Strategic Urban Planning & Policies
Managing Socio-Spatial Dynamics for Sustainable Cities

Why study Master Strategic Urban Planning & Policies

IHS’ inspiring environment which connects people from different cultures and professional backgrounds is the embodiment of ‘unity in diversity’.
Hala Abi Saad, Lebanon
Urban Management & Development Alumna

Cities are complex, dynamic systems, influenced by a myriad of stakeholders. Traditional urban planning can no longer accommodate the needs of stakeholders and the processes created by the dynamic nature of urban development. Instead, a more flexible approach that embraces the open-endedness of the urban development process and acknowledges the different needs stakeholders have, is required. Strategic urban planning calls for a diverse set of skills among urban planners. In this programme, you will gain the qualifications to become an urban development professional specialised in action research, contemporary planning approaches,creative engagement methods such as serious gaming, and stakeholder negotiation. You will apply these skills and reflect on them through working on  cases in Rotterdam and worldwide.

What are some of the special features of this track?

Next to earning your MSc diploma from Erasmus University Rotterdam, an institution that is consistently ranked among the top 3% of the world’s best universities, studying the Strategic Urban Planning & Policies track also means that you will get to:

Learn to design and use serious games for urban planning

This master’s track engages students in creative strategic planning through assessing, processing and applying urban planning and policies in simulation approaches. They will develop and play-out a serious game with real-life stakeholders in Rotterdam and globally with a focus on specific urban issues. 


Gain stakeholder negotiation skills

Multi-stakeholder involvement is key in planning processes. However, often due to power imbalances and conflicting interests not all stakeholders are equally involved. In this specialisation track, you will learn how to lead and manager stakeholder negotiation processes. 

Conduct your thesis research as a part of a large-scale project

In the last years, students had the opportunity to conduct their thesis research connected to research and development projects in Ecuador and Somaliland, where they engaged with citizens, representatives from governments, international cooperation agencies such as UN-Habitat or GIZ.

Iris van den Broek - Rotterdam Marketing

Work on a real-life case study in Rotterdam

  • Research documentation in Rotterdam Noord
  • Student blog on action planning in Rotterdam Zuid
  • Final group works in India, Namibia and Ecuador 

Learn how to conduct action research

In this track you will learn how to conduct action research and planning and apply this type of research reflective practice. As we are concerned about sustainable urban development, we teach our students how to transfer theoretical insights and research to the specific urban practice.

Why study at IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam?

Earn your MSc degree from a top 100 university

Known for its academic rigors and high quality of education, Erasmus University Rotterdam is consistently ranked in the top 3% of the world’s best universities.

Our teaching methods are unique

Alongside IHS teaching and research activities, our faculty members work in the field on real-life cases around the world. Challenges, learnings, and questions from these different contexts are brought back to the classroom and woven into our curriculum. 

You apply everything you learn - no dry theory

Students learn through a blend of lectures, real-life case studies, discussions, debates, simulation environments, written assignments, and group work. Field visits and projects in Rotterdam and other Dutch cities provide first-hand exposure to local urban problems. Students have the option to complete their thesis fieldwork abroad and immerse themselves in a relevant urban context to collect data.

We offer a truly international and diverse environment

The IHS classroom is comprised of mid-level professionals and fresh graduates with rich and varied experiences from more than 45 countries. Typical backgrounds include architecture, engineering, planning, economics, social science, environmental science, and housing. 

Study in Rotterdam - a hub of sustainable urban innovation

Iconic architecture, pioneering urban planning, and a celebrated multicultural population have thrust Rotterdam to the forefront of innovation and cultivation within the urban world. 

Enjoy guest lecturers from UN-Habitat and other key stakeholders in the urban field 

IHS works with global leaders in the field of urban development, including UN-Habitat, Cities Alliance and ICLEI as well as with leading universities in the Netherlands and around the world to ensure additional academic resources for our students.

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Apply for the Strategic Urban Planning & Policies track

Last round of applications: 1 May 2021 – 15 June 2021

Apply here