Master's Degree in Urban Design for Healthy Cities
Reasons to study this master’s degree
- Sustainability, well-being and inclusive cities.
Becoming an architect or urban planning expert in designing cities based on principles of well-being and sustainability in a university with a strong commitment to sustainable development.
- Cross-disciplinary and practical approach.
Becoming an architect ready to work with other health and urban sustainability experts in the new area of transdisciplinary design. To obtain and compare knowledge not usually covered, such as the environmental, social, cultural and economic dimension. Our programme combines the interdisciplinary and interscale approaches necessary to face current challenges (climate change, planetary health, sustainable development goals).
All of this is applied in a cross-disciplinary workshop that combines smart technologies and nature-based solutions from a holistic approach.
- Multicultural environment.
Our programme has a prestigious roster of both local and international lecturers from diverse sectors and professional practices. Our students also come from various countries around the world, thus generating an exceptionally international and enriching learning environment and a valuable professional network.
The programme is taught in the city of Barcelona, renowned for its urban design.
About this master’s degree...
Healthy Cities and Sustainable Cities are two sides of the same coin: both place citizens’ well-being and sustainability at the heart of urban transformation. There is currently a lack of programmes that address this need for urban planners and designers who are trained to achieve some of the sustainable development goals in a comprehensive manner through urban design.
This master's degree was set up in response to this situation, to provide a conceptual and methodological basis for planning and designing the city based on well-being and sustainability principles, and addresses both the professional and research dimensions. Regarding the former, experts trained to promote well-being and good health for citizens through sustainable urban design and planning are needed. In relation to the latter, new research approaches to study the links between complex urban systems and health are also necessary.
Achieving healthier and more sustainable urban environments is one of the SDG included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Combining health and sustainability criteria in urban design and planning is needed to mitigate climate change and improve people's well-being. This master’s degree programme seeks to respond to this global challenge by placing citizens at the heart of urban transformation projects.
Nowadays, a wealth of research focusing on the assessment of the impact of environmental factors on public health is available. However, a structured body of knowledge on concepts, tools and methods to support urban design solutions adapted to each context is lacking. The general goal of this master’s degree programme is to fill this gap by exploring and discussing specific solutions based on real cases. Barcelona offers multiple opportunities to learn about urban design and planning linked to health and sustainability. Practitioners in charge of working on significant examples of this will participate in the course.
Although public health and urban planning share common objectives, they have remained independent disciplines over the past century. Increasing concern about the environmental and health emergencies have triggered a wider debate on the need to integrate both fields, and the combination of urban design and health has gained ground in recent years.
Against this backdrop, the Master’s degree in Urban Design for Healthy Cities offers a programme aimed at architects and urban planners, both recent graduates and experienced professionals, who want to expand their knowledge in sustainable urban design while focusing on the well-being of citizens.
The principles of well-being and sustainability are studied here in a combined way, in theoretical and practical blocks.
- To provide a conceptual and methodological basis for planning and designing urban systems based on the principles of well-being and sustainability.
- To provide knowledge on metrics, tools and methods from areas such as ecology, engineering, urban planning, urban design, urban geography, psychology, sociology and economics, to address the transition towards healthier urban environments.
- To provide knowledge on the scientific evidence available about the environmental, social, cultural and economic factors that influence people’s health and well-being.
- To provide knowledge on a wide array of emblematic healthy urban actions –from policies and regulations to planning and design.
- To teach students skills to help them to plan, execute and communicate strategic urban transformations aimed at enhancing public health and well-being.
In-depth subject area topics 2021-2022
Metrics, tools and methods for planning and designing healthy and sustainable built environments, will be elicited through literature review –scientific evidence-, and analysis of case studies at all scales –from policies and regulations to planning and design- related to each dimension. This content reviewed in the seminars will then be applied in a workshop (focusing on the transformation of the built environment in a specific case study) using a holistic approach. The mains topics proposed for this first edition are:
- Environmental Dimension: (1) Environmental Epidemiology: Air Pollution, Noise, Green Spaces, Temperature. (2) Mobility: Sustainable Transport Systems, Transport Planning, Infrastructure and Cities. (3) Energy and Waste: Materials and Energy Flows, Waste Collection, Energy Transition. (4) Food and Water: Peri-urban Agriculture, Food/Water Planning and Governance, Climate/Food/Water Emergency. (5) Nature-Based Solutions: Blue and Grey Infrastructure.
- Social Dimension: (1) Physical Activity in the City (Benefits/Problems), The City as a Gym. (2) Safety Perception: Determinants of Fear, Effects of Fear in Public Space. (3) Empowerment and Social Capital: Empowerment Theories and Urban Transformation, Social Capital in Urban Areas. (4) Environmental Justice: Gentrification and Health in Global Cities, Health Effects in Gentrified Neighbourhoods. (5) Everyday Urbanism: Cooperative Urban Transformation Processes. (6) Citizen Science: Evaluation of Citizen Science Initiatives, Co-Designing Citizen Science Projects, Citizen Science and Urban Sustainability.
- Cultural dimension: (1) Place Attachment: Place Meanings and Living Experience, Applications of Place Attachment and Place Identity to Urban Planning Processes. (2) Urban Sense of Place: The Modern Urban Sense of Place, From Genius-Loci to Placelessness, Urbanalisation, Sense of Place after Urbanalszation. (3) Landscape Values and Development: From Landscape Characterisation to Landscape Management, Planning the Landscape with Communities, Planning Ordinary Landscapes. (4) Heritage in Urban Intervention: Mapping Heritage, Cultural Landscapes Recovery, Cultural Tourism, Cultural Heritage and Cooperative Processes. (5) City and Identity. Identity in Designing New Cities, Designing Proximity, Intermediate Landscapes; Pre-Urban Patterns.
- Economic dimension: (1) Economic Evaluation: Efficiency in Decision-Making, Environmental Valuation Techniques, Cost-Benefit Analysis. (2) Sustainable Economy: Circular Economy, Sharing Economy, Local Economy.
Skills and learning outcomes to be acquired by the student
- Knowledge on key topics (healthy cities, sustainable cities and planetary health).
- Knowledge on research and dissemination tools (quantitative and qualitative analysis methods, and e-communication skills).
- Knowledge on the determinants of health and well-being in urban environments, including four dimensions: environmental, social, cultural and economic.
- Knowledge on the tools and methods tested by practitioners to increase good health and well-being among citizens.
- Ability to apply this knowledge in real urban scenarios.
- Holistic urban analysis skills based on sustainability and health principles.
- The ability to develop surveys and plans to mitigate the impact or maximize the benefits of the environmental, social, cultural and economic factors that affect people’s health and well-being.
- The ability to incorporate environmental, social, cultural and economic dimensions into the design of healthy urban solutions.
- The ability to undertake the supervision and coordination of urban projects for healthy cities.
This programme is aimed at university graduates from the following areas:
- Main recipients: architects, urban designers, urban planners, landscape designers, civil engineers, students from all disciplines involved in the design, management, physical planning of the city.
- Secondary recipients: environmental scientists, urban geographers, students from all disciplines who (despite the fact they do not intervene directly in the physical transformation of cities) generate the urban cartographies that are necessary to transform them.
- Natalie Mueller - Postdoctoral researcher at IS Global (Barcelona Institute for Global Health)
- Carlota Saenz De Tejada - Postdoctoral researcher at IS Global (Barcelona Institute for Global Health)
- Carolyn Daher - Coordinator of the Urban Planning, Environment and Health Initiative at IS Global (Barcelona Institute for Global Health)
- Madalen Gonzalez - Urban planning architect. Associate lecturer at ETSAV-UPC and UIC Barcelona School of Architecture
- Judith García Aymerich - Epidemiologist for the Respiratory Diseases Programme at IS Global (Barcelona Institute for Global Health)
- Xavier Garcia Acosta - Researcher in urban sustainability at the Barcelona Institute of Regional and Metropolitan Studies (IERMB)
- Apen Ruiz – Anthropologist. Lecturer at UIC Barcelona School of Architecture, the Universitat Oberta de Cataluya and the Institute for the International Education of Students
- Miriam Giordano - Founder and director of the communication consultancy Labóh
- José María Martínez - Lecturer for the Department of Basic Sciences at UIC Barcelona
- Adrián González Márón - Lecturer for the Department of Basic Sciences at UIC Barcelona
- Mireia Gascon - Assistant lecturer for research at IS Global (Barcelona Institute for Global Health)
- Javier Ortigosa - Urban planner for the Master Plan Drafting Service at the Metropolitan Àrea of Barcelona (AMB)
- Marta Vila Gambao - Waste specialist at Barcelona Regional
- Cynthia Echave Martínez - Project manager and senior researcher for the Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association
- Aleix Coral Alcolea - Engineering project manager at Barcelona Regional
- Marc Montllédo Balsebre - Director of the Environmental Projects and Energy Department at Barcelona Regional
- Sònia Callau Berenguer - Head of the Agricultural Spaces Support Unit for Barcelona Provincial Council
- Albert Sorolla Edo - Technical director of Naturalea, a company specialising in bioengineering for landscape restoration
- Sergi Valera - Senior lecturer for the Department of Social Psychology and Quantitative Psychology at the University of Barcelona (UB)
- Riccardo Valente - Postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Geography at Rovira i Virgili University
- Rubén David Fernández - Member of the Research Group on Social Interaction and Change (GRICS) at the University of Barcelona
- Margarita Triguero-Mas - Research coordinator in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DPSP) at MIT and the Barcelona Laboratory for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability (BUNOJ) of the UAB-ICTA-IMIM
- Helen V. S. Cole - Postdoctoral researcher at the Barcelona Laboratory for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability (BUNCEJ) of the UAB-ICTA-IMIM
- Konstantina Chrysostomou - Social architect. Working partner of the cooperative Estel
- Arnau Boix i Pla - Architect. Inclusive design. Working partner of the cooperative Estel
- Marc Deu Ferrer - Urban architect. Urban pedagogy. Working partner of the cooperative Estel
- Alba Domínguez Ferrer - Urban architect. Town planning and everyday life. Working partner of the cooperative Estel
- Jaume Piera - Senior scientist at the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC)
- Sonia Liñán Moyano - Researcher at the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC)
- Karen Soacha Godoy - Researcher at the Institute of Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC)
- Cristina O'Callaghan - Health studies lecturer at the UOC and associate researcher at ISGlobal (Barcelona Institute for Global Health)
- Francesc Múnoz - Senior lecturer and director of the Observatori de la Urbanització de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
- Pere Sala - Director of the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia
- Joaquim Sabaté - Lecturer for the Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning at the ETSAB (UPC)
- Meewha Cho - Lecturer for the Master's degree in Urban Planning at the ETSAB (UPC)
- Melisa Pesoa - Associate lecturer at the Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning at the ETSAB (UPC)
- Cynthia Pérez - Member of the IHTT, the Instituto Hábitat, Turismo y Territorio (UMA-UPC)
- Javier Rocamonde - Lecturer and researcher for the Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning at the ETSAB (UPC)
- Andri Tsiouti - Lecturer and researcher at the Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning at the ETSAB (UPC)
- Jelena Prokopljevic - Lecturer at UIC Barcelona School of Architecture and member of the ArquinFAD Board of Directors
- Marta Trapero-Bertrán - Lecturer for the Department of Basic Sciences at UIC Barcelona
- Neus Vila - Lecturer for the Department of Economic and Social Sciences at UIC Barcelona
- Clara Triviño - Housing specialist at Sostre Civic
- Cristina Espejo - President of Regeneress
- Pere Vall - Senior lecturer for the Area of Urban Planning at UIC Barcelona School of Architecture
- Marta Benages - Senior lecturer for the Area of Urban Planning at UIC Barcelona School of Architecture
- Álvaro Cuéllar - Lecturer and assistant lecturer (PhD) for the Area of Urban Planning at UIC Barcelona School of Architecture
- Diego Navarro - Senior lecturer for the Area of Technical Drawing at UIC Barcelona School of Architecture
Prerequisites & admissions
Who can apply?
University graduates (with or without work experience) with university studies preferably in Architecture, Urban Planning, Environmental Engineering or Landscape Design who wish to expand their knowledge in relation to the new shift towards sustainable urbanism and well-being. Also, professionals and researchers who have an interest in improving their skills in the four dimensions involved (environmental, social, cultural and economic).
- Prior qualifications
- Demonstration of background knowledge about urbanism in motivation letter
- Other postgraduate studies
- Description of relevant work experience
How to apply
- Register online
- Upload the following documents to your student portal:
- Photocopy of passport
- One passport-sized photograph
- Certified photocopy* of your university degree**
- Certified photocopy* of the transcript** of your university degree
- A signed copy of the UIC Barcelona general conditions (ﬁnd it on the student portal)
- A signed copy of the UIC Barcelona data protection form (ﬁnd it on the student portal)
- A filled in and signed copy of the grant survey referring to any external grants/financial aid for which you may have applied (ﬁnd it on the student portal)
- CV (in English, including a broad description of software skills)
- Portfolio (in English, format, content and length up to the student)
- Motivation letter (in English, please include your Skype username in your signature, 1 page maximum)
- Certificate of competence in English or evidence of ability in this language (minimum B2 level)
- Photocopy of other university degrees, including postgraduate degrees or proof of work experience
- Letters of recommendation
* This document must have an oﬃcial stamp from your university
** If you do not yet have your Diploma, please submit proof of payment of diploma issuing fees or a document from your university certifying your expected graduation date.
Shortlisted candidates will be appointed an online interview via Skype or telephone call only if the Master’s degree committee representatives consider any clarification is required in relation to the candidate’s CV.
- Reserve a place: Pay the deposit (20% of the total fee)
- Enrolment fee: Pay the remaining amount (80% of the total fee)
Accommodation and Visas
Students are responsible for ﬁnding accommodation and acquiring visas.