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About Master SPRING


The Department of Spatial Plan­ning at the Uni­ver­sity of Dort­mund and the Department of Plan­ning at the Kwame Nkrumah Uni­ver­sity of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, launched the SPRING pro­gramme in 1984. When the Asian In­sti­tute of Technology joined in 1989, SPRING expanded into a multilateral network. AIT was replaced in 1995 by the School of Urban and Re­gio­nal Plan­ning at the Uni­ver­sity of the Philippines. With the Uni­ver­sity College of Lands and Architectural Studies (UCLAS) in Tanzania, another African partner joined the network in 2002, extending the focus of the curriculum to urban plan­ning and management. UCLAS meanwhile became an independent tertiary institution, the Ardhi Uni­ver­sity. In 2006, the SPRING network expanded to South America. The Universidad Austral de Chile complemented the pro­gramme with a new focus on environmental economics in plan­ning. Since 2020, the Universidade Federal do ABC in Brazil enriches the network with its special study focus on plan­ning, governance and public policy for sus­tain­able urban agglomeration.

Firstly accredited in 2007, the SPRING pro­gramme regularly (2012, 2019) undergoes evaluations conducted by certified accreditation agencies.

Due to its outstanding performance, the SPRING pro­gram received an award in 2006 as one of the top 10 in­ter­na­tio­nal Master’s degree programmes offered by German universities.


The SPRING pro­gramme combines teaching in development theories and strategies, plan­ning concepts and methods, and implementation and monitoring tools with practice-orientated field studies aimed at elaborating regional development plans and programmes in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The pro­gramme content is based on the specific socio-economic problems in the developing world.

SPRING places its emphasis on development management at an intermediate level (e.g. district) between macro-regional and community-based plan­ning. Development plan­ning is seen as a problem-oriented management tool with the following objectives:

  • to identify development problems, trends, resources, constraints and potentials
  • to formulate development objectives, policies and strategies
  • to de­sign plans and programmes
  • to assess environmental impacts of plans and programmes
  • to organise target group participation and decision-making processes
  • to apply instruments for pro­gramme implementation and management and
  • to evaluate and monitor plans and programmes


A SPRING planner should be able to collect, process, analyse, interpret and compile social and economic data; to understand and critically reflect on concepts and theories underlying spatial development and plan­ning; to proj­ect key social and economic indicators into the fu­ture; to translate target group requirements into land use plans, projects and programmes; to understand at least the basics of all major sectors of regional development; to have a good command of plan­ning, group facilitation and conflict resolution techniques; to critically appraise processes of spatial development at all levels against the backdrop of globalisation and accelerated urbanisation; to de­sign and conduct plan­ning-oriented empirical re­search; to write clear reports, manuals and memos.

Therefore, the SPRING pro­gramme provides students with the following set of competences:

  • a broad inter-sectoral knowledge and skills across three major regional development plan­ning fields: natural resource plan­ning, physical infra­structure plan­ning and socio-economic development plan­ning.
  • the capability to de­sign regional development activities in a pragmatic, problem- and action-oriented manner
  • the competence in applying the three major action phases of the plan­ning cycle: analysis, plan­ning and implementation
  • the ability to reconcile participatory plan­ning from below with the requirements of plan­ning from above and the frame­work set by national policies
  • the capability to combine various personal characteristics such as logical thinking, flexibility, creativity, organisational and communicative skills


The SPRING pro­gramme prepares regional development planners and managers for employment in the public sector at central, regional or local govern­ment levels, private sector, NGOs and in­ter­na­tio­nal organisations. About 750 graduates from over 70 coun­tries have completed the pro­gramme so far. They now hold leading positions in diverse fields such as teaching and re­search, regional development and urban plan­ning as well as in national ministries and in the development sector.

SPRING Contact

TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity
Department of Spatial Planning

August-Schmidt-Straße 6
44227 Dort­mund

Phone: +49 231 755-6075
General: springtu-dortmundde
Application: application.springtu-dortmundde
Instagram: spring_tu.dortmund