Jianmei Hu is from China and she is currently studying the Urban Land Governance for Sustainable Development Master track at IHS. In this interview, she shares her experience with the study programme, the lecturers and student life at IHS.
Why did you decide to study the Urban Land Governance for Sustainable Development Master track at IHS?
My educational background is a Law Bachelor and MBA. At the beginning, I was not considering pursuing a Master’s degree in Urban Land Governance for Sustainable Development, because the regulation on urban land in The Netherlands is quite different from the one in China and I thought it might not be so beneficial for my future career in China. However, I spoke to the course lecturers and I learned that this Master track is not particularly based on Dutch or European land policy, but it rather offers comparative insights on different urban land systems worldwide. The course is made up of three main clusters: from the perspective of law, economy and environment. The structure of the course is very organised and comprehensive, which makes it worth studying.
What do you think about the curriculum of the programme?
In my opinion, the curriculum of the Urban Land Governance for Sustainable Development Master track is quite interesting. Our lectures are based on different topics, such as settlement informality, displacement and gentrification. We review in advance different reference theses and we learn a lot of profound theory about land rights, urban resilience, land markets and finance.
During the programme, we had debates, game design, a workshop on the Makoko Slum and group work on "Building Back Better", which offered us an opportunity to do a consultation for the Indonesian government. We also visited several Dutch cities as part of our curriculum, such as Amsterdam, Almere and Nijmegen. For example, we had a lecture from our ULG teacher Dr. Paul Rabé on the “Room for the River Waal” project and then we had the opportunity to visit the actual project sight in Nijmegen. There we had a discussion with Maarten van Ginkel, Senior advisor in sustainability in spatial planning at the Nijmegen Municipality, about using this approach in the future and applying it to other cases. Through this wonderful combination of theory, case study and on-spot fieldwork, the knowledge we have gained is becoming live and rooted inside.
The lecturers’ teaching methods
We benefit a lot both from our programme lecturers and guest lecturers, because of their professional and lively input as experts in certain fields. Especially our lecturers in charge - Ore Fika, Land Expert, Urban and Peri-Urban Land Governance, and Dr. Paul Rabé, Senior expert in Urban Land Governance, as well as Dr. Erwin van der Krabben, are very inspiring and helpful to us. Their responsibility and solicitude are deeply impressive and this has opened our minds and changed our way of thinking about urban land governance.
The student atmosphere at IHS
Building solid friendships with everyone has been one of the most valuable experiences we’ve gained while studying this Master track. Regardless of our age, culture and professional background, we have enjoyed learning together the past months. We went to excursions together and worked in teams, all of which was an unforgettable time in everyone’s life.
If you'd like to learn how land and natural resources are managed to contribute to the development of equitable and sustainable cities, check out the Urban Land Governance for Sustainable Development Master track of our MSc in Urban Management and Development. The application deadline has been extended to July 15!