The master's programme urban future offers students from different disciplinary backgrounds the opportunity to study urban transformation processes in an inter- and transdisciplinary way. You will acquire the necessary subject-specific and interdisciplinary skills and knowledge that will enable you to work independently, scientifically, creatively and interdisciplinarily, to critically reflect on scientific findings and to act responsibly in the context of urban transformation processes. In each academic year, there is a specific cohort topic on which in-depth content-related knowledge and contacts in research-based practice are established.
Urban Futures (MA)
With regard to disciplinary specialisation, three thematic specialisations are offered that describe central aspects of urban systems and focus on the design of spatial, social, infrastructural, cultural and aesthetic processes and structures – each from a different perspective: the built, social and digital city.
- Sustainable infrastructures
- Sustainable neighbourhood development
- Urban metabolism
- Demographic change, heterogeneity and social inequality
- Participation and active shaping of transformation processes
- Attitudinal and behavioural change
- Analysis and visualisation of urban data
- Digital transformation in media, culture and economy
- Algorithmic ethics and responsibility
Study the city of tomorrow
The transformation of urban spaces into sustainable structures is one of the great challenges of our time. This transformation encompasses ecological, spatial, structural, social, cultural, design, infrastructural, technological and economic aspects equally and interdependently, for whose challenges there are no simple and sectoral solutions. The research-oriented master's programme urban futures enables you to think in a networked manner and to work in an interdisciplinary manner, to tap your creativity and innovation potential and to acquire profound knowledge and contacts for research-based practice.
Video Urban Futures
The major challenges of sustainable urban development include demographic change, climate protection strategies, measures as a result of social segregation, participation processes and big data in the context of urban infrastructure (smart cities). The master's degree in urban futures provides the technical and methodological competences required to carry out well-founded analyses of these tasks and to develop integral solutions.
Is this degree programme right for me?
In the master's programme, you will be enabled to think in a networked manner in the context of urban development and to work in an interdisciplinary manner, as well as to tap into your creativity and innovation potential. You will be provided with profound knowledge and contacts in research practice. The variety of content-related and methodological topics and questions inherent in the complexity of the topic of "Urban Future" cannot be fully covered in a four-semester master's programme. This makes it all the more important to practise an attitude of lifelong research-based learning during the degree programme in order to be able to move competently in the worldwide and constantly changing range of knowledge.
You bring these qualities with you
- Interested in research and engagement with building, social science or information technology issues in the bachelor's degree programme
- Interest in creative activity
- Analytical and conceptual way of thinking
- Independence, communication, organisational and team skills
This list is intended to help you answer the most frequently asked questions about our master's programme urban futures. If you have any further questions, please feel free to send us a personal request via the e-mail address email@example.com. We will answer you as soon as possible.
The master urban futures is not a degree programme where the classical qualifications for urban and regional planning are taught. The focus is on inter- and transdisciplinary project work, but not on urban planning or urban design as is usually the case in planning degree programmes. We deal with the diverse questions of sustainable urban development in an interdisciplinary way. The article "Learning Transformation" describes the intentions, methods and teaching formats of the study programme in more detail.
The composition of the master's programme is interdisciplinary: About half of the 20 places in each year are allocated to students with a background in planning and design, natural sciences and technology, and the other half to students with a background in cultural and social sciences. In concrete terms, these are mainly geographers, urban and regional planners, architects, cultural and social scientists, political scientists, designers, media and communication scientists, psychologists, economists, but also cultural work, social work, information and library sciences, art history, choreography are represented disciplines – if there is a strong interest in the city and interdisciplinary work.
In the master's programme, a distinction is made between compulsory and elective subjects. The programme is designed so that the compulsory courses take place from tuesday to thursday. On mondays and fridays, as well as in the peripheral periods, there is the possibility to take elective subjects, to prepare for and follow up on courses, for self-study and for part-time work.
Further information on the study structure, the study and examination regulations and the module regulations
The master's degree programme offers plenty of scope for deepening individual study interests within the framework of the electives. In addition to the electives at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam (practically from all degree programmes), you can also attend courses at other universities and receive credit. Furthermore, MOOCs or "special forms" (such as summer schools, etc.) are possible course variants.
Since the introduction of the master's programme in the winter semester of 2016, we have seen a steady increase in demand. In the last two years, we have had between 90 and almost 120 applicants for every 20 places. Since the selection for the admission procedure is based on the bachelor's grade and the application letter, no clear NC can be determined for admission. If you are interested, we recommend that you apply regardless of your grade point average.
Get all important information on the application procedure.
The aim of the research internship in the third semester (module 9 with a scope of 20 ECTS credit points or 600 working hours) is to gain practical experience with organisational structures and operational processes in the internship institution and to work on complex research questions in the context of urban transformation processes. With a qualified secondary activity, the intended qualification goals can also be achieved during the course of study; crediting of secondary activities for the research internship is therefore possible upon application. In order to avoid a time overload, other study achievements may then have to be completed in deviation from the planned regular course of studies.
The colleagues at the student counselling service provide information to prospective students, first-year students, parents, teachers and students on all general questions about the degree programme. If you have specific questions or concerns about the master's programme urban futures, please contact the subject counselling service.
You will be trained to conduct inter- and transdisciplinary research into visions of the future so that you can develop complex approaches to solutions for sustainable urban development in the context of building and housing, technical infrastructure and mobility, as well as demography and social structure. The competent use of data spaces and visualisations and other digital research methods is a central cross-cutting theme in all of the above-mentioned subject areas.
Extensive research projects and development projects are created in cooperation with practical partners from the economy, municipal administrations and scientific institutions. These enable a research-oriented study structure and direct participation in research and development processes within the framework of the study projects, internships and master's theses.
The concept of a transformation manager who works as an interface communicator, especially in the field of urban development and in the communication of political and social institutions or associations, serves as a model.
Possible areas of application
- Companies and institutions whose task is the production, design and mediation of urban living spaces, such as consulting companies, interface and communication design, research and development in the field of human-machine interfaces as well as cultural work, media and communication, marketing and tourism.
- International companies with a service portfolio for urban services and infrastructures
- International organisations
- Access to management positions and higher service
The entitlement to a doctorate also opens the way to an academic career, e.g. in university or non-university research and teaching.
Course of studies
The standard period of study for the full-time degree programme urban futures is four semesters and concludes with a master of arts degree. The study plan gives you a detailed overview.
|Semester 1||Visions of urban futures, city as a complex system, methods, electives|
|Semester 2||Inter- and transdisciplinary project, methods, electives|
|Semester 3||Research internship, electives|
|Semester 4||Master's thesis and colloquium|
In the master's degree programme urban futures, you will study with a high project component, which serves to translate and further develop the state of research taught in the degree programme into feasible concepts for urban problems in a practical manner. The focus is on promoting methodological competence while taking disciplinary in-depth studies into account.
In the currently valid module handbooks, study and examination regulations and statutes of the urban futures degree programme, you will find the module overview, a detailed description of the modules and study contents, the study plan as well as the statutes for the implementation of the university selection procedure for the master's degree programme urban futures.
- Visions of urban futures
- System City
- Reading Group
- Data Science
- Inter- and transdisciplinary project
- Project and Change Management
- Modelling of Complex Systems
- Individualised study (electives)
In cooperation with municipal and city-related partners and under the supervision of lecturers, you will carry out a practice-oriented research internship of 560 hours.
- Master's thesis and colloquium with accompanying supervision
Results from the urban futures degree programme (selection)
- David Anmacher: Postkoloniale Perspektiven auf Verdrängung in Berlin
- Dirk Heider: Innovation in der Verwaltung
- Elise Rebien: Zu teuer, zu wenig, zu Hause in Berlin. Eine systemische Analyse zur Politik des bezahlbaren Wohnungsbaus in Berlin
- Martin Parlow: Willkommen in Brandenburg? Über Wohnraumreserven im Land Brandenburg und deren Zugänglichkeit für Berliner Wohnungslose
- Annekathrin Bake: Wohnflächenkonsum der Zukunft – Szenarioanalyse richtungsweisender Zusammenhänge
- Anne-Liese Lammich: Beteiligungskultur in Klein- und Mittelstädten
- Annika Weseloh: Alles nur Schall und Rauch? Eine Szenariostudie zu Entwicklungspfaden einer produktiven Stadt Potsdam
- Carol-Andrea Yousseu: Entschärfung des Berliner Wohnungsmarkts durch Baulandmobilisierung
- Chantal Schöpp: Zirkuläre Stadtquartiere 2040 - Was wäre, wenn sich Stadtquartiere 2040 an den Prinzipien der Circular Economy ausrichten würden? Welche Planungsvarianten ergeben sich daraus?
- Claas Fritzsche: Klänge des urbanen Alltags. Der Soundscape-Ansatz zur Bewertung von Qualitäten öffentlicher, urbaner Räume
- David Siedke: Institutionalisierung informeller Bürgerbeteiligung – eine Bestandsaufnahme
- Dominik Berton: ( Re-) Arranging parking spaces – Transformationspotentiale von Parkflächen
- Ilka von Eynern: Hast Du Platz in Potsdam? Ein bedarfsorientiertes Konzept zur Beteiligung junger Menschen an der Innenstadtentwicklung in Potsdam
- Jill Ann Theobald: Zirkuläre Quartiersentwicklung – Herausforderungen und Lösungsansätze für die zirkuläre Gestaltung von Neubauquartieren
- Ken Dornberger: Die Straße der Zukunft jetzt gestalten – ein Quick-Check zur Neugestaltung und nachhaltigen Transformation öffentlicher städtischer Straßenräume im Bestand
- Kyra Wohlgemuth: Gesundheitheitsfördernde Stadtentwicklung auf der Mierendorffinsel in Berlin
- Laura Koch: ( Re-) Arranging parking spaces – Transformationspotentiale von Parkflächen
- Laura van Altena: Die Pandemie als Ideenmotor für Beteiligungsprozesse in der integrierten Stadtentwicklung
- Lena Blüggel: Die Transformation von urbanen Shopping Malls
- Max Tristram: Realexperimente als Werkzeug der Stadtplanung: Vitalisierung von öffentlichen Räumen in Innenstädten
- Nils Kaltenpoth: Systemwandel in der strategischen Planung
- Oseanne Blech: Entrepreneurs and the smart city – An ambigiuous relationship
- Paulina von Kietzell: Gestaltung von Innovationsökosystemen für die nachhaltige digitale Transformation im ländlichen Raum am Beispiel des 'Modellprojekt Smart City Bad Belzig/Wiesenburg'
- Sophia Lenz: Gendergerechte Stadtplanung im Lehrplan deutscher Hochschulen. Analyse zum Status Quo der Lehre von gendergerechter Planung
- Thomas Haas: Beschleunigte Landschaften – Zum Zustand peripherer Räume im urbanen Metabolismus
- Yulia Aster: Visuelles Storytelling als Kommunikationsmethode für Transformationsprozesse im urbanen Raum
- Beatrix Unger: Reallabor als Beteiligungsinfrastruktur in der nachhaltigen Stadtentwicklung – Die Initiative Lokallabor Dudenschänke
- Constantin Dubyk: Evaluierung von Modulen und Funktionen einer kollaborativen Arbeitssoftware mit dem Ziel einer gesteigerten Gruppenkohäsion in virtuellen Teams.
- Cornelius Dauer: Urban Gardening als Beitrag zu einer nachhaltigen Quartiersentwicklung
- Elise Werner: Zukunftsbilder zur Transformation der Mensch-Natur-Beziehung. Ein systematisches Review
- Fabian Rösch: Wie kann Crowd Shipping vor dem Hintergrund der dortigen Anforderungen und Probleme sinnvoll in ländlichen Räumen etabliert werden?
- Falko Boek: Herausforderungen und Potenziale bei der Umsetzung des Onlinezugangsgesetzes auf kommunaler Ebene. Roadmap für ausgewählte Modellkommunen in Brandenburg
- Felix Jaekel: Auswirkungen der geplanten Klimaneutralität 2050 auf Offstreet-Mobilitätsinfrastruktur in Moabit
- Fidel Thomet: Here, everything is still possible – a design fiction approach to explore futures of non-places
- Franziska Schmidt: Grünräume in Berlin und Umland. Eine Analyse der stadtübergreifenden Entwicklungen aus historischer und zukünftiger Perspektive.
- Iva Radic-Capuani: Healing Gardens as a concept for rethinking post-pandemic public spaces
- Jana Schelte: Akzeptanz von & Erfolgsfaktoren für Mieterstromprojekte am Beispiel der Gartenstadt Drewitz (Potsdam)
- Johanna Bröckel: Reallabor als Beteiligungsinfrastruktur in der nachhaltigen Stadtentwicklung – Die Initiative Lokallabor Dudenschänke
- Judith Lenz: Generationsübergreifende Projektentwicklung in schrumpfenden Städten für eine nachhaltige Bildung
- Krista Smathers: Entwicklungsstrategien für erschwinglichen Wohnraum in Sanierungsvierteln. Eine Vergleichsstudie zu Projekten in Deutschland und den USA
- Kristin Bauer: Potenziale von Zukunftsforschungsmethoden in der
- Léonie-Anne Schwöbel: Die öffentliche Toilette
- Lotte Langer: Eine Szenarioanalyse zur Wirksamkeit von urban citizienships/IDs auf Partizipationsmöglichkeiten
- Marie-Ann Koch: E-Partizipation – Eine Lösung der Ressourcendilemmata? Eine Untersuchung am Beispiel der Kinder- und Jugendbeteiligung in Potsdam
- Meike Ortmanns: Der Zusammenhang von psychischer und urbaner Resilienz
- Merle Leisner: Die öffentliche Toilette
- Mina Mahmoodian Esfahani: Safe Space im Kontext emanzipatorischer Raumpraxis
am Beispiel vom Schumacher Club in Bochum
- Mohamed Saleh: Chatbot im öffentlichen Sektor
- Mohial-Dean Mansoor: Wie könnte eine rassismuskritische Behörde aussehen?
- Regina Schröter: Welche Rolle spielt Coworking als Arbeitswelt in der Zukunft?
- Thora Weidling: Großwohnsiedlungen als problembehaftetes Erbe der Nachkriegszeit – Die Wirksamkeit der Städte – Bauförderungsprogramme im Hamburger Quartier "Mümmelmannsberg"
- Tobias Schmidt: Reallabor als Beteiligungsinfrastruktur in der nachhaltigen Stadtentwicklung – Die Initiative Lokallabor Dudenschänke
- Anika Lenk: Identifikation und Untersuchung der sozialen Akzeptanz von Flugtaxis im Personenverkehr in Deutschland anhand einer empirischen Studie
- Caroline Zygmunt: Radverkehrsqualität im Berliner Planungsraum Boxhagener Platz.
- Catherine Eckenbach: Visionen einer nachhaltigen Welt entwerfen: über die Rolle ästhetischer Praxis bei der Erarbeitung konkreter Utopien
- Daniel Almgren Recén: Urban Trees in Berlin – Challenges and potentials in a changing climate.
- Fabian Fleckenstein: Interkulturelles ökologisches Wohn- und Lernhaus in ressourcenpositiver Bauweise
- Jana Lohmann: Treiber und Barrieren für die Inanspruchnahme von E-Scootern durch weibliche Nutzerinnen
- Marie Vogelmann: Entwicklung eines neuartigen Kreativkonzeptes zur Unterstützung des eigenständigen Erlernens moderner Fertigungstechniken
- Martina Dreßelt: Inside sheltered walkways - Deriving the Urban Futures. A Transformative Research Study on Human Mobility and Spatial Perception in Singapore’s Public Housing Estates
- Nele Trautwein: Relevanz und Umsetzung stadtplanerischer Leitbilder am Beispiel des Leitbilds der Gartenstadt des 21. Jahrhunderts für die Neuen Stadtquartiere Berlins.
- Pascal Schwerk: Agentenbasierte Modellierung eines Bikesharing-Angebots im suburbanen Raum. Eine praktische Modellentwicklung am Beispiel Luckenwaldes.
- Susanne Helm: Urbane Klimagovernance in der Landeshauptstadt Potsdam
- Valentina Troendle: Eine webbasierte Wissensplattform als Artefakt gesellschaftlicher Transformation und Grenzobjekt der Stadt-Land-Integration?
- Clara Guigas: #bikingberlin. Entwurf einer datenbasierten Social Marketing Kampagnenstrategie zur Förderung von Fahrradmobilität in Berlin.
- Felix Grünziger: Sozial-ökologische Transformation der Ernährungswirtschaft im Kontext eines digitalen Social Impact Start-ups – Wie lassen sich Nachhaltigkeitsziele im Bereich des biologischen Obst- und Gemüsehandels am Beispiel der Querfeld GmbH identifizieren und operationalisieren?
- Ilya Alexander Yacine: Digitale Formen der Kollaboration. Eine Vergleichsanalyse von physisch und digital organisierten Projektinitiativen.
- Janik Fechner: Partizipationsprozesse in der Entwicklung städtischer Quartiere – Auswirkungen von partizipativ gestalteten Stadtentwicklungsprozessen auf urbane Qualität.
- Julia Ullrich: Berufsfelder im Kontext zukünftiger Arbeitswelten – Am Beispiel des Innovationsclusters Verkehr, Mobilität und Logistik.
- Katharina Mayer: Welche Perspektive bietet die Genossenschaft sozialer Träger in der wachsenden Stadt Berlin bei der sozialen Wohnraumversorgung marginalisierter Gruppen?
- Marius Wittmann: Strategien urbaner Bodensicherungssysteme. Exploration innovativer Instrumente.
- Michael Schmidt: Berufsorientierung 4.0 – Anforderungen, Handlungsbedarf und Entwicklungspotenziale der schulischen Berufsorientierung im Kontext der Arbeitswelt von morgen am Beispiel von Berlin
- Nadine Neidel: E-Partizipation – Welchen Einfluss haben neue Beteiligungsmodelle auf Bürgerbeteiligungsprozesse?
- Nathalie Wachotsch: Perspektiven queerer älterer Menschen auf den (Stadt-) Raum.
- Nicolas Moegelin: Developing a business model for a Clean Air to Market concept.
- Nicole Hengesbach: A Matter of Place? – Unpacking an Air Quality Data Assemblage.
- Sarah Krebs: Vertikale Landwirtschaft im urbanen Raum – Chancen und Grenzen – Welche Projekte können hier als Vorbild dienen?
- Selim Guelbas: Potentiale von autoarmen / autofreien Stadtquartieren
- Tobias Kauer: tales of a street - Mixed-Methods Mapping of Local Knowledge.
- Julie Zwoch: Moralisches Framing in der Diskussion über Mobilität der Zukunft
- Sebastian Gütte: Kommunikation von Energie- und Stoffströmen als Werkzeug für einen nachhaltigen Umgang mit Ressourcen.
- Sonja Spital: Wohnen und Resilienz – Cluster-Wohnungen als eine Antwort auf Herausforderungen des Wohnens.
- Band 1
Prytula, M. & Schröder, T. (Hrsg.) (2018). Städtische Transformationsprozesse. Studentische Forschung Urbane Zukunft 1. Potsdam. Verlag der Fachhochschule Potsdam. ISBN: 978-3-934329-94-2
- Band 2
Dörk, M. & Schröder, T. (Hrsg.) (2019). Städte der Zukunft modellieren, visualisieren, transformieren: Das Beispiel Eberswalde. Studentische Forschung Urbane Zukunft 2. Potsdam. Verlag der Fachhochschule Potsdam. ISBN: 978-3-947796-02-1
- Band 3
Schröder, T., Heidmann, F., Prytula, M. (Hrsg.) (2020): Gleich und doch verschieden: Herausforderungen an Städte im internationalen Vergleich. Studentische Forschung Urbane Zukunft 3. Potsdam. Verlag der Fachhochschule Potsdam. ISBN 978-3-947796-04-5
- Band 4
Martini, A.; Prytula, M. (Hrsg.) (2021). Resilienz urbaner Quartiere. Studentische Forschung Urbane Zukunft Band 4. Potsdam. Fachhochschule Potsdam. ISBN 978-3-947796-07-6
Mapping Cities - Making Cities.
Results from interdisciplinary project courses in which students from Urban Future and Interface Design dedicate themselves to the visual analysis and communication of urban data.
Building Social Ecology
Building Social Ecology is a documentation of social-ecological building projects and typical design elements that occur in these projects. We have identified typical design patterns that can be found frequently and in different forms in the projects. The method is based on the "Pattern Language" (Alexander et al. 1977), which aims to be a tool for planning and designing living cities, buildings and constructions. This documentation was produced as part of the DBU-funded research project "Centrum für Metropolinnovation Bratislava" (06/2020 - 03/2022), for which, among other things, already realised social and ecological examples were analysed.
Research projectsMore projects
On the pages of the CITY | BUILDING | CULTURE department you will find further useful information and documents on the degree programme, for example on the organisation of the degree programme, the course catalogue and the research internship. Furthermore, current projects of the degree programme are presented there.
Year topic 2022/2023
Smart City Potsdam
Smart cities are usually cities that enable intelligent networking of different areas of life and infrastructure sectors through the ubiquitous use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in order to achieve a higher quality of life and an increase in energy and resource efficiency. [i]
Innovations in technical infrastructures have always had a major impact on urban development processes and urban lifestyles. For example, developments in urban water management, energy supply or communication systems since the mid-19th century have led to new working, mobility and consumption patterns and resource regimes. The new information and communication technologies are the basis of many current technical, cultural and social developments, such as smart homes, new work, platform economies or Industry 4.0.
In July 2021, the state capital Potsdam was selected by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Construction and Home Affairs in the funding programme "Model Projects Smart Cities" [ii] with the application "Smart City Potsdam - Innovativ. Green. Just. Together we create a sustainable city for tomorrow!" [iii] was selected for funding together with 27 other cities.
The state capital intends to use the funding to,
- use the opportunities of digitalisation for the provision of public services,
- counteract climate change and
- expanding the opportunities for Potsdam residents to participate. [iv]
In this cohort, we are using the example of Smart City Potsdam to examine how municipalities can use digitalisation for sustainable, integrated and public welfare-oriented urban development, what opportunities and potential are associated with it, but also what challenges the digital transformation poses for municipalities.
What characterises a smart city and what effects can be expected from the use of innovative technologies on urban lifestyles, planning processes, urban development and urban form and the participation strategies underlying these activities? Based on extensive research on smart city strategies in various cities, small working groups will examine the actor networks, strategies and planned implementation measures in Potsdam in dialogue with the actors and develop visionary, practicable and strategic approaches to solutions in a project.
will be developed.
[i] BBSR, BMI (2021): Smart City Charta. Digitale Transformation in den Kommunen nachhaltig gestalten. (22.02.2022).
[ii] BMWSB: Smart City Dialog, (o.D.), www.smart-city-dialog.de/ (22.02.2022).
[iii] LH Potsdam: Potsdam wird Smart City-Modellkommune, (o.D.), www.potsdam.de/potsdam-wird-smart-city-modellkommune (22.02.2022).
[iv] Vgl.: LH Potsdam: Potsdam wird Smart City Modellkommune. (o.D.).
Doing well by doing good: Entrepreneurial strategies for a sustainable society
In the next generation, humanity must move from an economic model in which natural resources are consumed to one in which economic activity is integrated into natural material cycles. In the long term, prosperity must not come at the expense of the regenerative capacity of natural resources.
At the same time, large parts of humanity still live in inadequate conditions (despite all the progress made in the fight against poverty). Around 700 million people alone have no access to electric light; worldwide, the median income is barely more than 200 euros per month per person. Against this background, it is important that all people and countries have the right to (economic) development, similar to what the West enjoyed in the first wave of industrialisation. We are therefore faced with the challenge of improving global economic conditions quickly and massively, while at the same time reducing resource consumption just as quickly and massively.
What is the role of private companies in this? On the one hand, private enterprise has historically proven to be an effective and fast social mechanism to generate as much wealth as quickly as possible. On the other hand, private companies (especially in the discourse of Western societies) often have to accept the reproach that their pursuit of profit comes at the expense of ecological responsibility. The realisation that companies must actively face up to the challenges of climate change is also increasingly gaining acceptance among corporate leaders, such as Larry Fink: The CEO of the asset manager Blackrock, and thus responsible for over 8.6 trillion dollars of investors' money, is calling for "responsible and transparent capitalism" (Letter to CEOs 2020).
A whole series of renowned non-fiction authors have dealt with the constructive role of companies in the climate crisis - with encouraging results, e.g. Bill Gates, Andrew McAfee or Steven Pinker. A lot of hope is placed on start-ups, as for example Google's recently launched start-up accelerator programme for "Climate Change" shows.
In this context, questions such as the following are the focus of the projects in the upcoming Master's programme Urban Future: What responsibility do companies bear for the necessary ecological turnaround? Can the tension between the pursuit of profit and the common good be resolved? Or does the following still apply in the 21st century: "The business of business is doing business" (Milton Friedman), so that ecological issues are the sole responsibility of the state.
From a business perspective: What are the strategic consequences of the discourse and global political action on sustainability for business activities? What risks arise from future environmental regulation (e.g. bans on technologies such as combustion engines), taxation (e.g. CO2 taxation), liability rules (e.g. supply chain law) or public discourse (e.g. loss of reputation in social media)? Conversely, what opportunities arise from new markets (e.g. state-generated demand or changing consumer awareness)?
Finally, on a very practical level: Can we develop our own ideas for the promising foundation of our own companies, which with their business model contribute to solving the global social and ecological problems of the 21st century, but also generate a good income?
The master's programme urban futures will work closely with the FHP Entrepreneurship School & Gründungsservice on this year's topic, a project of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam to train entrepreneurial skills and support start-ups from within the university.
Living Labs for the 2,000-watt society
„Wir sind dran. Was wir ändern müssen, wenn wir bleiben wollen“ ("Our turn. What we need to change if we want to stay"). The title of the latest book by Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker and Anders Wijkman once again highlights current perspectives and requirements for action for a sustainable society.  In 30 years, all energy production in Germany should be nearly CO2-neutral in order to contribute to meeting the global challenges of climate change and resource conservation. The transition to a CO2-neutral society requires not only technological innovations and a huge restructuring of urban (infrastructure) systems, but above all sustainable lifestyles. This touches on all questions of living and working, mobility and consumption behaviour, nutrition and food production. In Switzerland, the concept of the 2,000-watt society was developed more than 20 years ago.
A maximum average energy output of max. 2,000 watts per inhabitant is defined as the target for a sustainable society. Many Swiss municipalities have now made this concept the guiding principle of their urban development.  Since the food sector alone, through the production, processing and distribution of food, consumes about 800 watts, more than a third of the targeted energy budget, it is clear how ambitious the formulated guiding principle is. In addition to the 2,000-watt society, we will also deal with other models of sustainable development such as „Der globale Green New Deal“ ("The Global Green New Deal")  or "Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives (ZERI)"  as well as with methods for environmental assessment. Building on these foundations, we develop concepts for living labs (real labs) in the context of current neighbourhood developments and investigate which strategies, measures and transformation processes are required to achieve these goals. An excursion to Switzerland is planned for the beginning of the second semester in April 2021 to visit model projects.
 Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Anders Wijkman (2017): Wir sind dran. Club of Rome: Der große Bericht. Was wir ändern müssen, wenn wir bleiben wollen. Eine neue Aufklärung für eine volle Welt.
 2000-Watt-Areal, www.2000watt.swiss
 Jeremy Rifkin (2019): Der globale Green New Deal. Warum die fossil befeuerte Zivilisation um 2028 kollabiert – und ein kühner ökonomischer Plan das Leben auf der Erde retten kann.
 Gunter Pauli (2009/12): The Blue Economy. www.zeri.org
Resilience and transformation of urban systems
Whether it is global warming, demographic change, digitalisation processes, the future of work or the further development of technical infrastructure systems - when it comes to adapting to change and shaping transformation processes towards a sustainable society, a concept for explaining the development dynamics of complex systems has gained in importance: Resilience. Resilience refers to the ability of a complex system to return to its initial state or to establish a new system state that even exhibits improved system behaviour compared to the initial state, despite strong external disturbances. Understood in this way, resilience includes a system's inherent ability to learn and develop. In recent years, resilience has become a key concept in the discourse on sustainable urban development. While resilience is sometimes referred to as the "new sustainability", there is also criticism of the concept's theoretical vagueness and lack of practical relevance.
Using concrete examples of urban and neighbourhood development, we examine what the concept of resilience can achieve in theory and practice. How must smart and liveable neighbourhoods in the 21st century be structured in order to meet the requirements for a regenerative energy supply, sustainable mobility, local climate adaptation, social cohesion and other pressing issues? What role will digital platforms play in the planning and management of neighbourhoods in the future? Can participatory planning processes, the sharing economy, new forms of communal living or community gardens make a significant contribution to neighbourhood development? And how must transformation processes be designed to achieve these goals? The focus of our research is Berlin, which with the planned Urban Tech Republic at today's Tegel Airport, the New Garden Field and many other neighbourhood developments is already a real laboratory of urban innovations and an arena of social debate. At the beginning of the second semester (April 2020), an excursion to the Netherlands is planned to inform us about international positions on the topic of sustainable neighbourhood development and resilience.
Smart Cities interculturally: Europe vs. East Asia
The vision of "smart cities" is associated with hopes of finding better solutions to the pressing problems of cities by using new digital technologies. These include the urgent need to reduce resource consumption and adapt to climate change, smarter forms of mobility, but also issues of social division and demographic change.
While the discourse on smart cities and sustainability is a global one and cities worldwide face similar challenges in principle, cultural and historical factors as well as different institutional conditions influence the respective regional perspective on urban futures. Using the example of European and East Asian cities (e.g. in the People's Republic of China, Taiwan or Japan), questions such as the following are the focus of the projects in the upcoming year of the Master's programme:
What are the commonalities and differences of perceived urban future challenges and visions? How do usage habits and assessments of smart city concepts differ in different regions of the world? How do different attitudes, e.g. regarding privacy and data security, influence the design of digital services and digital governance? What is the general openness towards new technologies, sustainability paradigms, consumer orientation, participation, etc.? How can productive and respectful global discourses on the future and development strategies be developed in the face of differing local needs, values and moral systems in different societies? What is the significance of path dependencies (e.g. the organically grown European city vs. centrally planned new smart cities in East Asia) for the design of sustainable cities?
The core of the thematic examination of the topic will be an exchange with lecturers and students from the National Taipei University of Technology (Taipei Tech) in Taiwan, which cooperates with the FHP. A 2-week excursion is planned for May or June 2019 with a visit to the Pearl River Delta (Hong Kong, Guangzhou), a workshop week at Taipei Tech together with students there and a visit to a globally operating mobility company. When applying for the Master's programme, students should therefore have sufficient English language skills and be willing to contribute to the costs of participating in the excursion. The University of Applied Sciences Potsdam will endeavour to finance a major part of the costs through third-party funds, but a personal contribution must be expected.
The vision of "smart cities" is associated with hopes of finding better solutions to the pressing problems of cities through the use of digital technologies. These include the urgently needed reduction of resource consumption and adaptation to climate change, smarter forms of mobility, but also issues of social division, demographic change and political participation. However, "smart city" means very different things to many actors. Some envision technologically advanced metropolises where global technology companies provide the critical digital infrastructure. Others rather see the potential to enable marginalised social groups and regions to work on a smart and socially inclusive "city from below" through cheap, easy-to-learn open source technologies that can be used by individual actors. The projects in the coming year of the master's degree programme move within the field of tension of these different smart city visions, with the aim of developing critical and constructive perspectives on the role of digital technologies. Particular attention will be paid to the disparity between urban and rural areas that is currently often discussed in public. This can be clearly felt in Potsdam: half an hour's drive in one direction is the globally important metropolis of Berlin, half an hour in the other direction are small towns and villages.
We want to answer questions like the following in the master's projects under the title "Stadt. Land. Digital" ("City. Country. Digital"): How different are the future opportunities and challenges in metropolises and rural areas? Are the supposed opposites irreconcilable? What do desirable and feasible concepts for "smart cities" look like beyond the lighthouse metropolises that receive worldwide attention? Can digitalisation also become a lever for self-empowerment and levelling social differences? How can we use digital technologies to develop better urban planning tools that are adapted to different circumstances and take into account participation needs (e.g. simulation tools, data visualisation, interactive maps, augmented reality)?
Smart cities and communities in the 21st century
The digitalisation of society is leading to sustainable changes in cities and municipalities. These changes are driven, among other things, by the requirements of sustainable use of natural resources (energy and material flows, use of space), by new technological possibilities and new business models (e.g. car sharing services, autonomous driving), by social and demographic processes (growth/shrinkage, individualisation, diversity) and new simulation, analysis and representation methods (big data, system models, information visualisation). These changes are part of fundamental societal transformation processes and equally affect citizens, businesses and municipal administrations and other actors in their everyday practice. They have an impact on urban infrastructures, on forms of communication and mobility, on forms of work and living. Students and lecturers together examine what "Smart Cities and Communities in the 21st Century" look like and what perspectives and possibilities of influence the various urban actors have on these processes of change.
What role do municipal actors such as city administrations or municipal utilities play, how do they have to change and how can they influence or steer transformation processes? What opportunities and risks arise for metropolitan regions and rural areas as a result of these transformation processes? What research methods or digital planning and simulation options are available to anticipate possible future developments and make better decisions today for tomorrow?
Application & Contact
At a glance
The most important deadlines, dates and admission requirements for the master's programme urban futures are compiled here. You can find out which steps you need to take for a successful application in the next section.
Deadlines & Dates
- until 15 June: submit online application
First professional university degree (at least 180 ECTS credits) in the following fields of study:
- Technical/design-related: e.g. architecture and urban planning, design, urban and spatial planning, civil engineering
- social science-related: including sociology, psychology, social work, cultural work, politics, geography
- related to data and information processing: including computer science, information science, statistics and data science, computer visualistics
This is how you apply!
In the following, we explain which aspects you should pay attention to from the online application to enrolment (registration).
Applications for the winter semester are accepted online at from 15 May to 15 June via the MyCampus university portal of the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences.
Documents to be submitted
When applying online, the following documents must be submitted as PDF files in the application portal:
- University degree certificate(s) including diploma supplement or current overview of achievements with the ECTS credit points and grade earned to date, if the degree programme has not yet been completed.
- Letter of motivation (max. two pages): The letter of motivation should provide information about the motivation and identification with the chosen degree programme and the intended profession. In particular, the motivation to study should be explained in a differentiated manner and placed in the context of the applicant's previous career and professional prospects.
- Project outline – description of a possible research project – for the master's degree programme, maximum two pages in length.
- State of the art in research or technology on the topic, with a reference to relevant literature
- Description of the research objective
- Content-related proximity to the current year's topic is desired
- Tabular curriculum vitae
After completing your online application in the MyCampus university portal, you will receive a personal checklist with the following information:
- List of all supporting documents that you have uploaded as PDF files according to the information you provided in your online application
- Notes on the further course of the procedure
Applicants who fulfil the admission requirements take part in the procedure for awarding places.
In the allocation procedure, the following are deducted in advance from the number of study places to be allocated:
- All applicants who were unable to accept an earlier admission due to service and all applicants who belong to the national squad of a national sports federation of the German Olympic Sports Confederation
- 11 % for applicants with a foreign university entrance qualification
- 3 % for applicants who are to be considered on the basis of hardship.
The remaining study places are allocated 90 % according to the result of a university selection procedure and 10 % according to waiting time.
The result of the university selection procedure is determined on the basis of the following criteria (weighting in brackets):
- Grade of the professionally qualifying university degree (40 %).
- Project outline for the Master's programme (30 %)
- Letter of motivation (30 %)
Following the university selection procedure, the award procedure is carried out. Applicants with a correspondingly high ranking receive a time-limited offer of admission in the MyCampus university portal, which they must actively accept. After accepting the offer of admission, you will find your notification of admission in the MyCampus university portal. If you do not accept the offer of admission by the deadline, the ranking list will continue to be processed and the place will be reallocated.
You have accepted the offer of admission and received your letter of admission? Then you have the opportunity to submit an enrolment application for the upcoming winter semester in the MyCampus university portal of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam.
Once you have submitted your online application for enrolment, please submit the printed and signed application together with all required documents in paper form by the deadline. The day of the enrolment deadline is decisive for the submission of the documents, whereby the date of receipt by post at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam is decisive.
Documents to be submitted
- University entrance qualification
- If applicable, further documents according to the enrolment application form.
Do you have questions about the enrolment process at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam? We have compiled frequently asked questions and answers regarding enrolment and admission.
The following links provide you, and especially international applicants, with further information on the topics of application and enrolment at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam.
You would like to apply for studies from the first or a higher semester and have acquired your school-leaving qualification and/or university degree abroad? Then you can have degrees and achievements acquired abroad recognised and study with us.
Application & Enrolment Procedure
The application and study service provides information and advice on general questions regarding the application process, admission and enrolment at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, application for a higher semester, but also on topics such as compensation for disadvantages, part-time studies, waiting semesters and hardship applications.
Contact & Services
The student counselling service provides information and advice on general questions about studying as well as on topics such as choosing a degree programme, application, enrolment and study organisation.
For subject-specific questions on module content, credit transfer, examinations or specialisations in the urban futures degree programme, the subject counselling service is the right place to go.