Education

The future of cities requires multidisciplinary expertise

Kestävä kaupunkikehitys
In the autumn of 2020, the first students in the new international and multidisciplinary Bachelor’s Degree Programme in Sustainable Urban Development will start at Tampere University. Because urbanisation is accelerating across the world, the programme organised jointly by three faculties has its finger on the pulse.

The Bachelor’s Degree Programme in Sustainable Urban Development combines expertise on urban development in the fields of built environment and social and administrative sciences. The first 40 students in the new Bachelor’s degree programme will start in the autumn of 2020.

“Urban planning is taught by many universities, but our multidisciplinary approach that concentrates on sustainability is something new,” says Dean Antti Lönnqvist from the Faculty of Built Environment.

Experts in sustainable urban development are needed more than ever.

“Urbanisation is gaining speed and the related challenges, such as pollution and safety issues, are rapidly increasing. Finland is a good place for international education in this field because we are some sort of a model country, for example, in terms of clean environment,” Lönnqvist says.

Access to real life development projects

In addition to multidisciplinarity, the Bachelor’s Degree Programme in Sustainable Urban Development also offers a new way of learning. Each year, the students will get involved in real urban development projects organised in collaboration with businesses and the City of Tampere.

“The studies make use, for example, of the Hiedanranta area in Tampere as a real-world urban laboratory. Hiedaranta provides an excellent testbed for seeking solutions to such issues as smart and sustainable housing, energy use, and transport, among other things,” Lönnqvist continues.

Students choose their specialisation – built environment, social sciences or administrative sciences – already at the application phase, but most of the studies are common to all students. After completing the Bachelor’s degree, the students may automatically continue in the master’s degree studies if they wish.

Tampere University invests in expertise

Urban planning has already been researched at Tampere University and its predecessors for a long time. The university employs dozens of researchers in different faculties who are interested in urban development. To support their collaboration, the University established the Tampere Urban Research Network (TURN) in the spring of 2019 to bring together research expertise in the field.

“One example of research is the recently concluded Agile Cities project that created novel participatory practices to be used in the development of cities,” Lönnqvist says.

The group of experts will grow by three university lecturers whom Tampere University will recruit in each participating faculty at the end of 2019.

“The Sustainable Urban Development programme is a great example of the direction the new Tampere University is taking. We are boldly tackling global societal challenges by pooling talent across faculty boundaries,” Antti Lönnqvist says.

Text: Sanna Kähkönen
Photo: Jonne Renvall