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Master of Human Settlements


The Master of Human Settlements (MaHS) addresses rapid urbanization and contemporary urban transformations within the scope of sustainable development. This intensive, one-year programme focuses on issues of housing, building and urban transformation in a context of development with scarce resources and pressing social and environmental constraints, including climate change adaptation and natural resource management. Architecture, urbanism and spatial planning are the core disciplines of the programme. The research-oriented programme rests on an inter-disciplinary and integrative approach to human settlement design and planning: it involves social sciences such as planning, urban studies and development studies, but combines these with a designerly focus coming from architecture and urbanism. This combination distinguishes the MaHS both nationally and internationally.

The MaHS aims to provide its participants with insight and skills to tackle the challenges of human settlements as related to the New Urban Agenda / Agenda 2030, and more specifically Sustainable Development Goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities. The foreseen programme 2017-21 will strengthen the South dimension of the ICP through cooperation with 4 actual partners: Wits University (South Africa); Ho Chi Minh City School of Architecture (Vietnam); University of Guayaquil (Ecuador) and Technical University of Kenya (Kenya). Additionally, the Universidade Eduarde Mondiane (Mozambique) and Birzeit University (Palestine) are envisaged partners.

The partnerships will take place according to a strategic vision that is expected to be gradually expanded in the course of a 5-year period as to actively include all South partners. The vision is that of pursuing a co-produced, research-oriented, policy-relevant cooperation grounded in a trans-diciplinary and a multi-disciplinary approach to human settlement design, where exchange and mobility between partners is as equivalent as possible. To endorse this vision a gradual intensification of activities will take place and, through common experiences, build up skills and knowledge exchange between actual partners and envisaged collaborators. As a leading strategy, the enhancement of research capacities, planning and urban design skills, and related institutional and organisational development will be enabled by means of key components such as joint design studios, co-authored publications, co-produced research seminars and publications. Student and staff mobility is foreseen for intensive fieldwork and summer schools sessions, and both alumni networking, monitoring and evaluation, and marketing events are part and parcel of the programme.

Intervention type

International Master Programme


01/03/2017 - 31/12/2021

This project is being implemented in:
Flemish promoter Viviana d'Auria
Local partner institution KU Leuven
visit www.kuleuven.be
Budget € 462.994