Planning for the cities and regions of the future – a new master’s programme in strategic urban and regional planning

LiU’s new international master’s programme in strategic urban and regional planning is the first of its type in Sweden. Having gained knowledge in societal challenges such as digitisation, urbanisation, globalisation and climate change, students who take the programme will be equipped to plan the cities of the future.

“The programme will have its first intake in the autumn of 2020, when the first class of students will graduate from the bachelor programme in urban and regional planning. The master’s programme offers an opportunity for students to specialise within urban and regional planning. It can also be taken by students who have studied human geography, political science, environmental sciences, urban studies, and some other programmes. It is intended also for international students, in particular for those interested in challenges related to sustainability based on the European context”, says Kristina Trygg, responsible for the development of the master’s programme. 

The master’s programme focusses on strategic planning and how to lead socio-economic processes and plan on a more comprehensive level. It focusses on European countries, with some examples from countries outside Europe. 

“The students will focus on the challenges in society such as digitalisation, urbanisation, climate change, globalisation and social equality. These are complex questions and require the students to learn how to understand and manage sustainable challenges, in order to be able to set priorities.”

One topic discussed on the programme is the relationship between urban and rural areas, something that is becoming evermore important in the light of the urbanisation trends that cause more people to move into urban areas. Another topic is how to incorporate new technology when planning cities.

During the programme, students will learn how to design strategies and policies, and how to manage projects and processes. Other important skills are how to listen in and take into consideration the ideas and opinions of other actors, such as citizens and companies.

“The students will learn how to use digital tools such as those used in visualisation and scenario analysis. They will also have the opportunity to meet actors in society. External lecturers will participate, and students will undertake study visits. It will be possible to take education in the workplace as an elective course. In such cases, it is the responsibility of the student to arrange a placement.”

The programme will be closely associated with the research at the Department of Thematic Studies – Technology and Social Change. Kristina Trygg is herself working in a research project related to planning for a sustainable energy transition. The project is looking at how Swedish municipalities adopt new technology in planning processes. She has also carried out similar projects in China.

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