Project Description


This field school will build upon several decades of design research by the directors in close collaboration with Vietnamese academic, professional, and government partners. Vietnam and Thừa Thiên Huế in particular, offer a unique living laboratory for contemporary urbanism. The ever-growing, speedy urbanization and necessary response to the consequences of climate change are of specific interest. Our research intertwines understanding of development, specific socio-cultural appropriation of urban and rural territories, and the unique ecological qualities of the province. In addition, there will be a project and design scenario component conducted in collaboration with local experts and professionals to create more resilient and adaptive as well as socially and ecologically-just settlements and environments.

Thừa Thiên Huế province hosts a wide variety of ecologies adjacent to one another. The majestic geography stretches from the Trường Sơn Mountains bordering Laos (with large national parks like the well-known Back Ma National Park), to the broad Perfume River plain and its tributaries culminating in the Tam Giang – Cau Hai Lagoon (the largest lagoon system in Southeast Asia) and finally the East Sea. It hosts the UNECSO Hue Imperial City and a number of royal mausoleums. The design research will focus on the mountains and the lagoon. The Vietnamese Institute of Urban Planning (based in Hanoi, operating under the Ministry of Construction) will be a primary partner together with University of Architecture Hồ Chí Minh (UAH), Hue University of Forestry, and Thừa Thiên Department of Construction to ground the investigations in ongoing projects and discussions with various relevant stakeholders. Participants in the field school will partner with Vietnamese colleagues and learn hands-on fieldwork methods of urbanism research (including state-of-the-art mapping techniques of landscape urbanism), become acquainted with urban design strategies and gain substantial urban design experience.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: January 3-30, 2021

  • Enrollment Status: Pending

  • Total Cost: $4,440

  • Course Type: Urban Planning/ Environmental Studies

  • Payment Deadline: TBA

  • Instructors: Prof. Bruno De Meulder & Prof. Kelly Shannon

  • Orientation: TBA
  • Academic Credit: 8 Semester Credit Units (equivalent to 12 Quarter Units)

Field School Interest Form


The directors welcome emails and inquiries about the research elements of this project. More general information (tuition, health insurance, and payment schedule) can be found under the ‘Students’ tab above. Any further questions may be addressed to IFR staff. Additional details about research, course schedule, travel, accommodation, and safety can be found on the syllabus. Contacting the directors or the IFR office is encouraged and appreciated. It may help you determine if this field school is a good fit for you.

Prof. Bruno De Meulder
Prof. Bruno De Meulder
Prof. De Meulder is the Vice-Chair of the Department of Architecture and the Program Coordinator of the Postgraduate Masters in Human Settlements and Masters of Urbanism & Strategic Planning at the University of Leuven, Belgium
Prof. Kelly Shannon
Prof. Kelly Shannon
Prof. Shannon is the Program Director of Postgraduate Masters in Human Settlements and Masters of Urbanism & Strategic Planning at the University of Leuven, Belgium.


This is a new IFR field school. No student testimonials are available at this time.

Tuition Includes:

  • Cost of Instruction
  • Cost of Academic Credit Units
  • Room & Board
  • All local transportation
  • Health & Evacuation Insurance

Student Fees

This program requires an online application — there is no fee to submit an application. Once admitted, a payment of the nonrefundable deposit fee is required to secure a place in the program(s). The Tuition balance (total program cost minus the deposit fee) must be paid prior to the Tuition deadline as listed above under “Course Details.” A $200 late fee will be added to all accounts not paid in full by the Tuition deadline.

Early Decision Enrollment (Aug 1, 2019 through Oct 31, 2019): A reduced, nonrefundable $300 deposit fee is required to secure a seat in the program. This deposit is part of the total Tuition and NOT in addition to it.

Regular Enrollment (Nov 1, 2019 through payment deadline): A nonrefundable $500 deposit fee is required to secure a seat in the program. This deposit is part of the total Tuition and NOT in addition to it.

Late Enrollment (payment deadline forward): A nonrefundable $600 deposit fee is required to secure a seat in the program. In addition, a $200 late fee  will be added to all accounts not paid in full by the Tuition payment deadline.

Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy: If you paid the deposit fee but did not cancel your participation by the Tuition payment deadline, you are legally responsible for the full Tuition regardless of attendance at any IFR program. Please carefully read our Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy for further information.

Credit Card Processing Fee: A 2.5% processing fee is automatically incurred for all credit/debit card/online payments.

Academic Credit Opt Out: Students who wish to participate in an IFR field school without earning academic credit units may do so and receive the following discounts: $300 off a full program (4 or more weeks in length) or $200 off a short program (2-3 weeks in length).

Trip Cancellation Insurance: The IFR does not provide trip cancellation insurance. Read this Wall Street Journal article about travel insurance — it may help in making a decision whether such insurance is for you. If you do wish to purchase such insurance, Insure My Trip or Travel Guard are two possible resources you may wish to explore.


There will be three sites of accommodation: 1) in the Truong Son Mountains: a homestay for 2 nights with the local ethnic population; 2) in Hue, a local small-scale hotel with all necessary services and within a lively central environment; 3) in the Tam Giang-Cau Hai lagoon: a local small-scale hotel. During the 2 days in the mountains, the local hosts will be responsible for our food: they are used to hosting national and international guests. In Hue, breakfast is provided by the accommodation. For lunch and dinner, there are ample small-scale restaurants available (catering to national and international tourists), that usually are very flexible in addressing dietary requests. In the lagoon, there are a number of small-scale beachside restaurants that have great seafood and other local fare. Students will be warned to only drink bottled water and to be careful with ice in drinks.

Travel Info

Please hold purchasing your airline ticket until six (6) weeks prior to departure date. Natural disasters, political changes, weather conditions and a range of other factors may require the cancellation of a field school. The IFR typically takes a close look at local conditions 6-7 weeks prior to program beginning and makes Go/No Go decisions by then. Such a time frame still allows the purchase of deeply discounted airline tickets while protecting students from potential loss of airline ticket costs if we decide to cancel a program.

We will meet participants in the lobby of a local hotel in Hue (the address to be provided later). There will be mini-van arrangements from Phu Bai Airport on January 5 to provide transport by bus to the city center (details will be developed as flight times are confirmed). If you missed your connection or your flight is delayed, please call, text or email project director immediately. A local emergency cell phone number will be provided to all enrolled students.


Students are responsible for obtaining a Vietnamese TOURIST Visa prior to arrival. This can most easily be done online ( Please note that you must have a US Passport which is valid for at least 6 months beyond the arrival date and which has 2 blank pages for visa stamp.

Citizens of other countries are asked to check the embassy website page at their home country for specific visa requirements.

Student Safety

The IFR primary concern is with education. Traveling and conducting field research involve risk. Students interested in participating in IFR programs must weigh whether the potential risk is worth the value of education provided. While risk is inherent in everything we do, we do not take risk lightly. The IFR engages in intensive review of each field school location prior to approval. Once a program is accepted, the IFR reviews each program annually to make sure it complies with all our standards and policies, including student safety.

Students attending IFR international programs are covered by a comprehensive Health Insurance policy that includes physical illness or injury, mental or chronic conditions. No deductible and 100% of costs are covered up to $250,000. In addition, we provide Political and Natural Disaster Evacuation policy, which allow us to remove students from field school location if local conditions change. Our field school directors are scholars that know field school locations and cultures well and are plugged in into local communities and state institution structures.

Students attending IFR domestic programs (within the US) must have their own health insurance and provide proof upon enrollment. IFR field school directors are familiar with local authorities and if in need of evacuation, local emergency services and/or law enforcement will be notified and activated.

The IFR has strong, explicit and robust policy towards discrimination and harassment in the field. If students feel they cannot discuss personal safety issues with field school staff, the IFR operates an emergency hotline where students may contact IFR personnel directly.

Call us at 877-839-4374 or email us at if you have questions about the safety of any particular program.