Urban Studies - Public Administration

Course typeExchange
Course sectorLaw
Course duration5 months
SemesterSpring (Febr. - Jul.)
For partners ofSchool of Governance, Law and Urban Development

Society is changing rapidly and this impacts the way in which we live together as a community. A growing number of people live in cities all around the world. The ageing and migrating population, climate change and technical and digital innovations are just a few examples of social issues that demand novel solutions. On our English-taught programme, you learn how to manage, shape, plan and design our changing cities and its environment. You receive training across multiple disciplines so as to become a new kind of specialist: an urban professional who knows their trade and who understands the importance of working together to resolve current issues satisfactorily.

Therefore, you will become adept in gaining support for your policies and designs from local residents, politicians, businesses and authorities. Urban Studies aims to put sustainable development of cities or regions in a broader perspective by bringing together students from several different programmes: Public Management, Urban Planning and Urban Design. This multidisciplinary approach helps you to devise new ideas and solutions to tomorrow’s urban challenges and teaches you to take account of social, political, economic and sustainability issues in your work.

Public Management
As a public administrator, you are ‘society’s director’ working on themes that touch upon the complex system of living, working and co-existence. This system is very much influenced by social, political and economic developments. As a public administrator, you know how to deal with these influences and how to find common ground for all stakeholders. Subjects include political science, International and EU law and the role of cities in multi-level governance. Moreover, you will develop essential skills, including research skills, effective communication and intercultural sensitivity.

Overview of the exchange programme: Public Administration

2015-2016 - Spring semester
  Period 3 Period 4
Subject – 3 EC Global and local economy Multi-level governance
Subject – 3 EC European and international law European policy and politics
Skills Training – 3 EC Effective communication II
Skills Training – 3 EC Research II
Project - 3 EC - -
Project 15 – EC (in total) Citylab Citylab

Global and local economy 
It is important that the future Public Management professional has some insight into the decision-making processes involving the production and consumption of goods and services in the current globalised economy. More and more economic developments are defined by international economic circumstances. These include real estate and bank crisis and the (often literal) struggle for raw materials. The influence of these force fields is significant in relation to the functioning of the government and the manner in which these governments can influence the events. Many students will – direct or indirect -  be confronted with global issues during their careers. The course Global and Local Economy, which discusses national and global economic systems, assumes a basic knowledge of the general economy. The course will discuss the financial system and the relationship between the financial and actual realistic sector of the economy. The economic relationships between countries and regions (international and regional economy) and globalization (global local paradox) will be explained as well. The central theme will be the total of the determining factors for prosperity, as well as the distribution of this prosperity. The role played by cities with regard to the general economic development will be discussed explicitly.

European & International law 
The awareness of the effects of international and European law on cities, municipalities and regional governments is increasing. More and more it is recognized that cities, municipalities and regional governments as well as Member States, have a major responsibility in executing EU law. Therefore it is important to study the basics of international and EU law and to understand the impact it has on policies related to urban challenges. Students learn about the nature of the international and European legal order and how it is related to the national legal order of especially the Netherlands; international and European treaties as important subjects of international law; institutional and legal framework of the EU, most important characteristics of primary and secondary EU law, dispute settlement and law enforcement; latest developments in better regulation within the EU and the relevance of this subject for cities and regional governments.  A study trip to Brussels including visits to some of the EU institutions is an integral part of this module. During this study trip students will work on an assignment that is part of this module.

Multi-level governance 
Multi-level governance (MLG) is being used as a concept in various sub categories of political science. The changing relationships between actors situated on different territorial levels (vertical) both from the public and private sector (horizontal) is subject of the theory of MLG and it includes participation of non-state players such as economic and social partners and civil society in the decision-making process. The traditional focus of MLG has been the European integration process, but recent focus has extended to other parts of the world and also to other international organisations.  The objective of this module is to focus on the challenge of climate change and to find out what can be learned from the fundamentals of MLG and to learn how the concept is applicable to the problem of climate change. There is a growing awareness that dealing with this global challenge successfully mainly depends on local action. Especially cities have an important role in this challenge, because they play an important role in the cause of this problem and can therefore be of great importance to the sustainable solution of climate change and related problems. Students learn how ‘cities’, ‘climate change’ and ‘multi-level governance’ are interrelated.

European Policy and Politics 
The position of cities in the international context has been changing. Cities became important actors in international trade as well in international relations and the EU is finally leaning towards a true urban policy. This changing position brings various new challenges for cities but also for other participants.  More and more it is recognized that cities and its people need to be involved in public affairs to make policies successful. This module deals with the relations of the city in Europe, Europe in the world and the world in the city. This means that attention will be drawn to the role cities have in Europe and what challenges cities in Europe are faced with. The European Union can have an important role in dealing with the challenges in a common way and therefore it is important to understand the functioning of the EU in a structural and practical way. Important policy areas such as the Urban Agenda and other policies related to urban challenges will be discussed. The position of cities within European networks and on a global scale will be discussed, and attention will be given to how challenges on a global scale are related to urban challenges as well as how globalisation influences the challenges on urban level.

Skills Trainings:

  • Research skills 2 - As a specialist in urban planning, your professional field often presents quantitative or statistical information. This type of information could be included in a research report or a policy proposal, in which numbers and graphics are used to illustrate a (social) phenomenon. As a professional you must be competent to determine the quality of the content of this type of information. This competence requires limited methodical and statistical insight.  The underlying research theory often has a rather abstract nature. This means it could be a significant task to see through statistical information. In order to simplify the understanding of the quantitative research theory, it is best to train this in a context-rich area.
  • Effective Communication -2: A fundamental part of the Urban studies programme is the CityLab assignment where students apply for authentic (real life) research projects from external clients (see below). To be able to work in multicultural groups with people with different specialisations such as Public Administration, Urban Design and Urban and Regional Planning requires proper intercultural communication skills. In Effective Communication II students will learn the importance of cultural differences and the manner in which their own culture affects their own beliefs and way of working qand how cultural differences can lead to enhanced creativity. Professionals who would like to improve the quality of urbanised areas must have a proper understanding of co-operation with people from many nationalities and cultures. Students can improve their intercultural competence by practising in multicultural groups by means of the CityLab assignments.

Integration of knowledge and skills by applying them in real-life cases: CityLab:

Saxion CityLab Assignments - (3 to 5 projects)
CityLab is one of the unique aspects of Urban and Regional Planning. This is the environment in which Urban and Regional Planning students work together with students of Public Administration and Urban Design to develop competences, based on their joint work on authentic practical assignments in the social and spatial domain. CityLab starts in the second period of the first semester and proceeds, to the graduation phase in the second (final) academic year.

Co-creation and applied research in CityLab: An essential feature of CityLab is the possibility for co-creation between clients, lecturer-researcher, readers and students. The CityLab focus with regard to content is dedicated to lines of research, which have been selected in due consultation with the Centre of Expertise for Sustainable Development, like Climate and Energy, and Transition in urban areas.

Key features of the total programme

  • International students and Dutch students learn to work together and to pool their experience
  • Working with business professionals on real-life projects in the CityLab
  • Develop a critical professional approach towards urban development in Europe in order to contribute to sustainable development in urban areas
  • Living technology: learning to make maximum use of ICT in research and communication
  • High-quality supervision by instructors
  • Getting to know the Dutch and their national and professional culture

Before you can be admitted to this course you need to have a secondary school certificate and a minimum of two years of higher education in a similar field of expertise.

The programme is open for students from Erasmus partner universities and other Non-Eu partners of the School of Governance, Law and Urban Development.

The semester is taught in English. Applicants need an IELTS academic level of 6,0 or higher. Please check the general entry requirements, including other accepted languages tests and proofs.

The course in Urban and Regional Planning equips the graduates for a number of specific positions:

  • At national, regional or local authorities
  • At consultancy firms
  • At non-governmental organisations
  • At special interest groups or as independent entrepreneur/consultant