Why this Study programme

Strategic Urban Planning & Policies
IHS’ inspiring environment which connects people from different cultures and professional backgrounds is the embodiment of ‘unity in diversity’.

Traditional urban planning can no longer deal with the complexity of urban problems and accommodate the needs of stakeholders. Instead, urban planning requires a more flexible approach that embraces the open-ended aspects of urban development processes and acknowledges the different stakeholders’ needs. Strategic urban planning calls for diverse knowledge and skills among urban planners for stakeholder management, socio-spatial analysis, and critical reflection of problems and solutions.  In this programme, you will gain the qualifications to become an urban development professional specialised in contemporary planning approaches, creative and collaborative methods such as serious gaming and stakeholder negotiation. You will apply these planning, communication and collaboration skills and reflect on them through working on real cases in Rotterdam and worldwide. 

What are some of the special features of this track?

Next to earning your MSc diploma from Erasmus University Rotterdam, an institution that is consistently ranked among the top 3% of the world’s best universities, studying the Strategic Urban Planning & Policies track also means that you will get to:

Learn to use a variety of creative planning tools such as serious games

This master track engages students in a creative, strategic planning process. Students will learn how to apply tools, in simulation approaches, to i) assess socio-spatial dynamics of cities, the role of stakeholders, and policies and plans; ii) facilitate a process of negotiated planning among several stakeholders, iii) develop planning strategies. Students will focus on specific urban issues and develop a planning process and proposal from real-life interactions with stakeholders in Rotterdam and globally.


Gain stakeholder negotiation skills

Multi-stakeholder involvement is vital in planning processes. However, there are obstacles for "real participation", e.g., some stakeholders might be more influential than others due to power imbalances and conflicting interests. In this master track, you will learn how to lead and manage stakeholder negotiation processes. 

Conduct your thesis as a part of an ongoing project

Students had the opportunity to conduct their thesis within research and development projects in Ecuador, Uganda, and Somaliland in the last years. The students engaged with citizens, representatives from governments, international cooperation agencies such as UN-Habitat and GIZ.

Iris van den Broek - Rotterdam Marketing

Work on a real-life case study

As we are concerned about sustainable urban development, we teach our students how to transfer theoretical insights and research to the specific urban practice. The students will learn through concrete experiences, working on real cases in the group work assignments. In urban development, the planning process is equally important as the plan itself. Consequently, interacting with stakeholders and working in teams are great opportunities for students to apply theories they learn in real life while developing their teamwork skills.

Why study at IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam?

Earn your MSc degree from a top 100 university

Known for its academic rigours and high quality of education, Erasmus University Rotterdam is consistently ranked in the top 3% of the world’s best universities.

Our teaching methods are unique

Alongside IHS teaching and research activities, our faculty members work in the field on real-life cases around the world. Challenges, learnings, and questions from these different contexts are brought back to the classroom and woven into our curriculum. 

You apply everything you learn - no dry theory

Students learn through a blend of lectures, real-life case studies, discussions, debates, simulation environments, written assignments, and group work. Field visits and projects in Rotterdam and other Dutch cities provide first-hand exposure to local urban problems. Students have the option to complete their thesis fieldwork abroad and immerse themselves in a relevant urban context to collect data.

We offer a truly international and diverse environment

The IHS classroom comprises mid-level professionals and fresh graduates with rich and varied experiences from more than 45 countries. Typical backgrounds include architecture, engineering, planning, economics, social science, environmental science, and housing. 

Study in Rotterdam - a hub of sustainable urban innovation

Iconic architecture, pioneering urban planning, and a celebrated multicultural population have thrust Rotterdam to the forefront of innovation and cultivation within the urban world. 

Enjoy guest lecturers from UN-Habitat and other key stakeholders in the urban field 

IHS works with global leaders in the field of urban development, including UN-Habitat, Cities Alliance and ICLEI, and with leading universities in the Netherlands and around the world to ensure additional academic resources for our students.

#5 for Public Administration

worldwide for Public Administration Shanghai Ranking

#5 for Planning & Development

for Planning & Development Center University Rankings (1000)

#72 Worldwide

worldwide Times Higher Education (500)

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Apply for the Strategic Urban Planning & Policies track

Second round of applications: 1 December 2021 – 28 February 2022

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