Urban, Energy and Environmental Planning, Master

Academic content

Academic content

The future of cities and urban regions concern all of us. Urban development and change play a key role in societal development all over the world. Urbanism and urban life is a primary mediating force in transforming economies, technologies, social interaction and the environment. Cities and urban regions encompass a complex mixture of social activities, innovation, flows, movement and networked technical infrastructures, and as such urbanism is a dynamic socio-technical phenomenon.

Master’s Programme in Urban, Energy and Environmental Planning with specialisation in Urban Planning and Management at Aalborg University enables candidates to understand and cope with the challenges of urban development in the 21st century through a unique integration of engineering and social science. Managing the challenges of urban policy and planning in the global era requires an interdisciplinary approach that combines technical, social, economic, and environmental knowledge. The future development of cities and urban regions requires urban policy makers and planners with an understanding of global development trends as well as of local-regional contexts and identities. It takes imagination and creativity as well as solid socio-technical knowledge and skill to envision, plan, and manage urban transformations that underpin and support goals of economic, social, democratic and ecological development.

1st semester: The complex city

The semester of the ‘complex city’ is devoted to understanding and assessing the complexity of the multiple forms of transformation of urban land use and transport infrastructure. Special emphasis is put on the behavioural, welfare related, distributional, environmental and economic consequences of such transformational processes.

In the project oriented group work the students are asked to evaluate a recent strategy or plan related to a specific aspect of urban development; this could be, among others, building activity, town green areas, transport infrastructure, public services.

1st semester COURSES

  • Theories of Science and Research Designs (5 ECTS)
  • Planning History and Urban Theory (5 ECTS)
  • Sustainable Urban Planning (5 ECTS)

Project: The Complex City (15 ECTS)

2nd SEMESTER: power in planning

Taking its point of departure in the notion of contemporary urban development being affected by increased complexity and new local-global transformation processes, this semester’s theme is the issue of power and conflict within urban planning and management.

Leaving aside the idealised notion of urban planning and management as something neutral or inherently consensus based, the theme deals with real life issues of: who decides? Who gains and loses? And by what strategy is urban development performed?

2nd semester courses

  • The Socio-Technical Context of Planning (5 ECTS)
  • The Deliberative Planner (5 ECTS)
  • Planning Theory (5 ECTS)

Project: Power in Planning (15 ECTS)



The 3rd semester is flexible and provide you with the option of applying the theoretical and methodological knowledge gained during the 1st and 2nd semesters into practice in real life situations in Denmark or abroad.

You have the opportunity to:

  • take an internship within a private planning consultancy firm, a public planning department or a private NGO.
  • follow another 1st semester under UEEP or Geography
  • enroll at another (Danish or foreign) university in order to undertake a semester’s study there.
  • write a 30 ECTS project
  • adding the 3rd and the 4th semester into a ‘prolonged project period’, if for instance the research question demands more time and energy for collecting data or conducting field studies.

4th semester: Master's Thesis

In the final semester the main focus is on the writing of the Masters thesis. Students work individually or in small groups, under the guidance of supervisory staff. The Masters thesis, being the highest level of work undertaken, should aim at synthesising theories and methods in order to perform a potential solution for real life urban planning and management problems.

Study Method at AAU - Problem Based Learning

Study Method at AAU - Problem Based Learning

The study method at AAU is called Problem Based Learning (PBL). Together with your fellow students you will work with real life problems by way of problem based project work.

learn more about Pbl at aau