Sustainable Urban Management: One-year master programme

Programme - second cycle - 60 credits


This programme is not offered. Please see for our current offerings.

If you have questions about this programme, please contact the department, see Contact.

Admission requirements

Bachelor´s degree consisting of 180 credits. The equivalent of English B/English 6 in Swedish secondary school.


credits 100%

Please note that this programme will not be offered autumn 2015.


After completion of this programme you may work with leading urban development processes and will also be able to work across disciplines and organisational boundaries with issues of urban sustainability.

The programme provides you with theoretical perspectives on sustainable cities and tools for leading and managing urban development processes. The programme is developed in cooperation with external partner organisations. Students will look at case studies in Malmö and throughout the world to supplement learning.

The programme provides theoretical and practical knowledge for working in sustainable urban management. You will acquire in-depth knowledge of different aspects of environmental, economic and social sustainability and study how to integrate different perspectives in relation to real cases. In the programme you will also develop skills in managing projects and processes with multiple and diverse stakeholders.

Potential employers include municipal, regional or governmental agencies or the private sector in construction, real estate development, the energy sector or consultancy in sustainable urban development.


What is Sustainable Urban Management about?

Sustainable Urban Management is a one-year master's programme for professionals and students who want to be part of planning, developing and managing urban projects that lead to more sustainable development.


City housing projects like this one will be analysed in class with regard to how to make cities like it more sustainable.

What makes Urban Sustainability unique?

Cities and urban areas face many challenges including their environmental impacts. Cities have also become increasingly important for society's well-being and for economic development and social integration. All over the world, strategies are developed and initiatives taken to influence the development of urban sustainability. The knowledge of how to build and manage sustainable cities, infrastructure, urban planning and architecture, is vital.

Malmö, well known for its support of urban projects, will be the starting point for discussions, analysis and critique of current issues. The city’s many urban sustainability projects will be visited, studied and compared to projects and cities worldwide, such as Vancouver and Mumbai.

This programme combines lectures and group work with field trips and individual written exams.


For information about the programme content, see Syllabus.

Learning activities

The programme is based on active student learning.Throughout the programme, lectures, exercises and study visits will relate to modules and case studies. You will present and discuss your understanding and comments on each other’s work at seminars. You will express yourself in written reports, oral presentations, urban design and through various forms of documentation such as photos and images.


“Our concept turns city garages into urban venues”

Leon Legeland and Veronika Hoffmann master thesis focus on developing a concept for making use of Malmö’s city garages by turning them into an urban gathering place with green rooftops, cafés and bars.


“We saw parking houses as overlooked nodes in the city and decided to reevaluate them to spaces of opportunity. Garages are centrally located, often several stories high and with open roof tops. Still, the parking spaces at the roof tops are not the popular ones since your car is not covered by a ceiling and you have to drive longer to reach them”, Leon explains, “which suits them well to be turned into something else.”

Cooperation with the city’s municipality
During their project they have been in close contact with Malmö City Planning office and with the parking company P-Malmö that owns many of the central parking houses in Malmö. “We want our idea to develop together with the City of Malmö and make this more of a public initiative, and not only a private one.”

“P-Malmö liked our concept and wanted to cooperate with us. One of their contact persons even said that he would happily rent out the roof tops of a garage to a project like this”, says Leon.

“Malmö City Planning office has a list of over hundred cases they want to examine but haven’t had the resources to. As a student you are encouraged to choose one case and examine it and the City planning office are therefore very interested in your result.”

Will continue making it a reality
After graduation Leon and Veronika will continue making their urban idea a reality. “We will keep up the dialogue. It’s a good starts that we have made good contact with the City Planning Office and that P-Malmö also like our idea.”

“Malmö is a playground for urban development!” Both Veronika and Leon are originally from Germany and interested in urbanity and city development.

“I see myself as an urban explorer and I’ve been looking for a way to combine my studies in media and communication with management and my interest in urbanity”, says Veronika.

“And I have always been fascinated by urban spaces and I’ve found that Malmö really is a playground for these topics!”, says Leon.

Many inspiring educational visits

Laura Vidje, 26, from Berlin was pleasantly surprised when her master’s thesis ”Green and Just? – Assessing the Socio-Spatial Distribution of Green Areas in Malmö” was chosen as the most well-executed thesis by the Department of Urban studies.*

Laura Vidje, Sustainable Urban Management
Laura Vidje (before Wascher)

  “I passed with distinction and was awarded a scholarship for my well executed thesis at the awards ceremony at Börshuset in Malmö. I had carried out a quantitative analysis of green spaces in Malmö with the help of GIS and related this data to environmental justice issues. I was very happy to be rewarded for it in this special way”, says Laura Vidje, former student of the one-year master´s programme Sustainable Urban Management.

Before she came to Sweden she was studying environmental planning, ecology and landscape architecture at Technische Universität Berlin. During her bachelor studies she decided to conduct her internship at the agency for sustainable travel in Umeå, Sweden. After completing a second internship in an eco-village in Iceland she returned to Sweden.

“I think it was positive that this programme was short, challenging and intensive. There were many educational visits to interesting facilities and sustainable urban projects just around the corner in Malmö.”

According to Laura, Malmö University provides a very international and good learning environment; she remembers many group projects, challenging discussions and exciting Prezi-presentations.

“You get access to everything you need during your studies. It is also easy to communicate with teachers directly and as we were a rather small group of students there was always the opportunity for in-depth discussions at seminars.”

Laura especially remembers many inspiring educational visits, for example to the SYSAV facility, the botanical Rooftop-Garden or the building site in Hyllie, Malmö, but also the intensive field trip to Germany.

Directly after completing her studies at Malmö University Laura Vidje started working within the Streets and Parks Department of Malmö City. She worked in the operations and maintenance section for public spaces, where she managed data in GIS. After a year she started working with Cefur in Ronneby, Blekinge, which is a centre for research and sustainable development. Cefur is especially inspired by Cradle to Cradle, an optimistic approach that goes beyond sustainability and creates a basis for sustainable growth.

“My studies in sustainable urban management are definitely beneficial for my work here. We learned about the cradle to cradle concept in one of the seminars and also had the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things on our literature list.”
* Read the thesis  Green and Just? – Assessing the Socio-Spatial Distribution of Green Areas in Malmö

“The programme allows us to experience what our future jobs could be like.”

Olga Belorusova , Sustainabl Urban Managamment, Malmö University
Olga Belorusova
Read Olga's blog  Green Stories of Urban Places

Olga Belorusova, 28, comes from Belarus. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Information and Communications in 2005. After graduating from university Olga worked in the PR-department of Priorbank, JSC and in 2008 she joined the United Nations Population Fund Country Office in Belarus.

“During my work as a communicator for the UN I came in contact with challenges concerning the planning of growing cities and became interested in studying sustainable urban planning. I studied communication in Sweden for one semester in 2003 and since then I thought I should take my master’s degree in Sweden. I enjoy the way students and professors interact in Sweden and like that students do a lot of work together in groups here.”

“The combination of ecological and economical aspects in this master´s programme gives a holistic view to urban development. We have a lot of study visits and guest lecturers, combined with case studies this allows us to experience what our future jobs could be like.”

Olga succeeded in receiving a scholarship from the Swedish Institute for her master’s studies in Sustainable Urban Management in Malmö. Now Olga is a member of the Swedish Institute Network of Future Global Leaders. After completing her studies Olga would like to use her knowledge and experience in communications in promoting social, environmental and economic sustainability issues, smart city planning, sustainable development or socially responsible business.


What career will I be prepared for? 

SASUM flyer, illustration
Download the folder about the programme

After completing the Sustainable Urban Management master's programme you will have a detailed knowledge of urban development processes and will be able to work on issues of urban sustainability across disciplines and organisational boundaries.

Sectors you may work in include: municipal, regional or governmental agencies, the private construction sector, real estate development, the energy sector, or in consultancy services focused on sustainable urban development. Another option is to continue studies at PhD-level.

Won first prize in international ideas competition 

Martin Forsberg and Francesco Sabaini both earned a master's in Sustainable Urban Management at Malmö University last year, formed the team Glada Consultants, and just before Christmas won first prize in the international ideas competition “Get a bike! Break free” in Oslo. 
Read  the full article about Martin Forsberg and Francesco Sabaini 


Syllabus for students admitted autumn 2014

Other semesters:

Programme Code:
SASUM revision 7
Date of establishment:
18 November 2009
Date of ratification:
28 February 2012
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
01 September 2014

Entry requirements

Bachelor´s degree consisting of 180 credits. The equivalent of English B/English 6 in Swedish secondary school.


Evaluations and analysis of urban projects and case studies are pronounced elements in the education. Case studies, fieldwork and study visits form the basis for encounters and discussions with different specialists in sustainable urban development. Different educational and professional student backgrounds constitute an important resource in the education. The Autumn semester (September to January) contains one 30 credit fulltime course and the Spring semester (January to June) contains two fulltime 15 credit courses.

Sustainable Urban Development (30 credits) assess the concept of sustainable urban development, it’s theoretical basis and practical application, with the aim to create a profound understanding of sustainable urban development projects and processes. The course outlines the challenges and possibilities of urban areas and analyzes sustainability in relation to urban development projects from Asia, Africa and Latin America. The concept of sustainable urban development and its implementation in practice in Malmö and the Öresund region is introduced, analyzed and discussed.

Project and Process Management for Sustainable Urban Development (15 credits) deals with leadership, organization development and learning processes. Theories and tools for organizing and leading processes of change with a focus on sustainable urban development are introduced and assessed.

Thesis in Sustainable Urban Development (15 credits) is an advanced study in the field of Built Environment and is regarded as the degree project of the programme. Students identify and analyze a problem area of relevance to sustainable urban development.


Course list:

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

After the successful completion of the programme Sustainable Urban Management students will:

  • demonstrate the knowledge, ability and approach needed to independently work with sustainable urban development projects
  • demonstrate knowledge of the scientific basis of environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainable urban development and have a comprehension of present research and practice within the field
  • demonstrate a broad understanding of sustainable urban development and a profound knowledge of sustainability and urbanization processes together with a profound knowledge of management processes that influence urban development

Skills and Competencies

After the successful completion of the programme Sustainable Urban Management students will be

able to:

  • critically and systematically identify, formulate and manage complexity in projects and processes of sustainable development
  • critically and constructively prepare, analyze and assess projects and processes for sustainable urban development
  • relate different theoretical perspectives of sustainable urban development to practical examples and compare the effect of different indicators of sustainability in evaluations of urban development projects
  • elaborate and motivate forms of collaboration between important stakeholders for the development of sustainable solutions in the urban environment
  • describe and discuss - both orally and in writing - conclusions, knowledge and arguments associated with the subject matter in dialogue with various parties

Judgement and Approach

After the successful completion of the programme Sustainable Urban Management students will be

able to:

  • show the ability to ethically relate her/his work to the different needs of society and various groups of people as well as to the interaction between people and the built environment
  • demonstrate insight and ability of teamwork and collaboration between groups of different composition and create motivation for strategies for sustainable urban development
  • identify their individual need for further knowledge and recognise the importance of continuous development of their competence


Master's Degree (60 credits).
Degree of Master of Science (60 credits) with a Major in Built Environment.


Further information

Åse Falk, Student Services Assistant
Phone: 040-66 58039

Jonas Alwall, Programme Coordinator
Phone: 040-66 57984

The education is provided by the Faculty of Culture and Society at the department Department of Urban Studies.