Course overview USP


Week  1

Introduction and Development of Socio-Spatial Skills

The course starts with an introduction of the course and the main concepts and tools. During this first week participants develop their socio-spatial skills through a series of workshops designed around: social analysis and presentation, spatial analysis and visualisation, and urban observation. At the end of this first week the students will present a socio-spatial analysis of their case study.

Week 2

Planning Theory

Planning theory knowledge is developed in the second week. Throughout the week issues such as: complexity; systems thinking and scale; strategic planning; social and spatial innovation; governance, policies and stakeholders; urbanisation; and residential mobility will be addressed in relation to their relevance in urban planning.

Week 3

Spatial Justice Theory

In the third week, participants will develop knowledge on spatial justice and theory. Knowledge is transferred through a series of lectures which addresses topics such as: social justice and inequality; spatial justice; gentrification; counter-hegemonic trends (right to the city, city as a commons, sharing city); and gender.

Week 4

Stakeholder Involvement

Spatial planning is approached in the specialization as a multi-stakeholder activity. Therefore, during the fourth week, participants will establish interaction by setting up a dialogue with the main stakeholders.

Week 5-8

Game Development and Presentation

Weeks five - eight are designed so the participates work on the co-design and development of a serious game. During this time, the schedule is divided between workshops, lectures to support the case study work, as well as progress meetings. Work on the case study will be structured through several sub-assignments both as group work and individual work. The participants themselves will also have to prepare and organise the stakeholder conference at the end of week eight, where the game will be presented and played with the stakeholders.

Week 9-10

Individual Assignment

The last two weeks of the course are devoted to the Individual Assignment. This assignment allows participants the freedom to demonstrate they achieved the overall learning objective of this course in a style which suits them, as this assignment can be designed by the participant themselves. Some possible ideas you could develop further, for example are: a short documentary, an exhibition with pictures and stories, etc. The possibilities are endless.

What can I expect as a student?

The overall learning objective of the USP course is to engage in reflective practice regarding urban planning and governance and its influence on socio-spatial dynamics.

As a student, you will be exposed to a range of fascinating and salient topics and tools such as “spatial justice theory” and “social spatial analysis”. You can also expect to develop concrete skills in strategic planning such as critical analysis of urban challenges, urban planning policies and agendas, and strategy development.

What’s unique about this specialization is that you will develop urban planning skills through theory and practice and combine those with a critical, analytical, reflective urban justice perspective. This intersection will allow you to interact with stakeholders in a more holistic manner, become aware of your own viewpoint on planning, and better understand how to engage in planning within its (intercultural) context.

Activities and students’ work:

Some of the specialisation activities have been shared as posts by our team members and students.

How will I grow as a professional?

The USP specialization teaches important professional skills to students. These are related to designing, developing, presenting and implementing visions, strategies and projects related to urban plans, as well as engaging, negotiating, and communicating with stakeholders in the communities and urban contexts where they work.

At the end of the course, the students should be able to:

  • Critically assess socio-spatial dynamics in an urban context, based on specific concepts and theories addressed during the course;
  • Apply concepts and tools related to developing and implementing visions, strategies and projects that integrate social, environmental, economic, spatial, financial and institutional components of urban plans;
  • Facilitate a process of negotiated planning between several stakeholders;
  • Reflect on the qualities of plans and policies, the interests and values these plans and policies represent and their impact on existing dynamics;
  • Come up with creative solutions by synthesizing and combining concepts and ideas that critically address socio-spatial dynamics in complex urban problems, individually and in a  team;
  • Convincingly communicate ideas, plans and arguments, supported by theory, orally, visually and in writing.

Course information


Urban Strategies and Planning


Block 2




Carolina Lunetta


Alexander Jachnow; Carolina Lunetta, Carley Pennink; Els Keunen; Saskia Ruijsink




Lectures; case studies; field trips; reading and discussions with peers; presentations and plenary discussions; consultations and feedback; group and individual work and exercises


Individual assessment 60%; Group work 40%