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Urban Design: Art, City, Society


The master's degree in Urban Design: Art, City and Society addresses the urban project as a catalyst for other actions. While the course focuses primarily on the planning of public spaces, it takes a broad, interdisciplinary approach made possible by the range of specializations of the teaching staff involved, which are reflected in the subjects on offer. The degree structure is built on the principle that research in the area of urban design cannot be carried out in total isolation from research in operational practice. This is also one of the few master's degrees in the field that has a strong component addressing social issues and sustainability.
The degree addresses the specific concept of urban design, which requires a degree of delimitation in order to avoid misunderstanding. Urban design can be defined as the process of shaping the physical conditions for life in cities. In this sense, it is the art of «making the city», involving the design of buildings, groups of buildings, spaces and landscapes, and establishing processes that enable the sustainable urban development.

Regardless of the definition used, the majority of authors who have written on the subject point to four basic characteristics of urban design:
  • It is concerned with the city and its public spaces: the territory in which public processes are played out, as distinct from the processes themselves.
  • Its processes are based on project disciplines and stem from a tradition that can be traced back as far as the Renaissance.
  • It is a highly interdisciplinary field, and this interdisciplinarity is an inherent property of the practices it encompasses.
  • It requires cooperative work by multidisciplinary teams.

Learning objectives

The main objective of this master's degree is to equip students with the competences needed to work as a member of an urban design team and to gain a basic level of training for research in this field. As urban design is not a profession but a field of professional activity, it should not be mistaken for architecture or urban planning.
There is no professional association that determines the curricular content for a master's degree of this type or the competences, skills and knowledge that are needed for professional as an urban designer. However, in the framework of urban renewal strategies, the Urban Design Alliance has recently set parameters and established competences for the role of urban designer. These are the competences introduced in the various subjects of this master's degree.
The specific objectives are:
  • To provide operational instruments for urban analysis and projection.
  • To provide content for the construction of a critical perspective on the processes of city-making.
  • To provide methodological tools for successful research.

Basic Information

Number of ECTS credits awarded:
Language(s) of instruction:
 Spanish: 75%, English: 5%, Portuguese: 20%
Number of places available:
Approximate price:
 27,67 euros per credit ( 82 euros for students who are not EU nationals and do not currently reside in Spain). Fees for the academic year 2022-2023
Faculty or school:
  Faculty of Fine Arts
Master's degree course homepage:
  Master's degree course homepage
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