Graphic: ETH Architecture of Territory and Goda Budvytytė, 2021.
Urban and territorial design has acquired a new meaning and urgency. From drivers of progress to the source of planetary hazards, the impacts of cities and wider urbanisation processes are being recast in the public sphere. The critical examination of anthropocentric world views, the proposed politics of a Green New Deal, growing social movements and climate activism are reflected directly in urban and territorial space, highlighting power asymmetries and fuelling the exploration of alternatives. The imminent future of the urban engages social and environmental imaginaries, which now extend beyond-the-city and beyond-the-human. In this context, urban and territorial design serves as a crucial field of synthesis, inspiring and negotiating change in science, practice and governance. The design of the territorial project is understood as a possibility through which to explore common epistemic horizons and new biopolitical paradigms.
The new MAS programme embraces the ecological and socio-economic transition as a field of critical and imaginative investigation. Engaging with notions of transformation, reuse, regeneration, reparation, and transition of habitats and ecologies, the MAS will deploy the urban and territorial project as the crucial field of knowledge production across scales.
The new joint Master of Advanced Studies at the ETH Zurich and EPFL aims to build an innovative urban and territorial design education addressing social and environmental challenges both within the city-territory and across wider landscapes.
Design and research studios form the core of the programme. Design will be explored as a tool for synthesis in an expanded field of inter- and transdisciplinary exchange. The curriculum therefore extends beyond the traditional scope of urban design teaching, to include both emerging developments in urban theory and a deeper understanding of the cultural and ecological dimensions of territories. Scientific research on planetary urbanisation, postcolonial thought and the Anthropocene will be engaged in relation to urban design, landscape architecture, urban and landscape ecology, in particular agroecology, sustainable construction, and low carbon mobility.
The MAS will serve as a laboratory and a forum where we propose agendas, design strategies and governance models for concrete territories. Both Swiss and international case studies will be investigated with intensive, ethnographic explorations and in situ workshops. The studies will engage in dialogue with supporting communities, local actors, NGOs and governance bodies.
The MAS in Urban and Territorial Design requires one year of full-time postgraduate study for a 60 ECTS joint degree, the “MAS ETH EPF UTD”. It is taught in English and held at the two Swiss schools, EPFL (Autumn) and ETH Zurich (Spring).