preto, Brazil; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Program Terms: Winter Round 1, Winter Round 2
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: FLP (Faculty-Led Program) Class Eligibility: Graduate, Sophomore, Junior, Senior
Language of Instruction: English Language Requirement: None
Housing Options: Hotels GPA Requirement: 2.8
Program Description:


Program Description

Brazil is a rapidly developing nation with more than 200 million people. This course will introduce students to a variety of topics related to urbanism in Brazil. We will explore hilly, charming, and unforgettable Ouro Preto, a UNESCO World Heritage Center filled with colonial-era buildings and plazas, which is struggling to balance tourism management and historic preservation objectives. Next, we will visit Rio de Janeiro, host of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. There are many land use, social equity, and transportation planning lessons to be learned from the city's experience in planning for mass visitation.

Students will start their exploration of Brazilian urbanism with five days in the city of Ouro Preto, first settled by Portuguese colonists in the 1600s who exploited the region's vast gold deposits. Students will explore colonial-era architecture, meet with federal university architects and urban planners, and take part in a service learning project in Veloso, a favela in the northern part of the city. In Veloso, students will work side by side with community leaders looking to make their neighborhood cleaner, more sustainable and attractive to tourists.

Next, students will travel to Rio de Janeiro where they will meet with the city's planners to learn about urban issues facing this megacity. Topics will include planning for the 2016 Olympic games, adaptive reuse of Olympics venues, infrastructure improvements to support mass tourism, and an exploration of Rio's favelas, botanical gardens, and the city's huge tropical forest park. And, of course, the world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue for mesmerizing views of Rio and some "down-time" between course activities relaxing on the beaches of Copacabana.


URBP 280 Planning Research Topics (3 units)

This course will introduce students to a variety of topics related to urbanism in Brazil. Prior to visiting Brazil, students will complete two class meetings to learn about Brazilian culture and history, the context for urban planning in Ouro Preto and Rio de Janeiro, cultural norms in Brazil, and related topics. 

The course is designed so that students develop a nuanced understanding of the urban planning and design challenges facing Brazilian cities, as well as the successes and failures of related policies that have been implemented in recent years. The class will reflect on how lessons learned in these cities can be applied in other large cities around the world, including those in the United States.

Students will be guided to hold informal conversations and semi-structured interviews with local residents and business owners to better understand their concerns and aspirations for their communities. This will help the students develop skills in the collection, analysis and presentation of qualitative data.

Students will complete three assignments: (1) a pre-trip report that gives students an opportunity to learn about the political and economic conditions in the country of Brazil as well as highlights of the topics to be covered during our in-country explorations; (2) a structured travel journal that catalogs student observations about land use planning, historic architecture, transportation planning and social equity issues; (3) a presentation to the SJSU campus community in February 2019 that highlights our travel experiences and as a way to encourage peers to join the 2020 trip to Brazil.

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe key aspects of urban planning problems and solutions in Brazil.
  2. Compare urban planning approaches in Brazil to those used in the United States.
  3. Compare aspects of Brazilian culture and communication styles to those used in the United States
  4. Synthesize findings from independent research and readings, in-country experiences, and lecture topics into a journal, a written report, and a final presentation that encapsulates the student's reflections on urbanism in Brazil.


faculty-brazil-kosProgram Leader: Richard Kos

Rick Kos has been teaching at San Jose State University since 2008 and is a faculty member in the Masters of Urban & Regional Planning program. His undergraduate education is in environmental planning and design (Rutgers) and his graduate studies focused on alternatives to low-density suburban sprawl (Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). At SJSU Rick teaches a number of service-learning courses in Geographic Information Systems, community engagement, and neighborhood assets assessment.

We live on an urban planet – over half of the word's population now lives in cities, and this is expected to increase to 75 percent by the year 2050. Rick feels that it is vital for 21st-century global citizens to develop a deeper understanding of world cities since they will be unrivaled centers of creativity, innovation, and social advancement. Rick is a true "city guy" – he loves the dynamism, energy, and complexity of urban systems and devotes his time to learning about urban history, transportation systems, and urban growth management policies. He is very excited to explore Ouro Preto and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with a group of SJSU students who share his interest in cities. In his spare time, Rick enjoys hiking the Bay Area's hills, cooking intricate breakfasts, and nature photography.



It is important to note that each program's total cost will vary depending on the location and the package it offers.

$750      SJSU Special Session Tuition ($250 per unit)
$200      Administration Fee
$1,775   Program fees, lodging, class materials and class related tours approximately*
$2,725  Total Program Cost

* Airfare is not included. Student will need some additional money for meals.

This program is currently not accepting applications.