Student experiences

Chang Liu

After finishing a five-year undergraduate programme in urban planning, I wanted to explore more aspects in the field of urban study. This meant I was really attracted to the Urbanism track at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, its multidisciplinary environment, where we are able and encouraged to extend the boundaries of urban design, strategic planning, technical design, landscape architecture and architectural design. 

Rooted in the dynamic and unique Dutch tradition, this two-year Urbanism programme has taught me lots of innovative insights into the challenges of today’s natural and built environment, as well as many valuable study methods and philosophies. There were two methods among them that benefitted and inspired me the most. 

Firstly, great attention is paid in the Urbanism track to the combination of research and design, from the very beginning of the project through to its end. This method helps to create a logical and complete narrative; you keep reviewing the projects all the time and eventually achieve a combination of both academic and practical training. 

Secondly, we were free to explore and imagine future scenarios conceptually, but also asked to try to realistically analyse their feasibility in their specific social and spatial contexts. This taught us how to deal with different stakeholders, how to define road maps and tackle problems in a more flexible way. 

All in all, I’m glad to have chosen TU Delft and it certainly helped me become more prepared for my future career.

Bhavya Bathena

I became interested in Urbanism while I was pursuing my Bachelor's in Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences; I saw it as an opportunity to effect change. My work on architecture and urban design projects in India and Africa has led me to realise that there are differences in approach in both countries and innumerable subtle nuances that influence practical design implementation. I joined the Master track Urbanism at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment with the intention of understanding and learning about the best practices in Urbanism. 

As they say, the important thing in life isn’t the destination, but the journey. My two-year journey through the master's programme comprised an inspiring study environment, challenges at every step and a few unexpected twists and turns. Tackling these challenges and learning from them has helped me grow both personally and professionally. Not only the regular courses and the TiSD (Technology in Sustainable Development) annotation, but also my participation in platforms such as seminars, discussion forums, and workshops have helped me become proficient in the diverse aspects of Urbanism. Interacting and learning from distinguished professors in their respective fields was an inimitable experience. The opportunity to work in an international environment helped me understand the various concepts of Urbanism accepted in different countries, which mix respective cultures, places, landscapes, and socio-political scenarios.

Closest to my heart is my work on the circular economy, a theme on which I have worked in various projects and workshops for almost a year and a half. My master’s thesis gave me the opportunity to develop spatial strategies for executing principles of circular urban metabolism in relation to my hometown with a view to making it environmentally sustainable for a better future. I will continue working in the direction of developing sustainable cities and striving to bring about change. 

Anne-wil Min

I chose the Master’s Programme in Urbanism after doing a Bachelor’s in Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment and an internship with the Province of Noord-Holland. The internship taught me that the field of Urbanism is much broader than I at first expected. It consists of designing from the smallest scale of a street to the scale of a region, or even larger, and this makes it very interesting.

During my Master’s, I was especially aware of how topical the study subjects are. By using different approaches (from design to planning) in designing for the future, you create innovative projects that work towards solving problems in the environment and society. You often work together in groups, so that you learn a lot from your fellow, often international, students. At the same time, during the electives and the graduation year, you also get the opportunity to work on your personal interests in projects. For example, I’ve researched topics like climate change, ecosystems and urbanisation comprehensively in my graduation project. The project was awarded an honourable mention and furthermore gave me the opportunity of landing a dream job! If you are in for two years of designing on a variety of topics and scales, learning about planning and working together, I would highly recommend this Master’s. 

Osman Ural

I made the decision to go back into academia after working for 6 years as an architect in Istanbul, Turkey. I wanted to grow more holistically as a designer, and therefore looked outward in search for new ideas and opportunities. I also wished to reconnect with both theoretical and scholarly sides of my profession, which seemed unimportant within the commercial practice of architecture.

That is why I decided to come to TU Delft to pursue my master’s degree in Urbanism. This would not just help me broaden my horizons by zooming out to see the bigger picture, but also understand how society systematically coexists within the built environment, and all the layers in between. Coming to this faculty not only helped me update my outlook on these issues, but it also exposed me to new perspectives that force rigorous dialect within analytical frameworks that primarily exist in an international and diverse setting such as TU Delft. These perspectives included ideas regarding urban metabolism, design, planning, and circularity. The faculty also strengthened my belief that there is no boundary between architecture and urban design, as they both help define our spatial reality.

Karlijn Klokhuis

Understanding how processes in society have spatial implications, I chose urbanism because of its broad scope, the fact that it involves working with many different disciplines and that functions are at the heart of society. Because the subject is so broad (designing from a regional scale right down to a paving stone), you’re always being confronted with new subjects on a spatial, technical and social level. Just about everything has something to do with urbanism!

It’s nice to learn to understand how processes work in society, their spatial implications and how you can influence them by means of a vision or design. You spend a lot of the time working in groups, because collaboration is also very important in the working environment. That can be difficult at times, but often also very enjoyable, as the master’s programme is very international and you can learn a great deal from each other. Urban planners are usually very down-to-earth and pleasant people with a broad range of interests. Each group receives intensive supervision from at least two lecturers, who you consult twice a week. Most of the lecturers also work in the field and therefore know what’s going on outside of TU Delft.