About the fieldwork

Urban Ecological Planning

About the fieldwork

Fielldwork in Africa


Being a practice-based program, UEP is structured around group and individual fieldworks, which consist of a wide range of activities such as internships, project work, data collection as well as direct community and stakeholder engagement.

In the first semester, our programme starts with a group fieldwork in a relevant context. Students spend around 8-12 weeks in the field to understand the challenges and strengths of neighbourhoods within dense urban areas, and deliberate on how to create opportunities for spatial, environmental and livelihood improvements. A sustainable approach is assumed to concentrate on building local responsibility and capacities for action planning.

This study is tailor-made to help students to:

  1. Understand the urban asset base and dynamics of a territorially defined area, e.g neighbourhood, through interacting with its inhabitants, local authorities and other stakeholders.
  2. Study the relations between the applicable formal laws and regulations imposed by the public authority, and the informal customs and practices of the local communities.
  3. Be able to propose a physical or organizational intervention based on their newly acquired understanding of the dynamics of the community in question and do it in such a way that it will generate subsequent benefits.

During the past years, the first semester’s fieldwork has taken place in Uganda, Nepal and India. The format of the fieldwork is flexible and so far, the outcomes have taken many different forms: from neighbourhood improvement and design proposals, to toolkits, action plans and spatial interventions.

International Joint Fieldwork in India
From 2017 to 2020, the first semester group fieldworks will take place in India, as part of the Smart Sustainable City Regions in India (SSCRI) project led by the Department of Architecture and Planning at NTNU and the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) in Delhi. A multidisciplinary group of students from both institutions will form a joint studio to work together on sustainability issues in the context of the smart city developments proposed by the Government of India. The four main themes of the fieldwork include:

  1. Land, land-use conflicts and sprawl,
  2. Water, its distribution and pricing,
  3. Energy access, energy sources and pollution,
  4. Mobility, and its impacts on the urban structure and the environment.

As part of the student mobility agreement, selected students from SPA Delhi will attend an intensive 4-week Summer School program on Smart Sustainable City Regions at NTNU in Trondheim.


Individual fieldworks and internships

Individual fieldworks and internships

As a requirement, the Master’s thesis in Urban Ecological Planning has to be based on fieldwork research or an internship. Students are encouraged to conduct individual internships/fieldworks in their home cities or chosen developing countries, but they also have the option to do it in Norway or elsewhere, under the condition that they find a relevant topic to investigate. So far, the individual fieldworks and internships took place in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Denmark, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Norway, Pakistan, Singapore, Tanzania, Thailand, Tibet, Uganda and the USA.

The individual fieldwork/internship should take place either during the summer vacations between the second and third semester, or during the winter vacations between the third and fourth semester. Those who decide to engage in relevant internships will be eligible to sign up for an elective Internship course and claim 7.5 ECTS.

Summer School on Urban Sustainability at Chatham University
From 2017 to 2020, the department of Architecture and Planning at NTNU and the Falk School of Sustainability and the Environment at Chatham University in Pittsburgh (USA) established a student mobility partnership, which facilitates selected UEP students to participate in Chatham Summer School on Urban Sustainability and intern for a period of 12 weeks. Stipends are available to cover return flights and living costs in the USA.

The Falk School at Chatham has expertise in the development of local sustainable food systems, urban farming, and the development of new business models for linking local producers with local restaurants and retail units. It also brings its expertise in community development and its deep connections with the public and private sector in Pittsburgh, a city that is seeking to transform itself through a sustainable approach to development, industry and urban planning.

The partnership with Chatham will also allow selected Chatham students to join the UEP in the first semester and participate in the group fieldwork in India.