MAsters programme

How does urban design work in unstable social and economic contexts? Why do developing countries need city transformations? What are most advanced methods for urban design?

In 2016-2018 Strelka Institute ran a joint Masters programme in Advanced Urban Design with HSE Graduate School of Urbanism, which was aimed at the next generation of Urban Designers, combining the best of the Russian Academia and the cutting-edge experimental project-based education.

Anastassia Smirnova, Programming Director for MA in Advanced Urban Design

Anastassia Smirnova, Programming Director for MA in Advanced Urban Design

The MA is based on Strelka Institute’s five-year experience in experimental education and embraces best interdisciplinary and international learning practices in urban design. In this two-year programme students explored ongoing dynamic urban growth in unstable economic contexts and study advanced urban design methods.

The programme introduced students to the contemporary European and American design theory and practices, while at the same time offering operational toolkits for application of this knowledge in the new markets. It helps to understand the specificity of research and design work in highly volatile conditions of the cities in Russia, South Africa and the CIS, providing competencies beyond traditional urbanism.

The programme offers unique expertise in doing projects and research in developing countries and economies in transition – places where most urbanization and suburbanization is happening nowadays. By studying Russian cities, students have an opportunity to explore key patterns of urbanization traceable in cities of similar unstable contexts. This allows them to get experience of integrative planning in situations when all systems of urban governance and regulation are going through continuous and not always logical transformation.

The program is directed by Anastassia Smirnova, who served as Strelka’s Programming Director in 2012-2015.

The working language of the programme is English.

Masters programme in Advanced Urban Design offers:

  • Strong emphasis on critical, conceptual, and design thinking.
  • Working environment of an interdisciplinary ‘lab’ for young architects, designers, sociologists, economists, data analysts, journalists, learning to effectively work in teams.
  • Pioneering “Research-Based Design” methodology created and tested at the Strelka Institute.
  • Unique courses tailored for the new demands of contemporary urban theory and the next practices.
  • Project modules with innovative briefs developed in collaboration with cultural organisations, developers and city administrations.
  • Team of tutors from the best world universities and practitioners of leading international firms from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Russia.
  • Access to the vast network of experts and clients of both the Strelka Institute and the HSE University Russia.
  • Unique competences: the programme is developed with participation of European experts, however it does not only focus on understanding of western urban practices, but also towards working in unstable, unpredictable contexts of development economies, in particular Russia, countries in Asia and South Africa.
  • Internships in leading Russian and European organisations and institutions, working in the fields of architecture, urbanism, information technology and design.
  • Prospects of working in international architectural offices, state and private consulting and design offices, big development and investment companies as well as city administrations.

To find out more about the programme, please go to the programme website.