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Strathclyde Business School Strathclyde Business School

Putting cities of the future in the spotlight

By Robert Rogerson - Posted on 20 January 2017

Course director Dr Robert Rogerson shares his thoughts on the MSc Global Sustainable Cities, looking at the importance of this field of study and what the course involves.

The MSc Global Sustainable Cities helps graduates understand cities from different perspectives, and to create solutions that address many of the major urban sustainability challenges. The course explores ways in which a move to a low carbon economy and society through alternative models of energy supply and different modes of transport could be achieved.

It considers the changing forms of political governance across the world where those managing cities and city regions are being given more autonomy but also have to find new ways to engage with their citizens. The MSc is aimed at graduates or senior professionals with the vision to recognise current challenges and the motivation to create opportunities to improve our future cities.

Our current and recent students suggest that one of the unique aspects of the course is that they are investigating real urban issues in conjunction with other partners in their ‘transformative projects’. These replace the traditional masters dissertation and enable each student to work on two topics alongside commercial, civic or third sector organisations over a 6 week period, gaining valuable insights to how urban challenges are being resolved. Not only do these projects provide valuable work based experience, they also can be a stepping stone to employment – several students last year continued to work with their project partner on graduation.

For me as Course Director, the highlight is that the group of student is small enough to work effectively together, sharing their relevant previous experiences to help each other understand different viewpoints. Each year the students come with varying employment backgrounds, knowledge of cities, and their own lived experiences of cities around the world. We build on this with group working as a key component of the learning environment.
The MSc programme is designed to provide for essential key knowledge and skills required to contribute to urban futures, but it is also adaptable to reflect the different career paths which our graduates wish to follow. Our aim is to help develop future city leaders, designers and planners – the skills required by these leaders encompass not only knowledge of specific city functions and leadership, but also an understanding on the multiple relationships within any city system. This course is designed to ensure that our graduates can contribute in this way.

Driven by varying factors, globally the ways in which we manage and develop our cities will shape all our futures. There is thus a growing need for new forms of urban thinking and leadership. Cities are very much at the heart of our increasingly complex world. Different approaches are needed to manage the use of city assets, to understand how cities can continue to be the growth engines of innovation and economic growth, and to adopt new technologies to help engage citizens in being more actively involved in urban futures. The MSc Global Sustainable Cities offers a timely but distinctive and innovative programme to help generate this urban leadership. As cities continue to grow, the demand for skills offered in this course will equally grow.

The multi-disciplinary nature of the Masters opens up a wide range of employment prospects, covering more traditional careers in urban planning and transport management for example to emerging areas around smart cities and sustainability. Many of our students are however seeking to reorient their careers through the MSc, moving from specialist areas where they already have knowledge and experience to more managerial and strategic thinking position where an appreciation of how different specialisms can be integrated to provide new ways of working and new solutions to the challenges of living in cities. Our recent graduates have therefore joined global corporate organisations in project management, worked with international agencies or even formed their own companies.

Find out more on the programme.

Contact details

 Undergraduate admissions
 +44 (0)141 548 4114

 Postgraduate admissions
 +44(0)141 553 6118 / 6119


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University of Strathclyde
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