Spatial Planning: Cities, Water and Climate Change

Radboud University Master of Science


The Master’s specialisation in Cities, Water and Climate Change discusses the relationship between city planning and development, climate mitigation and adaptation. Cities, because of high levels of energy consumption and mobility, are the main contributors to climate change. At the same time, cities, because of their population density, are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Questions that will be addressed in this specialisation are: How can city planners contribute to a reduction of CO2 emissions, and how can cities adapt to the consequences of climate change?

To answer these questions, possibilities for mainstreaming climate change into urban planning will be discussed as well as examples of carbon free cities and transition towns. It is expected that in 2050 more than 70% of the world’s population lives in delta areas. Because of the rapidly urbanizing delta areas, special attention will be paid to issues of flood risk management and multi-layered water safety. Which infrastructure is needed to protect delta areas, what is the potential of ecosystem engineering (‘building with nature’), and what are possibilities for flood proofing urban areas?

To learn more about these strategies, students will study case studies from the Netherlands (Delta programme, Rotterdam, and Nijmegen) as well as international cases (New Orleans, Miami, New York, Jakarta, Hamburg). Students will learn more about both strategies to enhance cities’ adaptive capacity (the capacity to adapt to changing climate conditions), and cities’ resilience (the capacity to respond to shocks, such as floods).

This Master’s specialisation prepares students for working on the nexus between urban planning, water and environmental management.

Course Objectives

Upon completion students will have knowledge of:

– Interfaces between different planning concepts, sectors and interests
– Synergies that are found and trade-offs that are made along these interfaces
– Paths through which integrative planning is manifested in policy formulation, decision-making and projects at different geographical and institutional levels