Sustainable Cities / MDes Urban Design

  • // Initial Education
  • // Program taught in French
  • // Nantes (France)

A postgraduate program in two years specialized in Urban Design, a single master’s degree in design

This program is only open to students who validate their undergraduate studies at L’École de design.

Aurélie Amossé, Grégoire Duthilleul, Simon Guillet, Cécile Roger & Roman Sokolowsky / The idea foundry / Creation of an experimental third place

The MDes program Urban Design focuses on the rapidly changing cities : new means of travel, new products and new forms of energy are emerging; the automobile is being called into question; multimodal transport is developing; and we are now envisioning car-free cities. Urban mobility will never be the same again. New services emerge, new needs arise, the city is redesigned, living spaces are transformed, and habits change. This MDes offers two research groups: Mobility & Services and Public Spaces.

Main themes

  • Carrying goods and people
  • Mobility assistance and alternative travel means
  • Infrastructure improvments and circulation areas
  • Urban furnitures
  • Scenography
  • Micro-Architectures
  • Space adjustments

If you hold a bachelor degree in design and are interested in Sustainable cities and environement, have a look at our MDes Environmental Design!


The MDes programs, established over two years, are organized in four semesters validated by 30 ECTS each. A consequent and increasing personal working time is expected for each module.

Semester 1
Students spend this semester abroad, either in academic exchange or internship as a junior designer (13 weeks minimum).

The objective of this semester for students studying at a partner school is to discover other teaching methods, other tools and approaches of the design project.
For students in internship, the goal is to highlight and expand professional knowledge in the context of another culture.

Semester 2
During this semester, students learn how to manage complex design projects, deepen their knowledge of the economic, social and cultural aspects of the field covered in their program, build and apply a methodology and support their end-of-term project. studies, the subject of which they themselves define.

Teaching, delivered in the form of projects in partnership with industry, workshops, lectures, conferences and professional meetings includes the following compulsory credits:
• Design and complexity project
• Workshop to define the end of studies project
• Prospective design project
• Seminar methodologies
• Innovation seminar
• Intellectual property
• Seminar specific to the theme of the program
• Introduction to research workshop
• Professionalisation / lab
• Contests
• TOEIC preparation
• Preparation for the end of studies project, complementary seminar
• Memory preparation workshop

Semester 3
Continuation and finalization of the end-of-studies project summarizing all the professional skills acquired. It can be conducted in collaboration with a company and / or research laboratory of a partner university. This personal end-of-studies project must be related to the program in which students are enrolled.
Supervision is ensured in the form of workshops under the direction of a referent designer, to which punctual speakers are associated. Writing a thesis in the theme of the project.

• Initiation to law
• introduction to management
• End of studies project workshop
• Memory Workshop
• Professionalization & lab
• Competitions

Semester 4
The study program ends with a minimum of sixteen weeks (and a maximum of six months) internship within a company, in France or abroad.
Trainees work as junior designers and support all or part of a project.
The student must demonstrate his ability to integrate into a team, manage a project and develop all the sequences of the project for its smooth running. It allows the student to articulate all of his studies with what will be his first professional experience.
Depending on the professional project of the student, this internship can also take place within a company that the student will create, or even within a research laboratory.

> Urban Design

Cities are rapidly changing: new means of travel, new products and new forms of energy are emerging. The city gets more than ever in motion and raises new issues for the design of public spaces: it has to be multimodal, hyper-connected and accessible to everyone.
New services emerge, new needs arise, the city is redesigned, living spaces are transformed, and habits change.

The MDes Urban design offers two research groups: Mobility and Services, Public Spaces.

Research group: Mobility and Services
A reflection on tomorrow’s mobility, as we imagine the urban means of transportation and the impact on the architecture and amenities of the city. A city without cars, a change in travel means for disabled people... many themes that allow the designer to question the uses in order to transform spaces and give rise to new habits.

Research group: Public Spaces
The concept of public spaces associated with collective social practices needs to be redefined in the context of connected societies. Beyond the legal status of ownership, the existence and functioning of public spaces in the city are a social and political issue. The public spaces are an essential model of urbanity in which designers need to participate .

Urban Design allows to boost these urban environments by strengthening their identity, understanding, functioning and use.

This program is taught in French.

Admission requirements

> Academic requirements

This program is only open to students who validate their undergraduate studies at L’École de design.

> Tuition fees 2018 : 7 700 € per year.

Double degree

During their fifth year students can prepare a double degree to improve certain skills.

  • Master’s Degree in Business Administration, delivered by the Business Administration Institute of the University of Nantes. Open to all the MDes programs taught in France (except the MDes UX Design option Design & Virtual Reality).

This program taught by the partner institutions is taught in French. A minimum level of CEFR B2 is recommended to be able to follow the courses.

Teaching staff

Head of program
Florent Orsoni, Director of the Sustainable Cities Design Lab

Educational Coordinator
Anaïs Jacquard

Job prospects and further education

> Areas of application

For the Mobility and Services research group:

  • Equipments and vehicles carrying goods and people
  • Mobility assistance services and alternative travel means
  • Mobile information systems
  • Infrastructure improvments and circulation areas
  • Urban furnitures
  • Responsive architecture.

For the Public Spaces research group:

  • Human and urban interactions devices (digital/spatial/social)
  • Scenography
  • Micro-Architectures
  • Space adjustments (frontage, conversion to residential units, accessibility...)
  • Mediation tools (representations, development process, participation of citizens,...)
  • Objects or specific systems (connected urban furniture, connected environments,...)

> Master’s degree in design

As all our master programs, this one leads you to the Master’s degree in design, certified by the French ministry of higher Education and Research and registered in the Registre National des Certifications Professionnelles (the French directory for vocational qualifications or RNCP) as a Level I Master’s degree.

To know more about this diplome, check out the Our degrees page.


Groupe Bouygues Immobilier, Gruau, Lippi, Lumiplan, NGE, SCE (groupe Keran), Normall, SNCF (société nationale des chemins de fer français), SEMITAN (Société d’économie mixte des transports en commun de l’agglomération nantaise), RATP (Régie autonome des transports parisiens)

Public institutions
ETE (Council of Architecture, Urbanism and Environment), Keolis ,the Port of Nantes-Saint Nazaire, Nantes social housing agency, City of Nantes, SAMOA (the company for the redevelopment of the western Atlantic urban area)

Institutions of higher education or research
ESSCA Angers, ESTACA (engineering school specializing in transport), ISMANS, National School of Architecture of Nantes, University of Nantes, UTSEUS


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