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MSc Master program

urBAn eCoLogiCAL pLAnning

Faculty of Architecture and Fine Art


The masters programme in Urban Ecological Planning is primarily designed to address the real, on-the-ground,
urban issues of the developing and industrialising world which is estimated to hold about 85% of worlds population by 2050. While the programme evolves constantly to reflect the current challenges of urbanisation, the core
is to address and re-analyse different local and contextual urban planning issues in an alternative manner that
rests on inclusionary, territorial, and incremental methods of cognition.
MSc UEP is an international program primarily focused
on the complex interdependencies between people,
institutions and the built environment in pursuit of equity,
efficiency and sustainability.
Consequently, the program is based on the following main
theoretical domains:
Theory of urban ecology derived from the Chicago school
of social ecology combined with ideas from dependency
theory of development.
Livelihoods and entitlements approach to understanding
Concepts of territorialism and a focus on neighbourhoods as the scale of planning
Informality in all its various dimensions spatial physical, economic (livelihoods) and political economy
A sustainable approach is adopted to concentrate on building local responsibility and capacities for a strategic action
planning. In the first semester, our programme starts right
in the field in a developing country context, with a rich mix of
international and local students. Students spend between 6-8
weeks in the field to understand strengths of the neighbourhood within dense cities, and deliberate on how to create opportunities for spatial, environmental and livelihood improvements. In subsequent semesters, the students undertake
various other courses designed to address theoretical and
practical aspects of urban planning.
Even though the focus is on the complex urban issues of the
developing world, the concepts of urban planning developed
and practiced in the programme are equally relevant for
similar situations of informality and marginalisation in the
industrialised and developed world. With on-site exercises
and extensive field-works in developing countries, over the
last decade the programme has addressed various situational
topical issues which are globally and locally significant. While
planning remains product oriented, we strive to find out with
each new project How to understand and build local knowledge? And how to link knowledge with real action in planning
practice to create positive change? How to inculcate sustainable ideas within the livelihood challenges at the local level?

About the field work

The first semesters field work is an essential element in the
NTNUs MSc Urban Ecological Planning (UEP) Programme,
and is primarily meant to help us better understand the
dynamics of urban development in the cities of Global South.
The challenges posed by these cities to planners and architects are quite significant. Fieldwork of this nature provides
one of the most promising and realistic paths to assist all
manner of urban change agents in addressing some of the
most pressing concerns facing a fast urbanizing Global South.
During the last two years the first semesters fieldwork has
taken place in Nepal and Uganda. This fieldwork is carried out
in corporation with teachers and students from local Universities, international NGOs and the countrys principal research
centres. In Uganda additional cooperation is elicited from
UN-Habitat, whose partnership with NTNU is providing the
framework for the proposed UN-Habitat related projects.
This study is tailor-made to help students to:
1. Understand the urban asset base and dynamics of a territorially defined area, e.g neighbourhood, through interacting with its
inhabitants, local authorities and other stakeholders.
2. Be able to propose a physical or organizational intervention
based on their newly acquired understanding of the dynamics
of the community in question and do it in such a way that it
will generate subsequent benefits.
The second UEP fieldwork takes place after second semester
during the summer holidays. This fieldwork is carried out
individually. Each of the students has the opportunity to choose

SEMESTER 7,5 stp

7,5 stp

7,5 stp

1 Autumn

Urban ecolgical planning in

developing countries.
Field and project work

7,5 stp



2 Spring

Preparation for UEP

fieldwork for
masters thesis cultures



3 Autumn

Field Work for Thesis

4 Spring

Masters Thesis for Msc in UEP

Analysis of Field work for MSc

thesis in UEP

Planning theory Elective


Note: all MSc courses are in English

their thesis topic and case study area. The previous year
students (2009-2011) carried out fieldworks in: China, India,
Uganda, Tibet, Nepal, Brazil, Denmark, Ethiopia and Norway.
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge and understanding
Knowledge and experience about urban dynamics of
growth and marginalization in cities of the developing
world with a focus on non-planned neighborhoods both
in urban centers and the urban fringe.
Insight into the interrelationships between livelihoods,
tenure security and urban upgrading in the context of
conflicting objectives of equity, environmental sustainability and economic growth.
Knowledge of planning for strategic change and action
at the local level and linking strategic action to networks
of urban governance and management for scaling up of
development initiatives.
Abilities and skills
Competence in field based studies of communities using
participative tools for planning strategic action in multidisciplinary teams.
Independently planning and executing theoretically
grounded academic research on key substantive areas of
interest in the program and analyzing empirical material
gathered from field studies.
Develop skills to engage with varied stakeholders in the
development process and to engage communities for
planning strategic action at the local level.

Students speak their mind

-Apart from the personal enrichment due to the involvement
with other peoples and customs, this course allowed the involvement with basic urban realities (we could even say minimal)
providing a deep reflection exercise on what is essential. It also
gave me the opportunity to see firsthand how an urban process
takes place in a poor settlement. By working closely with Slum
Dwellers International and ACTogether, I soon realized that
sustainability is all about the process of doing things.
The lesson I draw from this is that an enabling environment can
be created by architecture with its role on creating scopes and
frames on which society is going to set; this is why this exposure
in Kivulu was so important, in order not to forget what is really
Andr Freire de Almeida
-And the strange part of this is that people understand that things
are not working, but they have no power or capacity to change
something in that system at all. I learnt how it is really different
just to go to the field and see slums and to think that they are the
poorest people and need help. But then you see it real from ministry and authoritys point of view on a national level and it is just a
small problem in a big system that has a big box of problems.
And of course sometimes people with a lot of good intentions can
make a lot of damage. It is really important that these organisations working within the urban areas co-operate between each
other and share information about what is going on the ground.
Probably they do not do it on purpose, but because of misunderstandings, competition or politics.
Elena Archipovaite

NTNU in Trondheim gathers technological knowledge in Norway.

In addition to technology and science, we have a wide range of courses in
social science, humanities, sciences, medicine, architecture and fine arts.
Collaboration across disciplines enables us to develop innovative ideas
and create solutions that change our daily lives.

MSc Master program

Restricted admission
Application deadline: 15. April (Nordic applicants),
1. December (International applicants and Norwegian applicants
with a non-Nordic/non-Norwegian degree)
Faculty of architecture and fine art
Next intake: Autumn 2013 (intake only every alternate year)
Program Coordinator: Associate Professor Rolee Aranya
Phone: (+47) 73 55 02 75
Fax: (+47) 75 59 50 94
Address: Sentralbygg 1, 3 etg. Alfred Getz vei 3, 7491 Trondheim
Application code: 194 8620
Foto: Pasi Aalto, Elena Archipovaite, Hans Christie Bjnnes, Ingrid T. degrd
Grafic production: Ole Tolstad / NTNU-trykk