Urban and Regional Planning

The Urban and Regional Planning specialisation focuses on strategic issues related to the long-term development of cities and regions. Planning in this context can be described as an integrated activity that combines various areas of expertise in processes that take into account cross-border and multi-scalar realities, and the various stakeholders involved (i.e. public administrations, private companies, NGOs and citizens).

It refers especially to the complex interaction and interdependency between human activities and the physical environment, as well as to institutional contexts and societal processes on different scales that affect the social, economic and environmental conditions for urban and regional development.

Scope

In the context of globalisation and economic and environmental change, local and regional societies have to adapt to conditions that are set beyond their control. Urban and regional planning is facing challenges that are connected with environmental and climate change, a multi-cultural society, a structural transformation of economy and increasing competition among cities and regions. In the light of these challenges, cities and regions have to reconsider prevailing policies and planning practices, and identify alternative strategies for their long-term development.
Urban and Regional Planning combines elements of social, technical and natural sciences, and the humanities. This interdisciplinary approach is applied in the analysis of complex relations between economic, social and physical aspects of urban and regional development. It includes studies of urban and regional change, prerequisites for public and private strategies and actions, and the understanding of planning and decision-making processes based on a systems approach and the application of quantitative and qualitative methods.

Professional roles

The increasingly complex economic, social and physical process of change at all levels of society, from the global level to the local level, calls for expertise in the analysis and management of the dynamics of society. The ultimate role of an urban and regional planner is to contribute to creating the conditions for an enhanced quality of life, fulfilling the aims of efficiency and democracy and meeting the challenges of sustainable development. More specifically, the urban and regional planner works in collaborative contexts analysing, synthesising and coordinating complex planning issues and processes related to housing, transport, natural and cultural heritage, health, safety, retail and services. The planner brings together different perspectives and communicates the outcomes of planning considerations.

Skills and abilities

For students who choose this specialisation, the programme offers a combination of problem-based teaching and learning that aims to: train students practical skills in planning, including a broad set of working methods; give the students a profound understanding of planning practice; and offer theoretical training that provides students with a conceptual framework that allows them to apply a critical standpoint towards trends and traditions in urban and regional planning. Explicit focus is put on developing the generic skills of a reflective planner with a broad understanding of processes and implications concerning increasingly complex urban and regional change.