Masters degree in Urban Governance and Peace
Between 2007 and 2008 a famous ‘tipping-point’ was reached. For the first time in history the majority of the world's population began living in cities and not in rural areas. In recent years, much of this flow has been accounted for by a rapidly urbanising Global South, and we have seen a boom in the number of ‘mega-cities’ with over five million dwellers across the planet. In this context, the present and future of humanity is increasingly urban, and the challenges, and also solution for humankind, will have an increasingly urban face.
The Masters degree inUrban Governance and Peace approaches these challenges in a unique way by posing the question ‘What is a peaceful city?’ and crucially, ‘How can such a city be achieved and sustained?’
Building the peaceful and sustainable cities we want begins here.
There are a broad range of urban issues tackled during the program which include: environmental risk, resilience and adaptation; security, violence, crime and drug trafficking; public space and the ‘right to the city’; participation and governance; gender issues; peacebuilding, livelihood and development strategies; and practical training to work in the violent / conflict settings often found in the urban periphery. The program is underpinned with a strong conceptual understanding of contemporary peace delivered in the first semester, and a range of practical experiences through field-trips, municipal work experience and internship placements, (optional) election monitoring, and research methods training. There are optional and recommended courses in the second semester to allow students the flexibility to taking courses in other university departments, to pursue any specialised interests they may have.
The main course include: Understanding Urban Risk and Resilience; Learning Livelihood Strategies from Practice: Tools, Methods & Praxis; Rural to Urban Processes through Municipal Experience; Disaster Risk Reduction; Urban Violence, Narcotics and Citizen Security; Human Vulnerability and Climate Change Adaptation and Gender Issues in Urban Governance. In addition to these courses there is a range of peace and conflict focused courses to give students a strong understanding of the challenges in our academic discipline and a conceptual underpinning for conceptualising what a ‘peaceful’ city actually is.
When students leave this master program they will have a strong grasp of the contemporary threats facing cities today across a range of issues from violence, peace and security, to adaptation, sustainability, disaster management and resilience to climate change. The program will give students both practical tools and academic theory to go on and work or research effectively in urban issues, ether with NGOs, government institutions, the private sector or multilateral organisations.
The Urban Governance and Peace program is a relatively new program, but alumni have begun work at UN Habitat, with various NGOs and governmental bodies focusing on urban issues.