Urban Planning and Management

Become a high-skilled geospatial professional

Learn to understand dynamic urban processes and create interventions to help make cities competitive, compact, sustainable, inclusive and resilient.

Master's Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation

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How to make − and keep − the world’s modern cities healthy and attractive for the increasing multitudes living and working there? How to ensure that cities are sufficiently compact, sustainable, inclusive, competitive, and resilient? Realising these objectives requires a keen understanding of dynamic urban processes. In gaining such understanding geo-information science and technology constitute an indispensable source of information. Which is the very foundation for ITC’s specialization in Urban Planning and Management.

Mind you, this specialization is not only about acquiring geo-information knowledge and skills. On the contrary − you will be constantly challenged to apply what you have learned to current themes such as urban poverty, transport, climate change adaptation, disaster preparedness, and environmental planning. For your MSc research, you’ll have the option of joining forces with dedicated ITC research group PLUS.

As a graduate, you will be more than eligible for positions in advisory, operational, technical and executive functions related to urban and regional planning.

Specialization courses 

See the full programme structure for a complete overview of courses in the Master's Geo-information Science and Earth Observation. 

  • Planning Sustainable Cities (7 credits)

    This course aims to develop a critical understanding of spatial planning based on academic discourses, the international development agenda and your own experiences. Throughout the module the role of spatial data and information systems in urban planning and management will be highlighted and illustrated.

    You will develop a spatial understanding of specific urban issues in the students' home country by applying knowledge and skills in spatial information handling. The concept of Sustainability will be introduced and discussed in light of its rise as a global development paradigm since the early 90s. We will address the concept of sustainable urban development and make use of GIS-based and statistical methods to measure the dynamics of sustainable urban development. Available databases and data catalogues will be retrieved to map sustainability indicators. Different sustainable urban development frameworks will be studied, including bottom up planning processes and concepts contributing to sustainable development of cities and regions (such as Local Agenda 21, transition towns, cradle to cradle, peak oil, eco-urbanism).

  • Building Inclusive and Competitive Cities (7 credits)

    Cities are unequal. Considerable parts of urban populations, especially in developing nations, are poor, whereas other urban residents are affluent or even rich. In part poverty is associated with the influx of generally poor rural immigrants in need of jobs, shelter and basic services such as water, electricity, education and health care. Levels of access to these basic services can differ a lot between socio-economic groups and will also vary across urban space. To address such inequalities, contemporary urban development strategies and policies are directed towards inclusion of socially and economically weaker groups. These population groups need to benefit most from sustainable planning interventions.

    Cities are centres of economic growth. Successful cities offer competitive locations, attracting entrepreneurs, skilled workers and are centres of innovation, where liveability and inclusiveness are important factors of competitiveness. Classical economic models frequently disregard the role of geography when analysing the economic performance of an urban region, while urban competitiveness being a multi-dimensional concept requires an understanding of spatial relationships (e.g., variations of locational factors and clustering of economic activities). Furthermore, the role of land use (planning) and land markets is essential for understanding competitiveness in all its dimensions for building competitive and inclusive cities.

  • The Compact City (7 credits)

    Cities are centres in which a variety of functions and activities are organised in a relatively compact space. People engage in these activities through spatial interaction. The way in which these activities are arranged spatially has a huge bearing on the amount of spatial interaction (and thus travel demand) generated and the infrastructure required to facilitate this interaction. The physical manifestation of this spatial arrangement is referred to as urban form, a concept which can help us understand the way cities function in terms of their spatial structure and pattern, at different scales. The processes of land use and infrastructure development that determine urban form are closely linked and are mutually influencing. In this module, we investigate urban form and are addressing urban spatial development concepts in terms of their spatial interaction. We look at the most important theoretical concepts that describe the relation between land use and transportation. We make use of a variety of modelling tools and techniques to help analyse and understand this mutual relation and come up with better spatial planning policies.

  • Risk‐Sensitive Urban Planning Studio (7 credits)

    Urban areas and their populations are often seriously affected by hazards (e.g. natural, biological, technological hazards or combinations of these). They also have to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Accordingly, city authorities, planners and other stakeholders are searching for ways to be more risk-sensitive in their plans and actions. Becoming resilient includes developing the capacities to meet such challenges.

    In this course you address concepts of urban risk management and approaches to integrate risks associated with hazards and climate change into urban planning and management strategies and actions. GIS-based methods to conduct urban risk and vulnerability assessments and evaluate potential planning interventions will be learned and applied. A local hazard and adaptation plan will be developed finally.


Master's specialization

This specialization is part of the Master's Geo-information Science and Earth Observation.

Joint Master's

ITC has entered into partnerships with reputable qualified educational institutes for the purpose of providing joint courses in several countries. Under this arrangement, (part of) the programme, leading to a diploma in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation from the University of Twente, can be conducted at the partner institute.

Key information

Top rated programme
CROHO code
Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation
Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
2 years
100% English-taught
Application deadline
1 July 2023
1 July 2024
non EU/EEA
1 June 2023
1 June 2024
15 August 2023
15 August 2024
Starting date
1 September 2023
1 September 2024
End date
25 July 2025
24 July 2026
Tuition fees
Full period 2023 / 2024
full-time, non-EU/EEA
€ 16.750
full-time, EU/EEA
€ 16.750
Additional costs
Cost of living, year
€ 11.500
Insurance, full programme
€ 1.260
Visa, full programme
€ 250