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Urban Planning, Design and Society

***Information for application academic year 2015-2016 will be updated shortly***

Name programme Urban Planning, Design and Society
Course coordinator Drs P.J.M. van Steen
Website Urban Planning, Design and Society
Course overview Course overview 2014-2015

The “Urban Planning, Design and Society” program aims to develop an understanding of the ways The Netherlands has dealt and continues to deal with health, environmental, mobility, settlement and demographic issues and challenges, with a focus on the planning and (re)development of urban areas.

These challenges are to be placed in the context of increasing levels of globalization, an ageing population, the expected effects of the changing climate on water management and flood protection systems, as well as sustainability concerns related to increasing levels of car usage and ridership – all of which seem to exercise even stronger impacts on the population of one of the most densely populated countries of the world. The high population and settlement densities, especially in urban areas, in combination with social issues and increasing concerns for ensuring continued health of the ageing population, all add to the need for carefully formulated and implemented social as well as physical planning policies.

The program “Urban Planning, Design and Society” aims to challenge participants to reflect on environmental, planning, transportation and social policy issues in their home country by means of their understanding of the (history of) Dutch spatial-economic and demographic problems and the Dutch experiences of planning to deal with those problems.

The program offers two specializations – one in planning (at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences of the University of Groningen), one in the history of urban design and architecture (at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Groningen). Each specialization consists of 4 teaching terms (of 10 weeks each).

a) The Urban Planning and Society specialization includes a spatial planning focused group project in the 2nd term, and almost all courses and an independent research project in spatial       planning in the 3rd and 4th term.

b)  The History of Urban Design and Architecture specialization includes a group project on urban design and architecture (in the course Healthy Cities) in the 2nd term, and an independent research project in urban design and architecture in the 3rd and 4th term.

The “Urban Planning, Design and Society” consists of a mix of compulsory courses as well as elective courses. Participants do not need to choose in advance which of the two specializations they will take; this decision can be made at the end of the first teaching term (November 2015). Participants are expected to arrive in Groningen not later than August 26, 2015. The program ends in July 2016.

The two specializations end with a joint mini-symposium (first half of July 2016), where students of both specializations present the results of their independent research project. In the 3rd term (March or April 2016), students of both specializations participate in a joint excursion/fieldwork (one week) to the city of Berlin.


You are a student currently enrolled in an undergraduate program in human geography, planning, environmental sciences, architecture & urbanism, or transportation, or in an undergraduate program in civil engineering with a strong interest in a more social approach to urban and regional planning.

You are prepared to participate in this one-year program as a non-degree seeking, exchange student.

As you are expected to write papers and assignments, and to participate in small-group discussions, you have a good command of the English language, demonstrated by proof of English language proficiency (TOEFL 550/213/79 or IELTS 6.0).

How to apply?

Please send the following documentation by e-mail to Paul van Steen, Coordinator of the “Urban Planning, Design and Society” programme:

  • Curriculum Vitae (in English)
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Transcript of Records
  • Proof of English language proficiency

Laatst gewijzigd:06 februari 2015 09:20