New Master in Collaborative Spatial Development at the HSLU

- EN - DE- FR- IT
Planning processes in both urban and rural areas are becoming increasingly compl
Planning processes in both urban and rural areas are becoming increasingly complex. Picture: Michelle Wermelinger

The new Master’s degree course in "Collaborative Spatial Development" will start at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in fall 2024. The focus is on a future-oriented planning culture with which students from different disciplines shape complex, spatial transformation processes.

Climate change and the energy crisis, increasing urbanization, demographic change, changing mobility patterns and new digital technologies are shaping the world we live in. As a result, planning processes in both urban and rural areas are becoming increasingly complex and can no longer be handled solely by spatial planners, architects and landscape architects. Regardless of whether we are talking about immediate climate measures for neighborhoods or strategies for dealing with housing shortages in entire cantons, new forms of cooperation are required - and specialists are needed who can accompany these change processes. ’More than ever, the spatial development of the future needs interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teams to find appropriate solutions to the current challenges,’ says co-director of studies Tabea Michaelis. This is why the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts is offering the new Master of Arts in Collaborative Spatial Development, which is co-directed by Michaelis and Amelie Mayer. At its meeting on 11 May 2023, the Concordat Council of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts approved the introduction of the course from September 2024.

Preparation for a broad field of activity

The course is aimed at people who have completed a Bachelor’s degree and those with several years of practical experience in fields such as spatial planning, urban planning, architecture, landscape architecture, environmental, economic and social sciences, computer science or design. Together, the Master’s students acquire a wide range of skills in dealing with changing requirements and increasingly scarce resources: they learn to involve different stakeholder groups in development projects and to mediate between them. In addition to the application of traditional instruments of spatial planning, architecture and urban development, they deepen their knowledge of qualitative and performative methods in order to understand and further develop a space based on its specific possibilities.

’We understand spatial development not as a product, but as a process. This should create climate-friendly, open and adaptable spaces and thus create a basis for exchange and integration,’ explains the co-director of the course. ’In order to plan these spaces, you need a holistic understanding of building culture that starts from the existing building stock and keeps an eye on the political and legal framework as well as economic viability,’ she explains. Students work on practical projects with potential clients. They develop sustainable solutions for the built and lived space.

A Master’s degree program for the practice of spatial development

For five years, HSLU experts from various disciplines have been researching the challenges of spatial development with partners from the field as part of the interdisciplinary thematic cluster (ITC) ’Space and Society’. An essential prerequisite: the development of our built environment is only possible if specialists are able to think, plan and work together beyond their own specialist area - a skill that needs to be learned. There is a need for this in practice, which is why the Master’s in Collaborative Spatial Development was created.

The structure of the course is based on an iterative project process and offers regular moments of reflection in colloquia. Students put their knowledge into practice in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary projects with potential clients, gaining experience in dealing with disruption and coping and learning how to deal with the unpredictable. There is the option of full-time or part-time study. A broad, cross-departmental range of specialization options is available to promote individual professional development that corresponds to the personal orientation of the interdisciplinary students.