Education: Master programme Metropolitan Analysis, Design and Engineering

Living labs play a central role in master’s degree programme

By: Jurjen Slump

Students can obtain a master’s degree in Metropolitan Analysis, Design and Engineering (MSc MADE). They are taught right in the heart of the city, and living labs have an important role to play here.

We educate urban engineers who, in the complex and confusing world of major
cities, are capable of contributing to changes, have the courage to make decisions and are aware these often have unexpected consequences”, explains Arjen Zegwaard from Wageningen University & Research (WUR). Together with Maurice Harteveld, his counterpart from Delft University of Technology, he leads the MADE education programme. “All of the students share the same drive: a commitment to improve the city and make it more sustainable.”

Living lab

The master’s programme is an alliance between WUR and Delft University of Technology and focuses on the topics of the AMS Institute. Students attend courses on metropolitan challenges and metropolitan solutions. The living lab plays a central role. “Whereas an internship is compulsory on many degree programmes, we rather like to focus on living labs”, says Zegwaard. “It enables us to get to a feasible solution more quickly”, says Harteveld. Students work with all stakeholders on a problem with lots of unanswered questions. The keyword here is ‘co-creation’: collaboration is key at all stages of learning. “No single actor can make metropoles move in a specific direction”, Harteveld explains. “Metropolitan solutions require cooperation between knowledge experts, as well as between city, citizens and civil society.” This approach does justice to the interconnected nature and complexity of today’s problems, Zegwaard states. “It is 21st-century engineering at its best.”

Metropolitan solutions require cooperation between knowledge experts, as well as between city, citizens and civil society

Generalist specialists

Students who have completed the master’s programme are ‘generalist specialists’ and are able to pursue a wide range of careers. From advising municipalities, to running a business in the field of sustainable applications for metropolitan regions, explains Zegwaard. Harteveld calls them ‘metropolitan innovators’: experts able to build bridges between different stakeholders.

Synergy

The alliance between WUR and Delft University of Technology results in ‘amazing synergy’, say both Zegwaard and Harteveld. The lecturers who teach the programme courses come from different backgrounds, which results
in a very creative and innovative style of teaching. Zegwaard: “They clearly enjoy what they are doing and that rubs off on the students.”

MOOCs, Summer Schools, and more

In addition to the MSc MADE, Delft University of Technology and WUR also develop MOOCs and Summer Schools for AMS Institute, while courses for business community and government professionals are also in the pipeline.

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