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Start   >  Master's & postgraduate courses  >  Education  >  Master's degree in Urban Design
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Information 2019-20 edition
The 2019-20 edition of the master's degree has already begun. Shortly we will publish updated information about the new edition of this programme.
26th Edition
100 ECTS (630 teaching hours)
Language of instruction
Notes 0,7% campaign
Registration open until the beginning of the course or until end of vacancies.
Next course
September 2020
Monday: 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Tuesday: 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Wednesday: 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Thursday: 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Taught at
ETSAB - Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura de Barcelona
Av. Diagonal, 649
Why this programme?
Urban planning cannot be indifferent to the fast transformations of our society in the new information era. The increasing complexity of the urban phenomena and their interactions, the impact of the new communication technologies in relationship between the city and the territory, the role of the big metropolises, which is getting more and more relevant to an international scale, make the urban planner develop suitable methods and instruments of intervention in this context.

This new common program faces up to the challenges of contemporary urban planning, attending to the development of new instruments for a critical intervention in different contexts. The workshops constitute the core of the each semester.

The course is structured in two stages:
  • The first, face-to-face, between September 2019 and December 2020 in Barcelona. In this stage all the classes of the programmatic content that correspond to the three fields of action of the urban intervention: "Project the City", dedicated to planning, "Project the Place", dedicated to the conception of urban projects and "Project the Territory ", dedicated to territorial planning.
  • The second, between January 2020 and December 2021, will be the Final Master's Project. Designed for the application of the knowledge acquired in the face-to-face stage, in the proposed research topic. The Final Master's Project will be prepared with the support of a tutor and in connection (face-to-face or virtual) depending on the place of residence of the student.
The UPC's Masters in Urban Planning Project Design has been designed to train highly qualified architects in the development of urban projects that have to adapt to a dynamic and very complex urban environment. The Master's program emphasizes the physical form of the interventions, in relation to which the rest of aspects in urban planning are considered (economic, social, management, etc.). This is the reason why the workshops based on real urban planning projects in different towns, carried out in close collaboration with the corresponding administrations, are the focal points of the Masters. The rest of subjects, which bring extensive theoretical and methodological knowledge about the processes of urban and territorial transformations, are articulated around the workshops.

Because the participants on the Master hail from all over the world, they often work in multicultural groups, an enriching situation that is more and more common in the professional activities of urbanists.

The aim of the Master's is to capacitate students to do the following:
- Analyze urban problems in urban and regional areas.
- Design proposals for planning, remodeling and developing these areas.
- Understand the sociological, economic, technical and managerial aspects of urban planning and weave these into their understanding of the forms of physical intervention.
- Incorporate the different scales involved in Urbanism into their designs.
- Develop discriminating, well-grounded views of the field of Urbanism.

Beyond that, the specific objectives in the Master are: (1) think critically and incorporate the dynamics of urban complexity within a clear conceptual framework, (2) encourage research through design, which enables enhanced visibly ability of this method of approach and offer an innovative technique (project as a producer of knowledge), (3) be able to initiate a contextual and flexible dialogue within the framework of a strategic bargaining with the different stakeholders or affected by the design proposal in order to achieve a better understanding of the implementation process, and (4) promote wider perspective on the consequences of decisions and actions on shaping the current and future city.
Who is it for?
  • Architects with advanced or associates degrees
  • Urban Developers
  • Managers working for public administrations in urbanism departments
  • Geographers
  • Economists
  • Engineers with advanced or associates degrees

Training Content

List of subjects
1st year
15 ECTS 120h
Territorial Organisation Workshop
This workshop focuses on formulating a real, current and representative intervention proposal for one of the issues that territorial organisation is currently dealing with. The effect of massive infrastructures, the geography of activities, recognition of the shape of territories as an intervention criteria, among other things, will be some of the issues that will be articulated in the focus of the project. This project will be initiated using information that has already been generated allowing students to quickly use the materials and create adequately detailed proposals.
3 ECTS 15h
Post-industrial City Territories
Analysis and discussion of metropolitan realities like the growth and transformation process that Barcelona and other Mediterranean cities have experienced over the last few decades. Special attention is given to urban and territorial morphology as expressions of changes in demographics, economic activities, mobility, industry location, tertiary elements, facilities and residential areas. New forms of metropolitan growth. The nature of problems and processes.
3 ECTS 15h
Territorial Organisation Theory
This section seeks to offer key urban development and design studies into the origin and evolution of territorial organisation and an evaluation of the current situation of our context and other nearby urban development cultures through the selection and detailed discussion of a meaningful group of plans and studies. This includes definition of objectives, technical development of the main proposals and application instruments.
3 ECTS 15h
Territorial Organisation Experiences. Models, Instruments and Methods
This course studies the different types of the most commonly used plans in the territorial sector in Spain by presenting and critiquing of a series of case studies. As well this course looks at maps used in the Catalonian territorial sector, as well as maps from some other regions, where it is possible to look at the different types and focuses of methodologies produced nowadays.
3 ECTS 15h
Classes of support to the workshop
Discussions related to the workshop. The course will present the conceptual foundations of ecology at planning, landscape ecology principles, criteria for the design and sustainable management of the territory. It also will discuss the processes of growth and transformation of the territory from the socioeconomic perspective or the design of big infrastructures.
3 ECTS 15h
Cultural Landscapes, Heritage and Regional Planning Project
This course aims to provide an overview of developments in the treatment of heritage from the protection of cultural landscapes. Learn the concepts of 'cultural landscape' and 'heritage park', make a specific assessment of the situation in our immediate context and the challenges posed by this new conception of the landscape. Evaluate criteria and instruments in the successive stages in the development of a project in an area full of heritage resources and develop through analysis of representative examples, methodological guidelines for intervention.
15 ECTS 120h
Urban Planning Workshop
This workshop focuses on the analysis and organisation of urban structures and some of its systems using a medium sized Mediterranean city, whose problems and issues and previous history make it especially suitable for academic discussion and professional specialisation, as an example. The project will start with a physical proposal that demonstrates the relationship between design and construction of a city, taking into account timelines and the organisational necessities of process and form management.
4 ECTS 20h
Theory of Urban Planning
This course is a review of intervention theory in the urban planning field, dealing with things from the contributions of primary plans to urban documentation within the discipline. Reflection on the evolution of theory and planning methods, as well as reflection on the representative elements of recent process stages.
Responsible: Profs. Dr. Miquel Coromines Ayala and Joaquim Sabaté Bel (Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning).
4 ECTS 20h
Urban Structure and Systems
This course includes discussion about the material, functional and formal characteristics of the contemporary city when it experiences a transition from an industrial economy to a service based economy and from a compact urban configuration towards a more diffuse configuration. Analysis of processes and different forms of traditional growth, new means of locating activities and constructing new residential and commercial zones. Collective space versus public and private space in the contemporary city.
Responsible: Profs. Drs Josep M ª Claret Vilanova and Angel Martin Ramos (Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning).
3 ECTS 15h
Urban Regulation and Urban Economy
The first part of the course deals with urban regulations and management instruments: distribution of land use and building density, quality controls and urban standards, infrastructures and controlling the shape of urban spaces, types of plans, controlling growth and transformation processes and regulation of architecture from the planning stages.

The second part of the course teaches students how to read the growth and transformation processes of cities from key economic and social perspectives. Things like local labour markets, industrial districts, involvement of new modes of transport and exchange, information flows and spreading of information are some of the economic changes that a city undergoes that require a physical solution.

4 ECTS 20h
Infrastructure, Environment and City
The aim of the first part of the course is to offer a focused view of the relationship between two concepts (infrastructure and planning) on an urban scale. This course proposes systematising characteristic problems from each type of infrastructure according to remodelled planning where issues and flows (communication, energy, mobility), logistics, environmental infrastructures, public transportation, together with other relatively traditional layouts of streets and urban services constitute fundamental themes.
Responsible: Profs. Joan Miró and Francesc Magrinyà (Department of Infrastructures, Transport and Regional Planning).

The second part of this course introduces environmental principles on an urban scale, integrating them into the urban landscape. New concepts, parameters and techniques following the environmental paradigm are incorporated into this course with the aim of improving the integration of natural and urban environments.

4 ECTS 20h
Project Analysis and Evaluation
This course seeks to analyse different aspects of medium sized urban interventions, predominately urban projects, by looking at the different elements and techniques used in recent proposals that have been selected for this course because of their paradigmatic nature.
4 ECTS 20h
Design of Public Space
This course focuses on the discussion about public space projects: streets, boulevards, promenades, squares and parks, through its most characteristic features explained by their authors. This instrumental course, will review the different elements and common techniques used in the construction and maintenance of public space. This seminar will focus in the recent review of public space design and in the gradual enrichment of techniques and materials.
2nd year
4 ECTS 20h
Urban Improvement
Recent urban improvement plans and operations, as much for the sector itself as for the variety of situations where they are proposed, for the diversity of objectives and the intervention methods, represent one of the most important chapters in the history of urban development of our cities. This course seeks to classify these things according to common themes, allowing us to do comparative study to establish suitable criteria, objectives and intervention methods for use with different urban improvement situations.
14 ECTS 120h
Urban Design Workshop
This workshop focuses on the relationships between new pieces of a contemporary city that are frequently characterised by their isolation, mutual indifference and insensitivity within the urban context, given that they have generated peri-urban zones where non-integration is the norm.
Designs proposals put forth will focus on exploiting the potential functional and formal links between these peripheral units to be able to configure new city structures and determine their complexity, vitality and beauty.
2 ECTS 10h
The Construction of the Urban Form
The urban project, such as the architectural one, is an exercise of synthesis about diferent factors. In this synthesis the invention of the urban form -either of volumes or spaces- is often a key moment to unlock the process. The effectiveness of this form depends on its conformity with the technical and functional aspects, but also depends on a crucial attribute: the internal consistency of the shape itself. The course aims to expose some mechanisms for constructing formal coherence and to come into an analysis and understanding of the logic of form, its process of formation, the relationship of the project with the context or the economy of expressive resources. It seeks to provide conceptual tools to project the urban morphology, without forgetting the other dimensions of the synthesis of design.
2 ECTS 10h
New Residential Designs
The scarcity of innovation of different types of residential organisation models put forth over the last few years is in stark contrast to the traditional role of residential design projects as purveyors of new urban organisational models. Given the minimal quality of housing, new offerings tend to be promoted by means of complimentary aspects such as: centrality, accessibility, features, community spaces, entertainment, and proximity to natural spaces... This seminar is based on analysis of designs from the last twenty five years.
10 ECTS 40h
Módulo Situaciones y Escenarios: Seminario de Investigación
This fourth module of the Master of Urban Design is the development of a research project, scheduled by a research seminar with a clear methodological orientation.
Special master's degree issued by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Issued pursuant to art. 34.1 of Organic Law 4/2007 of 12 April, amending Organic Law 6/2001 of 21 December, concerning Universities. To obtain it, is necessary to have an official university qualification. Otherwise, the student will receive a certificate of completion of the programme issued by the Fundació Politècnica de Catalunya.
Range of modules
The master's degree programme is organized into the following modules. If you don't wish to take the entire master's degree you can sign on one or several modules.
Master's degree:
relation Postgraduate courses:

Learning methodology

The teaching methodology of the programme facilitates the student's learning and the achievement of the necessary competences.

Learning tools
Participatory lectures
A presentation of the conceptual foundations of the content to be taught, promoting interaction with the students to guide them in their learning of the different contents and the development of the established competences.
Practical classroom sessions
Knowledge is applied to a real or hypothetical environment, where specific aspects are identified and worked on to facilitate understanding, with the support from teaching staff.
Case studies
Real or hypothetical situations are presented in which the students, in a completely participatory and practical way, examine the situation, consider the various hypotheses and share their own conclusions.
Students are given technical support in the preparation of the final project, according to their specialisation and the subject matter of the project.
Students are supported when undertaking group work, including theoretical sessions which provide the tools and knowledge needed to achieve a result. Ideas and results are exchanged between all the participating groups.
Assessment criteria
At least 80% attendance of teaching hours is required.
Work out projects
Studies on a specific topic, by individuals or groups, in which the quality and depth of the work is assessed, among other factors.
Completion and presentation of the final project
Individual or group projects in which the contents taught in the programme are applied. The project can be based on real cases and include the identification of a problem, the design of the solution, its implementation or a business plan. The project will be presented and defended in public.
Work placements & employment service
Students can access job offers in their field of specialisation on the My_Tech_Space virtual campus. Applications made from this site will be treated confidentially. Hundreds of offers of the UPC School of Professional & Executive Development employment service appear annually. The offers range from formal contracts to work placement agreements.
Virtual campus
The students on this master's degree will have access to the My_ Tech_Space virtual campus - an effective platform for work and communication between the course's students, lecturers, directors and coordinators. My_Tech_Space provides the documentation for each training session before it starts, and enables students to work as a team, consult lecturers, check notes, etc.

Teaching team

Academic management
  • Sabaté Bel, Joaquim
    View profile in futur.upc
    Doctor in Architecture and Economist. Professor of the Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning (UPC). Coordinator of the PhD in Urban Planning and of the Official Research Masters in Urban Planning. Conferences, seminars, master's courses and doctorates in more than fifty universities of Europe, Asia, North and Latin America. Research activity on the tools, methods and theories of urban development project, and the relationship between patrimonial resources and local development. All this has been translated in more than a hundred of books or book chapters, and in projects recognized four times in the National Awards of Planning.
Teaching staff
  • Albareda Fernández, Elena
    View profile in futur.upc
    Architect Associate professor since 2015 to the Department of Urban Planning and Planning (UPC). Gets the DIOSA (2009) in the PhD in Energy and Environment Architecture through an FI-Agaur scholarship, from which the current thesis is derived. She is a founding partner of the cooperative of architecture Cíclica [space, community & ecology] combining, since 2012, professional projects with teaching in her field of research. She is the author of publications related to ecological urbanism projects, urban metabolism, landscape ecology and sustainable transformation of the territory.
  • Carrera Alpuente, Josep Maria

    Architect from the ETSAB since 1983. Coordinator of the Territorial Metropolitan Plan of Barcelona. Currently Head of Cabinet of the Presidency of the AMB.
  • Castiñeira Palou, Isabel
    View profile in futur.upc
    Doctor in Architecture and Urban Design. Professor of the Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning of the UPC. She has reconciled her teaching at the ETSAV with classes of Master in Urban Design and with her professional exercise in Castiñeira Corominas Sabaté SCP, CCRS architects, where it has developed numerous works of planning to several scales, territorial and urban.
  • Corominas Ayala, Miquel
    View profile in futur.upc
    Dr. Architect, Professor of Urbanism at ETSAB. Special doctoral award of UPC for the thesis: "Sòl, tècnica i iniciativa en els origens de l'Eixample de Barcelona". He has participated in several exhibitions about the Eixample and has published several articles, chapters and books about Cerdà and about the Eixample and others about urban planning. He has been invited lecturer in various universities of Europe and America. Architect responsible of Eixample in Barcelona City Council from 1983 to 1987. Combines teaching with professional practice of urbanism in the study CCRS, architects and partners.
  • Español Llorens, Joaquim

    Doctor in Architecture and professor at the School of Architecture of Barcelona (UPC). He has been professor of the "Accademia di Architettura" in Mendrisio, Switzerland, and invited professor in various universities of Europe and America. He is the author of books about architectural research, as "Architects in the landscape", "Invitation to the architecture", "Girona: Anatomy of the historic city", "The fragil order of the architecture" (Doctoral special prize, "Archítesis" prize) and "Form and consistency". He has realized his professional work with F. Hereu. With him he has obtained several prizes (FAD prize of opinion, Special mention award of European Public Space, finalist in several FAD prizes, and others architectural prizes). His works have been published in books and specialized magazines, as well as in the monograph "F. Hereu and J.Español. Inventories of Architecture", and have been showed in various exhibition.
  • Esteban Noguera, Juli

    Architect, Doctor Honoris Causa by the UPC (2011) for his long career in urban planning. He participated in the drafting of the General Metropolitan Plan of Barcelona and was the director of the Urban Planning Services of the metropolitan institutions of Barcelona (1977-1992). He directed the City Planning Office of Barcelona (1992-2004) and the Territorial Planning Program of the Generalitat de Catalunya (2004-2010). He is the author of Elements of Urban Planning (1980, 1998) and Urban Planning: concepts, tools and practices (2001, 2010).
  • Fayos Molet, Ricard

    Architect (UPC, 1974). Professor at the School of Architecture of Barcelona (UPC) and professor of various Master¿s programs and international seminars. Since 1984 is linked in several important charges in the town hall of Barcelona and since 1992 is the Technical Director of Planning and Infrastructure of the town hall of Barcelona.
  • Font Arellano, Antonio

    Doctor in Architecture, Professor Emeritus at the UPC. National Planning Award 1983. Works along the lines of analysis and project planning, which has developed in european national and regional research projects, being the author of numerous books and articles in this matter and in urban planning. Professional practice of urban and territorial project, such as technical assistance to the Administrations and Public Organisms. Member of several Scientific Committees and International Academics related to the area of study.
  • Franquesa Sanchez, Jordi
    View profile in futur.upc
    Architect and PhD in Urban Planning by UPC (ETSAB), teacher of ETSAB since 1996. He has taught at different universities: Venice. Lisbon, Holland, Mexico and Brazil, and has been a speaker at a congress on innovation at Harvard. His doctoral thesis on the garden city won the Extraordinary Doctorate Award. He is the director and founder of the research group GILDA, Group for Innovation and Educational Logistics in Architecture, where 6 Jidai congresses have been held so far, Conference for Teaching Innovation in Architecture. He has written numerous articles on teaching innovation.
  • Galindo Gonzalez, Julian
    View profile in futur.upc
    Doctor in Architecture and Professor of the Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning (UPC), where also develops his activity as a researcher. He has taught in several courses and international workshops, such as the Biennial of Spanish Architecture and Urbanism in Santander. He has coordinated, with the Historisch Amsterdam Museum, the exhibition "The construction of the open city. Amsterdam 1934-1995", presented in Spanish and European universities, and was invited by the universities of Palermo and Venice at the seminars that accompanied the exhibition in Italy. His works and articles have been recognized in publications, magazines and on national and international awards.
  • Martínez García, David
    View profile in Linkedin
    Architect by UPC, he has studied urban planning within the Master and Doctorate UPC programs. He is currently Project Director of the BIT Habitat Foundation and coordinator of the 22 @ Commission of the Barcelona City Council. He has more than 15 years of experience in local administration (Head of Urban Planning Services and Housing Coordinator in the City Council of Badalona and Advisor in Urban Planning and Infrastructure in Barcelona City Council). He has been a lecturer and lecturer at national and international level since 2001.
  • Moreno Sanz, Joan
    View profile in futur.upc / View profile in Linkedin
    PhD in Urban studies at UPC-BarcelonaTech, Extraordinary Doctoral Award UPC 2016, Master's degree in urban planning at DUOT and architect at ETSAB. His research fields are urban mobility and innovative pedagogical methodologies in teaching architecture. As a member of CARNET, he won the Catalan National Research Award for the public-private partnership in research and innovation in 2018. Nowadays, he teaches as a tenure-eligible lecturer at UPC-BarcelonaTech and he writes scientific reports and urban pland for public administrations such as Barcelona City Council.
  • Navarro Acebes, Ferran

    Architect. He has worked as Head of Planning in several municipalities (L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, L'Arboç, La Bisbal del Penedes ...) Professor of the Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning of the UPC since 1982. Own office since 1976, draft of general and derivative planning (especially historical centers) and of documents for the urban development management. He has written several books and articles about the urban development management, especially on the execution of the urbanism and the transformation of the built city.
  • Peremiquel Lluch, Francesc
    View profile in futur.upc
    Doctor of Architecture (UPC). Professor of the Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning at the ETSAB (UPC). Professor of several graduate programs. Author and director of researching works in the field of Urban Transformation and Urban Residential Project. Member of the Urban planning Research Group. Municipal Architect of Badalona (1985-2007) where was head of urban planning.
  • Pesoa Marcilla, Melisa
    View profile in futur.upc
    Architect, MSc and doctor in Urban Planning from the UPC. A lecturer and researcher at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in the areas of theory and history of the city and urban morphology. She has participated as a lecturer in the Master's degree on Urban Planning at the UPC and in international workshops. She is responsible for organising the Urban Planning Research Seminar and is a member of the editorial board of the journals QRU (Quaderns de Recerca en Urbanisme) and ID (Identidades).
  • Sabaté Bel, Joaquim
    View profile in futur.upc
    Doctor in Architecture and Economist. Professor of the Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning (UPC). Coordinator of the PhD in Urban Planning and of the Official Research Masters in Urban Planning. Conferences, seminars, master's courses and doctorates in more than fifty universities of Europe, Asia, North and Latin America. Research activity on the tools, methods and theories of urban development project, and the relationship between patrimonial resources and local development. All this has been translated in more than a hundred of books or book chapters, and in projects recognized four times in the National Awards of Planning.
  • Vilanova Claret, Josep Maria
    View profile in futur.upc
    Josep Maria Vilanova i Claret, doctor architect for the Technical School of Architecture of Barcelona, professor of the Department of Urban Planning and Planning since 1983 with teaching at the Vallès School of Architecture and in Barcelona, teaches at various Masters of the Polytechnic Foundation and the UOC. Professional specializing in urban rehabilitation, urban planning and planning, with the multidisciplinary team Equip EARHA SL and the professional company Equip BCPN SLP. National Prize of Urbanism 1983, Extraordinary Prize of Doctorate UPC 1995, Prize Catalonia of Urbanism 2001 and 2011.

Career opportunities

  • Technical manager in urban planning departments.
  • Consultant in Urban Planning and Territorial Planning.
  • Urban planner specialist in urban project, urban planning and regional design.
  • Project manager in the area of ​​urban planning.
  • Freelance urbanist.

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