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Urban Planning and Design

The Urban Planning and Design specialisation within the master's programme in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design addresses sustainability through integrating the established knowledge foundations and pedagogical approaches of both urban planning and design, while developing synergies across multiple disciplines.

It brings together the imaginative and generative strength of design to structure, visualise and communicate urban proposals with the analytic rigour of urban planning methodologies, tools and the policy role. The specialisation develops competence in urban planning and design grounded in a solid knowledge base, while advancing professional skills through task-based learning and tools for experimentation and innovation.


Urban environments are highly diverse and dynamic. Their planning and design must take into account complex socio-economic, political, aesthetic and mental – as well as environmental – ecologies. In recent years, environmental issues, financial crises and demographic change have catalysed debates locally and globally, with urgent demands for societal, systemic and spatial transformation.

This requires sustainable planning and design practices informed by critical, strategic and constructive approaches capable of advanced application in professional contexts involving multiple sectors and stakeholders. At the forefront of such approaches, Urban Planning and Design supports a paradigm shift away from narrowly market-based and mechanistic models of urban governance towards sustainable and resilient urbanism that envisions societal, institutional and relational transition.

Professional roles

Urban Planning and Design is oriented towards architects, urban designers, spatial planners and landscape architects who have received a bachelor's degree and want to pursue graduate and post-graduate studies in sustainable urban planning and design.

The specialisation offers critical and professional tools that prepare students for work involving urban design, planning, community and policy roles. Graduates can act as essential links between disciplines, sectors and stakeholders and translate the latest research, strategic planning, tangible design proposals and detailed implementation.

This degree leads to a wide range of growing and rewarding career opportunities. Graduates work in urban planning and design practice and research, in policy development, community planning and urban renewal, for local authorities, governmental agencies and NGOs, as well as architecture, planning and design offices and consultancies in Sweden, Europe and around the world.

Skills and abilities

The specialisation combines design studios with theoretical courses to reach beyond conventional urban planning and design proposals. Design studios engage in analysis and visions of complex and advanced urban morphologies, environmental justice, social equity and stakeholder participation, and social, cultural and ecological resilience.

Parallel courses are in contemporary urban theory, urban economics, theory of science and research methodologies for planning and design, which provide students with a broad understanding of the forces that shape urbanisation on local, regional and global scales. Particular emphasis is placed upon practice-based research, in which experimental design and urban theory are combined in concrete cases and testing situations. Studios and courses cover a broad range of topics, learning from and relevant to settings in both Northern Europe and internationally. KTH and Stockholm serve as a lab for study experiences, case studies, experiments and networks building in sustainable and resilient frameworks, urban typologies and lifestyles.