Interdisciplinary Vision & Strategy Making (BA Minor)

Interdisciplinary vision & Strategy Making (BA Minor)

The Metropolitan Analysis, Design & Engineering (MADE) Master track at AMS Amsterdam Metropolitan Solutions Institute is a course developed by TU Delft and Wageningen University, in which SPS has a decisive presence.

Contemporary metropolitan regions face a variety of complex challenges that concern large numbers of stakeholders with, often competing, claims originating from different world views. One of the major challenges faced by advanced metropolitan regions like the AMA (Amsterdam Metropolitan Area) is how to manage transitions towards sustainability. This transition is characterised by a systems change, which means that whole chains of production, consumption, and behaviour must change over a long period of time, thus involving a large number of stakeholders with multiple worldviews and competing claims over those systems.
This course enables Metropolitan Innovators to identify and evaluate these claims from three main perspectives: socio-technical, ecosystems, and spatial justice. This course complements and supports the Metropolitan Challenges Course, which is given in the first quarter of the programme, and provides a solid ground for the Metropolitan Solutions Course given later. It introduces and discusses tools and theoretical frameworks for unravel-ling complex metropolitan challenges and presents approaches from different areas of knowledge dealing with metropolitan innovation challenges.

The management of systems’ transition to sustainability has several dimensions: cultural, political, technical, and aesthetic, to cite but a few. This is because, according to Henning Larsen, we assume sustainability can only happen when its three crucial dimensions (social, economic, and environmental) happen simultaneously. Hence, this transition cannot be addressed by planners, engineers, and designers alone, as they require engagement with a multiplicity of actors holding the different perspectives necessary to understand and tackle all the dimensions involved.

The various disciplines that contribute to AMS bring particular approaches to innovations towards sustainability: from engineering to entrepreneurship, from urban design to human geography, from environmental sciences to sociology of innovation. Combining these into interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary ways of working is required if we are to be able to deal with urban development and innovation. For any actor who wishes to contribute to advanced metropolitan solutions working towards sustainability, it becomes crucial to be able to translate metropolitan challenges into researchable questions, and to be able to understand, communicate, and to cooperate with other actors in order to integrate their knowledge about issues at hand, and to understand different (and often conflicting) objectives. Awareness of the socio-economic context, as well as the implicit and explicit values and cultural norms operating in a specific place, are essential to achieve suitable solutions. This course enables students to use, contrast, discuss, and integrate those various approaches so that they can engage with metropolitan innovations and potential solutions in a meaningful way, and they do this by using three main perspectives: socio-technical, ecosystems, and spatial justice.


Group work example from the Minor “Neighbourhood of the Future”, class 2018. Authors: Veerle Merk, Victor Müller, Joep Biemond, Christiaan Hanse, Joost Trommelen, Paula Nooteboom.