Programme overview

Urban Digital Transformation & Innovation

The master track provides participants with the expertise to become urban managers specialising in the economics and governance of urban digital transformation and innovation.


The Urban Digital Transformation & Innovation: Governance and Economics of Cities programme is a master track within the MSc in Urban Management and Development. The programme focuses on digital innovation and transformation and their impact on urban economic development and governance. Organised in two parts, the programme draws on the fields of economics, technology and innovation, governance and development, social and economic geography, and urban planning. In the programme's first part, students discuss both socio-economic and socio-technological transformation. The effects of digital transformations on governance and economics are illustrated with examples of smart and micro-mobility, smart grids, new forms of production and energy transition, future-proof public transportation, and labour markets, among others. The programme pays equal attention to the complex process of governing digital innovation, its role in creating or reducing inequalities in cities, and digital technology ethics. In the second part of the programme, students have the opportunity to focus on one of two overarching topics: economic development or algorithmic governance.

Students in the economic development group will focus on economic geography, knowledge hubs, technological diffusion, territorial development, agglomeration economics, entrepreneurship, and labour markets.

Students in the algorithmic governance group will focus on opportunities and disruptions caused by digitalization and how governments may respond to this: digital infrastructure and algorithmic governance, big data, and how this impacts more traditional forms of governance. 

It is important to note that the programme does not have a technical orientation but focuses on governance and economics. It will introduce students to those techniques and exemplify their use in the context of governance and economics of digital transformations.

Navigating the opportunities and challenges of smart city technology

An interview with IHS Academic Director Dr Dr Lasse Gerrits

IHS Academic Director Dr Dr Lasse Gerrits

How is your year organized?

The first block shares courses on urban sustainability, governance, planning, policy, finance, and data analytics with the other master tracks. In the second and third blocks, your courses will be track-specific. In addition, the programme will strengthen your research skills through research methods courses. The fourth block will be entirely dedicated to your thesis. It will further guide you in writing your thesis proposal on a topic relevant to your Master track.

IHS

Academic Calendar

2022-2023

Exam Regulations

2022-2023

Programme Curriculum

Block 1 - September to January

With over half of the population living in urban areas, rising to 70% in 2050, it is of ever-increasing importance to understand how cities work and evolve. Complex and interrelated economic, social, physical, and environmental processes constantly transform cities. Understanding cities, therefore, require us to recognize, define and describe these complex and multidisciplinary processes.

This course will teach students how to harness the power of quantitative urban data by mastering how they are prepared, visualised and analysed. The course introduces students to quantitative data analysis (compared to qualitative data analysis) and continues with lectures on descriptive statistics and data visualisation. The focus is, besides understanding, on working with real data and practising how to conduct data analyses, which students learn in workshops and with exercises. Students will also learn how to present descriptive statistics and data visualisation in academic studies.

This course will discuss the efforts of governments, often undertaken in partnership with other stakeholders, to deliberately intervene in and influence, steer and guide the development process of cities. Local governments have a key role in planning and executing investments and preparing fundable projects. In some countries, local governments have become increasingly dependent on intergovernmental transfers, which have been shrinking over time in part because of fiscal constraints. Moreover, investment decisions are at the core of any development strategy. This course addresses all these and many other aspects of financial investments.

Blocks 2&3 - January to April

Designing and implementing academic research in the field of urban studies is a major component of the master’s programme at IHS. This Research Design (RD) course guides students to design academic research within the social sciences and develop their thesis proposal.

Students will get an introduction to digital innovation and transformation and their impact on urban economic development and governance.

Students in the economic development group will focus on economic geography, knowledge hubs, technological diffusion, territorial development, agglomeration economics, entrepreneurship, and labour markets.

Students in the algorithmic governance group will focus on opportunities and disruptions caused by digitalization and how governments may respond to this: digital infrastructure and algorithmic governance, big data, and how this impacts more traditional forms of governance. 

The skills training will introduce those techniques and offer a good starting point for students wishing to develop these skills further. These are taught using open-source software platforms (such as R). The master track covers the following skills:

•    Big data analytics 
•    Econometrics
•    Machine learning
•    Network analysis
•    Qualitative comparative analysis

The Action Planning Workshop incorporates the concepts learned during the Urban Sustainability and Urban Governance and Finance modules in a practical, one-week exercise in cooperation with local stakeholders in the city of Rotterdam.

The main objective of the Thesis Proposal Period is to support the individual research process of participants and, at the same time, produce a body of collective knowledge that is expected to contribute to the understanding of the domain of urban management and development in developing, transitional and developed countries.

Block 4 - April to August

Designing and implementing academic research in the field of urban studies is a major component of the master's programme at IHS. During this period students will write their master thesis on their chosen topic guided by a supervisor.

Related programmes

Urban Housing & Land Justice

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Urban Environment, Sustainability & Climate Change

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Strategic Urban Planning & Policies

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