Our Programme

Introduction to the Programme on Sustainable Cities

The first NFI initiative is a one-year Programme on Sustainable Cities with a global view. Time is divided between lectures, research and on-site experience within selected areas and with city planners and administrators. The programme is open to graduate and postgraduate students, as well as professionals with a background in Architecture, Planning, Economics, Science, Engineering, Sociology and Anthropology, among other disciplines.

About the course

LANGUAGE                                                                     English

CAMPUS                                                                         Madrid, Spain

LENGTH                                                                          1 year

MODE OF STUDY                                                              Full Time

FORMAT                                                                          In Person

DATES                                                                             January – December

About the course

LANGUAGE                        English

CAMPUS                            Madrid, Spain

LENGTH                             1 year

MODE OF STUDY                Full Time

FORMAT                             In Person

DATES                                January – December

Stages

STAGE 1

Foundations

The first four weeks of the programme consist of an in-depth study of the concepts and processes necessary to understand a city. Through seminars by experts followed by brainstorming and round-table debate with the academic body on relevant themes and pilot cities, scholars engage with the foundations of a city.

Skill Courses

Sustainable Policies Framework
        • Sustainable Development Goals
        • Green building standards
        • EU taxonomy
Historical Research Methods
        • Archives and sources
        • Cartography
        • Global history
Leadership Skills
        • Governance
        • Ethical boundaries
        • Participatory processes

STAGE 2

Transformations

The second stage of the programme lasts for 12 weeks and is devoted to the layers of transformations of the city, essential skills and project development work. This stage culminates with preparation and visits to the cities with a focus on the scale of the neighbourhood. Scholars study and debate these issues to create a small number of well-defined project assignments in the form of Challenges and Opportunities for selected areas in each city.

Skill Courses

Urban Analytics I
        • QGIS
        • Python
        • Data preparation
        • Data modelling
        • Urban metrics
Research & Communication
        • Research methodologies & ethics
        • Archives & sources
        • Dissemination & publishing
        • Presenting
        • Mapping theory & graphics
Innovation & Entrepreneurship
        • Business models
        • Fundraising
        • Feasibility & benchmarks
        • Scaling up
        • Incubators & accelerators

STAGE 3

Interventions

The third stage of the programme focuses on the development of project proposals for selected areas and testing strategies for improvement through hands-on technical workshops and skills courses. The performance of the proposals is evaluated through three main factors of interest: Urban Infrastructure and Morphology, Human Dynamics and Environmental Dynamics.

Skill Courses

Urban Analytics II
        • Network analysis
        • Statistical aggregations
        • Data mining
        • Data visualisation
        • Evidence-based workflows
Leadership & Project Planning
        • Team management
        • Risk taking and decision making
        • Collaborative project planning
        • Agile project development
Engagement & Outreach
        • Stakeholder outreach
        • Public participation
        • Crowdfunding
        • Social media management
        • Marketing and promotion

STAGE 1

Foundations

The first four weeks of the programme consist of an in-depth study of the concepts and processes necessary to understand a city. Through seminars by experts followed by brainstorming and round-table debate with the academic body on relevant themes and pilot cities, scholars engage with the foundations of a city.

STAGE 2

Transformations

The second stage of the programme lasts for 12 weeks and is devoted to the layers of transformations of the city, essential skills and project development work. This stage culminates with preparation and visits to the cities with a focus on the scale of the neighbourhood. Scholars study and debate these issues to create a small number of well-defined project assignments in the form of Challenges and Opportunities for selected areas in each city.

STAGE 3

Interventions

The third stage of the programme focuses on the development of project proposals for selected areas and testing strategies for improvement through hands-on technical workshops and skills courses. The performance of the proposals is evaluated through three main factors of interest: Urban Infrastructure and Morphology, Human Dynamics and Environmental Dynamics.

Skill Courses

Sustainable Policies Framework
        • Sustainable Development Goals
        • Green building standards
        • EU taxonomy
Historical Research Methods
        • Archives and sources
        • Cartography
        • Global history
Leadership Skills
        • Governance
        • Ethical boundaries
        • Participatory processes

Skill Courses

Urban Analytics I
        • QGIS
        • Python
        • Data preparation
        • Data modelling
        • Urban metrics
Research & Communication
        • Research methodologies & ethics
        • Archives & sources
        • Dissemination & publishing
        • Presenting
        • Mapping theory & graphics
Innovation & Entrepreneurship
        • Business models
        • Fundraising
        • Feasibility & benchmarks
        • Scaling up
        • Incubators & accelerators

Skill Courses

Urban Analytics II
        • Network analysis
        • Statistical aggregations
        • Data mining
        • Data visualisation
        • Evidence-based workflows
Leadership & Project Planning
        • Team management
        • Risk taking and decision making
        • Collaborative project planning
        • Agile project development
Engagement & Outreach
        • Stakeholder outreach
        • Public participation
        • Crowdfunding
        • Social media management
        • Marketing and promotion

Pilot Cities 2024

Athens

Athens, a Mediterranean capital with a rich historical heritage and international significance, offers an expansive scope for study. Scholars will explore the complexities of urban development within a dense sprawling context, gaining valuable insights into sustainable strategies at the neighbourhood level that can be applied on a global scale.

Bilbao

Bilbao, a medium-sized city, presents a distinctive context for analysis. The fieldwork will allow scholars to delve into the transformation of post-industrial landscapes and explore the integration of sustainability principles with cultural revitalisation.

San Marino

San Marino, an enclaved microstate, offers a unique context comprised of conurbations. Scholars will have the opportunity to conduct in-depth analyses within a smaller scope, focusing on strategies for sustainable development in a close-knit community.

Admissions

Official Certification

The NFI provides a Master’s Degree Diploma for the Programme on Sustainable Cities, in partnership with the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid signed by the Co-Directors Norman Foster, President of the Norman Foster Foundation and Advocate of the United Nations Forum of Mayors and Kent Larson, Director of the City Science Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. Additionally, it is signed by the NFI Provost, Prof. Edgar Pieterse, Founding Director of the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, and the Rector of Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Prof. Amaya Mendikoetxea.

Application form

Download the application form – Applicants are required to submit all the required materials within the applications period.

A Selection Committee designated by the Academic Council will review the applications following excellence standards. Learn more about the different stages by downloading the application form.

Scholarship

Scholarship – The NFI awards scholarships to talented applicants in need of financial support, based on merit, distinctive competencies, background and/or academic excellence.

Admissions

Official Certification

The NFI provides a Master’s Degree Diploma for the Programme on Sustainable Cities, in partnership with the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid signed by the Co-Directors Norman Foster, President of the Norman Foster Foundation and Advocate of the United Nations Forum of Mayors and Kent Larson, Director of the City Science Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. Additionally, it is signed by the NFI Provost, Prof. Edgar Pieterse, Founding Director of the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, and the Rector of Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Prof. Amaya Mendikoetxea.

Application guidelines

Register to receive the application guidelines – Applicants are required to submit all the required materials within the applications period.

A Selection Committee designated by the Academic Council will review the applications following excellence standards. Learn more about the different stages by downloading the application form.

Scholarship

The NFI awards scholarships to talented applicants in need of financial support, based on merit, distinctive competencies, background and/or academic excellence.

Contact us

Register here

Apply for a Scholarship

Academic Council

Norman Foster

Kent Larson

Edgar Pieterse

Dava Newman

Alejandro Aravena

Deborah Berke

Shigeru Ban

Vishaan Chakrabarti

Beatriz Corredor

Oscar Fanjul

Elena Foster

Ian Goldin

Francis Kéré

José María Michavila

Academic Chairs

Luis M. A. Bettencourt

Frédérick Bordry

Laila Iskandar

Mitchell Joachim

Sarah Kenderdine

Peter B. de Menocal

Hans Ulrich Obrist

Gil Penalosa

Stuart Smith

Tim Stonor

Maria Vassilakou

Joseph G. Allen

Full Academic Body List