Student life - Urban Ecological Planning (Master's Programme)
Trondheim, an urban laboratory
You will be studying in Trondheim, Norway – a quiet, yet dynamic mid-size city, which offers plenty of opportunities for personal development, recreation, sports, and entertainment. The university and the affiliated research institutions and technology companies play an important role in the city, attracting students and young professionals from around the world.
Trondheim is also a good urban laboratory due to its cultural richness and diversity in demographics and built form. As an ancient capital of Norway, Trondheim has a large pedestrian-oriented central area where you will find some very well-preserved heritage buildings made of wood and stone. This old centre coexists nicely with the recently redeveloped port and shipyard areas, which have turned into vibrant districts made up of reused warehouses, modern residential and office buildings, and high-quality public spaces. Trondheim is also known from its good cycling infrastructure and hiking trails that take you out into the beautiful nature in no time.
At UEP we aim to engage our students in a variety of enriching extra-curricular activities that are linked to the topics discussed in classes. Through our projects and partnerships, we organize diverse workshops, excursions, events, and other initiatives, that enable our students to gain new knowledge in the field and, expand their academic, professional, and social networks.
We organize many activities that allow working across study programs and professionals fields, because we firmly believe that working in a team with a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds makes a fertile ground of exchange and learning. With student groups made up of many different nationalities, drawing on and learning from experiences and understandings from each other is seen as a valuable resource for the learning environment.
The project NTNU SPAS "Shared Spaces for Innovation" seeks to explore the potential of open shared spaces as the engine of connecting people, sparking inspiration, and promoting new ideas, creativity as well as innovation. The first phase took place in 2021 and engaged students and other stakeholders of the Gløshaugen campus in discussions and workshops about the current issues and future potential. The second phase, starting in 2023, aims to describe and understand the situation of public spaces on NTNU’s main campus, through mapping, surveys, and workshop activities.
The UTFORSK-NISA: Norway-India-South Africa partnership is a transnational partnership for localising SDGs in urban development education and practice. This project allows for the students of 3 universities (NTNU, University of Cape Town, and School of Planning and Architecture New Delhi) to participate in mobility projects, short- and long-term study exchanges and conduct fieldworks in the partner cities. The project focuses on co-creating an interdisciplinary and participatory portfolio (curriculum and practice-based) in urban development to localize SDGs in Norwegian, South African, and Indian cities, and encourage South-North and South-South learning.
In the context of the UTFORSK-NISA project, our students were able to travel to and take part in the 6th Asian Cities Summit in New Delhi, India. Organised by the All India Institute of Local Self-Government (AIILSG), this event gathered decision-makers, urban practitioners, organisations, researchers, etc. The exhibition of student work from UEP, University of Cape Town and the School of Planning and Architecture New Delhi, about their common fieldwork in Kochi was well received and appreciated by the public.
Collaborations at NTNU
Collaborations at NTNU
Our students are also active in numerous activities offered by other programs at NTNU, local student associations and the university’s international networks, like the ENHANCE network. These include international summer schools, online webinars, local events, and continuous knowledge exchange. The work produced during their fieldwork, classes, or master thesis is shared with a wider public through academic and industry-related events as presentations or poster stands. This allows the students to expand their professional networks and to experience the research environment, for example the Beyond crisis/Beyond normal conference in Trondheim in September 2023.
Examples of collaborations
Examples of collaborations
This intensive international course “Data-Driven Co-Creation”, hosted at NTNU by the Smart Sustainable Cities team during the Autumn semester of 2021 and 2022, introduced students to data as a tool for citizen participation in the planning system in Ålesund and Geiranger. Students the NTNU and partner universities spent seven days working closely with stakeholders to understand issues such as excess tourism, pollution and neglected urban spaces. The diverse teams stunned our local stakeholders with their relevant and timely ideas or addressing local issues! The fieldwork element of the course was fully funded.
The Social Hackathon was organized as a 24-hour intense workshop here in Trondheim in November 2022. Students from all over the world came together to strategize about how the city of Trondheim can reach its goal of becoming climate neutral by 2030. The participants met with professionals from Trondheim Municipality who are working toward climate neutrality, toured the city and got to work in groups developing their ideas. They proposed global perspectives to local challenges for solutions that can inspire big picture change.
Organized by the ENHANCE alliance, the Summer School VLC_SYNERGIC URBAN INFRASTRUCTURES was held in hybrid mode and divided into two phases: the online phase focusing on research, and the on-site phase in Valencia focusing on group work and synergic project proposals. Working in interdisciplinary teams the students collaborated with tutors, decision-makers, and representatives of civil society and the economic sector to collectively develop diagnoses, visions, and proposals for a set of strategic spatial and functional units in the city of Valencia.
Live Studio is an award-winning initiative of the Faculty of Architecture and Fine Art, where students of architecture and planning work in collaboration with staff to implement projects of strategic spatial nature. It facilitates direct engagement in projects with clients outside of the educational institution. Every year, students involved in Live Studio implement urban interventions as well as landmark architecture and landscape projects in towns and cities in Norway and abroad. The UEP program has provided the empirical and theoretical grounding for this initiative.
Local and global exposure
Local and global exposure
We consider it to be very important for our students to gain an understanding of the bigger professional stage, therefore we encourage them to participate in relevant activities and engage in organizations in Norway and abroad. This is also affirmed through our long-standing collaborations with organizations like Habitat Norge, UN-Habitat, ISOCARP and others.
Examples of activities
Examples of local and global exposure activities
In August 2023, UEP collaborated with Habitat Norge to organize an open event “Housing for All”, assembling presentations of best practices on housing solutions from international experts to tackle the question of Norway’s need for new housing policies and practices to provide affordable housing for all. The hybrid webinar was followed by an in-person panel discussion of local youth politicians from major political parties addressing the housing challenges in Norway and Trondheim. UEP students took active part in attending and discussing during the event.
Many UEP students actively participate in "Climathon Trondheim" every year. Climathon is a 24-hours event in which participants come up with innovative ideas and solutions regarding different themes related to climate change.
A number of former and present students and faculty members are affiliated with the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) and participated in the Congresses and the Young Planning Professionals’ (YPP) Workshops, which are held annually in different cities around the world.
The university-affiliated organizations offer affordable student housing options linked to well-equipped gyms, sport facilities and activity rooms. The organization Sit wishes to contribute to the students’ well-being, and recruit more students to NTNU.
The Architect students' own organization (Broderskabet) is a good choice when it comes to making new friends, trying new activities, getting to know the city and many other things.