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Master in Spatial Planning


Within the Master in Spatial Planning students have the opportunity to choose a specialization. Within the specialization students can delve into central topics and challenges of urban and spatial planning and develop an individual profile within the framework of eight specializations offered. The choice of a specialization is possible (but not mandatory) according to individual decision. Students can choose from the topics below, a sub-topic, or a synthesis of topics.

Urban areas in advanced economies face major spatial challenges with a long lasting impact on cities. The drivers for urban transformation are manifold and include technological changes and digitalization, migration and demographic shifts, climate change, increasing relevance of agglomeration economies as well as post- and re-industrialization.
Spatial implications of structural change and the organization of such transformation demand for deliberate strategies to revitalize the traditional manufacturing cores. These include a wide range of new forms of interventions such as social innovation, governance, resilience, urban laboratories and urban strategy.

Given the geographical location in Ruhr, the specialization ‘Urban Transformation’ benefits from the extensive experience in the region. The Ruhr became a touted model for transition regions and serves as a laboratory with excellent opportunities to learn about the challenges as well as strategies of transforming and revitalizing post-industrial locations. The IBA Emscher Park strategy (1989-1999) is known worldwide as a particular innovative planning practice. The unique strategy of re-imaging and revitalizing the industrial landscape has raised considerable interest among planners and policy makers.
The spatial implications of structural change and the transformation of the Ruhr have always influenced academic debates as well as research at our School. Complementing the local experience, international examples are also integrated into the program. These enable our students to identify similarities as well as differences on a local, national and global scale.

The English-taught specialization is based on the understanding of planning as a multidisciplinary field. International theories of structural change and spatial transformation will be related to governance practices in cities and regions. The content focuses on European experiences in transformation processes, innovative strategies for traditional industrial regions or the economics of structural change, among others.

Homepage Urban Transformation

The English-taught specialization comes from the international master pro­gram Spatial Planning in Growing Economies (SPRING). The courses deal with spatial planning, infrastructure, land use, environment and climate change in developing and emerging countries.

This spe­cia­liza­t­i­on facilitates a broad range of skills that are relevant for development planners. This includes first the collection, analysis and interpretation of social and economic data and indicators. Second the translation into land use plans, programmes and strategies as well as the work with land use conflicts and accelerating globalisation and urbanisation. And third the implementation and evaluation of plans and key projects. Students learn to design and conduct planning-oriented empirical research, to write clear research reports and to discuss and defend their work in groups

In this specialization, concepts, objectives, institutional arrangements and procedures of strategic spatial development, and control at the local, regional and large-scale level are dealt with in a theory-guided form on the basis of current case studies. The complementary interaction of formal and informal cooperative approaches and procedures is of particular importance, especially with regard to acceptance requirements. Thematically the lectures in this specialization are based on current issues, for example in the areas of climate change, renewable energies and city-regional economic development.

The specialization focuses on the responsible handling of urban qualification and urban design as well as the stabilization of inner-city and suburban neighborhoods. The urban design specialization deals with the theoretical and practical knowledge of these complex challenges and develops concepts for sustainable strategies on this basis. Special emphasis is placed on the different scale levels, methods and processes of urban quality assurance.

Within this specialization, a spectrum of different courses is offered on the topics of open space, landscape and environmental planning. The focus is on current topics (such as adaptation to climate change), instrumental (effectiveness of planning instruments) and methodological aspects (modeling, design, planning, and research methods).

This specialization focuses on the research-oriented examination of current issues in spatial and mobility development. The focus is on the intensive study of theoretical concepts and methodological tools of spatial and mobility research, development and preparation of relevant research questions, writing scientific texts, and interpretation of empirical findings.

Focus of this specialization is the management of integrated residential and commercial real estate. In accordance with the central life cycle approach, the methods and instruments for planning, decision-making and controlling real estate in both the development and utilization phases are presented and applied.

The focus offered jointly with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at the TU Dortmund University and the Institute for Mining and Energy Law at the Ruhr University Bochum takes up the current objectives for a restructuring of the German power and heat supply system and the initiated development processes in the context of the energy transition. The focus is, on the one hand, on the spatial planning processes at the municipal and regional level to determine and implement the necessary areas, sites and routes, and on the other hand, on the preparation of integrated development plans as a coordination process between the various actors from the fields of specialized energy planning and spatial planning.

Phoenix lake with houses and meadow. © Pegga Marco Lachmann