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Contact :

Stefan De CORTE
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
WE, DGGF, 4F65
Pleinlaan 2
B-1050 Brussels
E-mail: info[at]

4 Cities > 4Cities?


4Cities, UNICA Euromaster in urban studies is a unique two-year interdisciplinary and international programme. 4Cities takes students to Brussels, Copenhagen, Vienna, Madrid and a number of surrounding cities.

4Cities has been selected as from the academic year 2013-2014 onwards as an Erasmus Mundus Master Course (EMMC). Erasmus Mundus aims to enhance quality in higher education through scholarships and academic cooperation between Europe and the rest of the world. Action1 of Erasmus Mundus- and recently Erasmus+ will foster cooperation between higher education institutions and academic staff in Europe and Third Countries with a view to creating poles of excellence and providing highly trained human resources. Joint programmes of outstanding academic quality are designed and implemented by a consortium of European universities from at least 3 different countries. This means the programma can offer a limited amount of scholarships to students and academics from all over the world. (See part Erasmus Mundus Scholarship.)

This Joint Master is open to students from all countries in the world, If you apply for a scholarship than you should consider your nationality to see which of the two kind of scholarships you can request. (See part Erasmus Mundus Scholarship.)

The programme is taught in English only.

The course philosophy
This particular programme adds a European perspective to the field of Urban Studies: it wants to break up and to open the national perspective on urban problems. The growing importance of globalisation and the shift towards a world of flows calls for a new approach in important fields of urban policy like culture, economy, planning…

The strength of this masters programme results from the integration of analytical skills typical for the (social-)sciences and practical fieldwork and visits. The need for interdisciplinary knowledge and skills as opposed to the more narrowly defined academic disciplines is strong.

The mission statement
The programme focuses on:
Glocalisation - the processes of globalisation and localisation - as a general context leading to a renewed importance of the city and urbanity in the 21st century. The city is considered a nodal point in post-national developments.
Europe as the unit of analysis: Europe and the European unification process is seen as part of and a reaction to this globalisation processes. Our scope is Europe seen through its cities and urban networks.
Interdisciplinarity and internationality as a surplus value. The UNICA master is a thematic masters programme focused on transdisciplinary approaches and transdisciplinary practices (not the least bridging urban planning and urban sociology, geography, etc) with a focus on the socio-spatial analysis of cities.
An education build on strong cases: Brussels (capital of EU, small global city) – Copenhagen (the Scandinavian mode of regulation), Vienna (metropolis at the centre of Europe: gateway to the East), Madrid ( the Mediterranean cities) and a number of surrounding cities.
The importance of fieldwork: research experience in each city and comparative or transnational research as the basis for a final masters thesis
A number of excursions and visits: a central attractor will be that we incorporate well prepared excursions in each block. Each excursion will incorporate a socio-spatial introduction to the city (a city walk) and an institutional visit with a focus on certain aspects of policy or management. Moreover a number of projects and institutions will be visited.
4CITIES trains students in
Analysing urban society and space (urban forms) with adapted methodologies, making diagnoses, understanding data, describing problems… Proposing solutions for urban problems and design alternatives (planning, project management, scenario research) Making a presentation of analysis and proposals Working in a multidisciplinary team and to take the position of mediator Adopting a critical attitude
These skills will be based on scientific knowledge
The bases of urban theories in different disciplines The city as a social product: factors, global context (globalisation, Europe, Fordism/ post-Fordism, modernism/post modernism…) The local context and heritage Planning and design processes and systems, project management
4CITIES leads to the following kind of occupations
Research and teaching on issues of urbanity and urbanism Urban policy advise Urban project management Urban planning and design