MSc in Strategic Urban and Regional Planning, 120 credits

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Our cities and regions are currently facing fundamental challenges related to climate change, globalisation, urbanisation, digitalisation and social inequality. Strategic urban and regional planning is one of the most powerful local instruments to (re)shape long-term urban and regional development and create sustainable cities and regions of tomorrow.

Strategic Urban and Regional planning, Master's Programme - First and main admission round

Autumn 2020, Full-time, Linköping

Closed for late application

Strategic Urban and Regional planning, Master's Programme - Second admission round (open only for Swedish/EU students)

Autumn 2020, Full-time, Linköping

The programme provides you with the opportunity to advance your knowledge about societal change and enhance your abilities to engage in complex planning processes and agendas, in collaboration with citizens and other stakeholders. The programme has a special focus on regional development challenges in European countries.

New IT infrastructures in smart energy and transport systems, problems with segregation, and the urban-rural relationship, are just a few challenges that urban and regional planning must respond to and manage in a long-term sustainable perspective. The programme offers training in urban and regional planning, with a focus on strategic planning. Core elements are identifying and managing planning issues within complex social, environmental and economic realities. This helps you develop skills in conducting studies, formulating strategies and coordinating overall planning at various levels of society. In line with LiU tradition, there is a close collaboration with public and private employers offering real-world learning opportunities. As a student you are able to specialise in your area of interest.

Future opportunities

The programme prepares you for a professional career as a planning and environmental strategist, plan manager, overview planner, district developer, urban planner or external analyst.  You will be qualified for positions in regional associations, county councils, various government agencies, private enterprises, and non-profit organisations. You will also qualify for doctoral studies.

Syllabus and course details
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Course details

The programme runs over two years and encompasses 120 credits, including a thesis.

Semester 1

Strategic urban and regional planning
Three main tracks are introduced; how strategic urban and regional planning relates to challenges such as climate change, digitization, urbanization and globalization; how urban and country planning is affected by geological conditions and how it contributes to spatial patterns and changes at a local, regional, national and global level; introduces basic planning tools such as GIS.

Planning and Public administration
Introduces urban and regional planning management and political organization from a European perspective. Furthermore, knowledge about how political control of urban and reginal planning can be achieved through public administration. Also highlights how laws, regulations and administrative practice can both enable and limit urban and regional planning.

Strategic planning of urban climate transitions
Three parts of strategic planning and management are discussed: needs analysis, objectives and principles for overall governance, as well as measures and solutions. Methods and strategic planning are applied to different types of cities such as mega-cities, rural municipalities or medium-sized municipal / regional centers.

Semester 2

Changed prerequisites for strategic urban and regional planning – urbanization and globalization
Addresses the large-scale trends of urbanization and globalization from a sustainable urban and regional planning perspective. Will also study how globalization and urbanization are changing the economic and social conditions for different actors in cities, regions, rural areas, companies, and organizations.

Planning for a sustainable information society
How digitalization and information and communication technology (ICT) affect opportunities for urban and regional development and creates new conditions for strategic urban and regional planning. Digital infrastructures, access to and analysis of big data, digital service platforms and new opportunities for communication and visualization have the potential to radically change planning relevant sectors such as transport, energy, industrial production and service development.

Strategic planning – regions and EU
Deals with regional development planning, focusing on EU member states. How the EU's regional development policy and programs are implemented through the regions' strategic planning. Particular attention is paid to how regional development planning deals with challenges regarding climate change, urbanization, digitalization and social equality.

Research methods in strategic urban and regional planning
Introduces research methods and design of research projects relevant to strategic urban and regional planning. The course discusses central qualitative and quantitative methods used in the field and how these methods are designed, developed, presented and implemented in both research and practice.

Semester 3

Specialisation courses (covering 30 credits) or Studies Abroad

Specialisation courses

The semester is devoted to specialisation courses, where we offer a range of options to deepen the students’ knowledge and skills in, for example, health, visualisation, urban sustainability and water management. We also have unique courses where students work closely with senior teaching staff to train specific research skills. Students can also perform an internship either in Sweden or abroad where they carry out a specific task which links to the activities of the chosen organisation and the students’ future professional interests. Besides these courses there are also possibilities for studies at other universities in Sweden or abroad.

Course options:

Critical perspectives on planning for health; 7,5 Credits
Urban and regional planning is also a matter of public health. This course critically investigates the key role of socio-material space for health, as well as efforts of improving health through intervening in spaces. It provides broad perspectives of how health can be understood and distributed, keeping in mind the diversity of meanings of health and well-being. Critical attention is given to how planning for health matters to social justice, and how the built and lived environment may fit some bodies but exclude others.

The politics of planning - controversies, power and legacies; 7,5 Credits
The course highlights political features of planning as practice and planning as materialised in infrastructures. Case studies from around the world serves as inspiration for students to identify dimensions of conflict, power relations and historical legacies within the institutionalised practice of planning and in the built environment. The students are then invited to critically analyse the politics in planning through a case of the own choosing.

Visualizing climate change; 7,5 Credits
The course will cover an introduction climate modelling, scenarios and the basics of geospatial and information visualization. Further, the handling of datasets, data collection and creation of presentations for a broad audience ranging from experts and decision makers to the general public will be covered. This course focuses on visualization as a tool for analysis, visual communication of complex linkages between resource consumption, global flows and climate change as well as visualization for decision making and planning in terms of interactive decision theatres through roleplays, narratives and interactive seminars.

Sustainability in the urban realm: city/neighborhood/home; 7,5 Credits
This course is grounded in current international research on the urban environment in for example postcolonial studies, political geography, policy studies, system studies and other urban studies. Empirical fields that will be covered include: urban infrastructures for transportation, energy, waste and water, planning and development of the build environment. Different policy and management approaches to the issues raised during the course will be presented and discussed. Concrete international case studies will be presented and discussed.

Internship in Strategic urban and regional planning; 7,5 Credits
The course is conducted as an individual internship at an external organization within the field of urban and regional planning with focus to perform a relevant analytical assignment within strategic urban and regional planning. The contact person at the external organization should design the assignment, in communication with the student, and support the student during the internship. The course supervisor must approve the assignment before the student commences the course.

Research skills in Strategic urban and regional planning; 7,5 Credits
The course deals with research methodology in a field relevant to strategic urban and regional planning related to a current research project, for example through analysis of statistical data, analyzes in geographical information systems (GIS), surveys, literature review or qualitative methods such as interviews or text analysis. In the at least one skill or method applicable to study strategic urban and regional planning issues are practiced. Through the collaboration within a current research project, the knowledge of the research methodology as well as the chosen subject is deepened.

Semester 4

Master’s Thesis

Further information

A detailed syllabus, curriculum, and information on the courses you may take can be found in our study information database via the link below. Entry requirements and tuition information can be found by selecting the drop-down ''Admission requirements'' available under the Autumn 2020 tab.

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Webinar about the master’s programme in Stretegic Urban and Regional Planning at Linköping University. 

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