Urban Strategies and Planning (USP)

Urban Planning has moved away from comprehensive master plans that intended to control the spatial development of an entire territory, to more flexible strategic plans. At the same time, urban professionals face challenges such as the fast growing urban world population and cities with informal housing, social deprivation, economic decline and changing climatic circumstances. Contemporary strategic planning integrates more social and economic considerations into the physical and spatial dimensions of planning.

The specialization makes strong use of a case-based approach to ensure maximum learning from both theory and practice. The practical assignment focuses on the application of tools and conceptual knowledge, and allows a real-life experience of the complexity of urban issues by talking to stakeholders, visiting sites and observing the issues on the ground. The outcomes of the practical assignment will be presented to the stakeholders in Rotterdam.

Research Workshop

The current academic debate relates to the economic crisis and current societal developments which call for a new urban development approach in many western countries including the Netherlands, which has relevant linkages to the approaches and issues (such as informality) in cities around the globe. As a consequence of the new context, it becomes desirable to operate on a smaller scale with less risk and with more room for private initiative. This research workshop entitled ‘The Self-Organizing City’ aims to increase our understanding of the role, potential and challenges of (collective) private initiative in urban development and its relation to public initiative.

Student’s testimonial

“The USP specialization offered me the perfect combination of studying highly relevant theoretical concepts and applying this theory to real world challenges. It gave us the opportunity to work with fellow students to develop an integrated urban strategy for an area in Rotterdam, and also to individually analyze planning processes in a city of our choice.” – Keenan Jackson, Australia, master’s student 2013-2014.