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Thread: Studying urban planning/design in the global south

  1. #1
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    Studying urban planning/design in the global south

    Hello All,

    I have been looking for a program in Urban planning/design that concentrates on developing regions (global south)

    I found an Urban Design Masters course in Nairobi, Kenya at a national university, that works in conjunction with other African universities so that students learn in Kampala, Dar Es Salaam, Accra, Nairobi, Cape Town, Abuja and Johannesburg.

    Its a very exciting program however I am afraid that if I get my masters from an African institution it will not be very highly regarded (if recognised at all!) outside of sub-Saharan Africa. I want the freedom of being able to live/work in as many parts of the world as possible.

    FYI- I completed my first degree in Western Canada

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    I would encourage you to look at urban planning programs with a strong "international planning" concentration, where you will be able to devote a significant portion of your research to a context outside the "north" Such a program would be better if it were in a university with strong area studies programs in the geography you are interested in.

    Some immediate programs that come to mind: MIT, Berkeley, Michigan, Cornell, Tufts (not exactly planning), etc.

  3. #3
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    Thanks.

    Although you haven't said so explicitly, I take it you would encourage me not to study at an African institution.

    I will definitely be applying to some of those institutions next year.

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally posted by afrurbanist View post
    Its a very exciting program however I am afraid that if I get my masters from an African institution it will not be very highly regarded (if recognised at all!) outside of sub-Saharan Africa. I want the freedom of being able to live/work in as many parts of the world as possible.
    I think this is a very legitimate concern. I would look into UCL's Urban Development Planning. You'll do a two week field course, and you can do your entire dissertation overseas, as well. Dissertations are done in the summer term for UK master's. You can take a UCL degree anywhere, as it is currently the 4th ranked university in the world according to the QS/US News & World Report rankings. Additionally, London is a hotbed for international NGOs, as well as given you close access to the EU, World Court, and other international agencies relevant to development studies.

    Program overview:
    http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dpu/courses/masters/msc_udp

    Program structure:
    http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dpu/courses/mas...sc_udp/modules

    The MSc UDP degree is widely recognised by international organizations and agencies (such as UN agencies and the World Bank), bilateral aid organisations from different countries (including the UK's Department for International Development but other government aid programmes as well) and by many national organisations alike. This degree has been an integral and core course of DPU for a long time now and the two are instantly associated; in this sense, UDP alumni automatically draw upon the international respect enjoyed by DPU on the basis of its expertise in and contribution to urban development and action planning to date. There is enormous variety in the work UDP graduates get into after the course. This ranges from work with UK-based organizations in the public, private and community sectors which focus on local as well as international development, to governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations which operate in a development capacity in the South. There is also variety in the geographic location of UDP alumni: some decide to return to their home countries with the additional MSc qualification and knowledge and engage in the practice, teaching or research of urban development practice there; alternatively, quite a few of our former students have successfully sought employment in international development organisations (from grassrrots to multilateral tiers) away from their own countries. As a result, DPU can boast a global network of UDP alumni spread across many continents, countries and organisations, often facilitating that essential first introduction of a UDP applicant into employment.
    Last edited by Lux Lisbon; 23 May 2010 at 9:56 PM.

  5. #5
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    A link with more options within the DPU: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dpu/courses/masters

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by afrurbanist View post
    Hello All,

    I have been looking for a program in Urban planning/design that concentrates on developing regions (global south)

    I found an Urban Design Masters course in Nairobi, Kenya at a national university, that works in conjunction with other African universities so that students learn in Kampala, Dar Es Salaam, Accra, Nairobi, Cape Town, Abuja and Johannesburg.

    Its a very exciting program however I am afraid that if I get my masters from an African institution it will not be very highly regarded (if recognised at all!) outside of sub-Saharan Africa. I want the freedom of being able to live/work in as many parts of the world as possible.

    FYI- I completed my first degree in Western Canada

    Any thoughts?
    Hi!

    I would also recommend The Netherlands.
    The Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies IHS at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam is also a good place to study urban planning issues focused on the developing world. Please take a look at:
    www.ihs.nl

    Best regards!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by afrurbanist View post
    Thanks.

    Although you haven't said so explicitly, I take it you would encourage me not to study at an African institution.

    I will definitely be applying to some of those institutions next year.

    Thanks
    No, I would encourage you to weigh your long-range goals against the school you choose to attend. If you want to work in Sub-Saharan Africa early in your career, then you might be very well served by an African institution. And after a few years of work experience, where you earned your degree will matter less and less. I have worked with some excellent planning students and faculty in east Africa, and would recommend those departments to anyone who wants to work in that region.

    But if you are thinking about broader geographic appeal and job prospects, Western European and American university degrees tend to carry more weight generally.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    When you say urban design, what type of design work do you want to do? An international studies or an international planning program usually does not cover design aspects, its often more about policy planning. If you want to do heavy design work, have you considered enrolling in an architecture or engineering school overseas?
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  9. #9
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    Lux Lisbon: Thanks for the great advice. By chance, I actually met a former UCL grad quite recently and was able to have some conversations with her about the program. I will definitely be applying to UCL next year... Very competitive from what I understand, so I can only hope for the best (but prepare for the worst, and apply to other colleges)

    EVT: Looking at Dutch Universities... Thanks for your message!

    Rumbach: You've worked with East African planners? From which institution? And... If I can ask, what project brought you together?...
    Because African Urban design issues are very different from other regions, I wonder if my experience in sub-saharan africa would lend itself to working (for example) Abu Dhabi or Singapore or San francisco (Dream city to work in!)...

    Thanks, for your help and advice Rumbach. Weighing the options and I appreciate your input.

    Nrschmid: I am actually looking at architectural programs (although they are very very long and I will be 27 next year, which is when I'd apply!)
    I am also looking at environmental engineering programs (my bachelors is in environmental science). I;ve also found some MUP/MUD programs that would offer both.

    Did you have any architectural/engineering programs in mind?

    Thank you for your time and comments

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