MDes Sustainable Cities / 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

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

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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 open to all applicants who either:

  • hold a Bachelor’s Degree in design or equivalent, or
  • have completed at least three years of undergraduate studies in design or equivalent, equating to at least 180 ECTS credits

You may apply before actually receiving the degree or having completed your undergraduate studies. However, admission will only take effect once the degree is obtained or the undergraduate credits have been validated.

Applicants whose level we assess to be insufficient may be recommended to follow a semester or a full year in our International Class before entering the master’s program.

> Language requirements

If you are not a native English speaker, we ask that you provide proof of your English proficiency (minimum level of 600 points at the TOEIC test or equivalent for programs taught in French).

A minimum level of CEFR B2 in French is mandatory for non-native speakers who wish to apply for a MDes taught in French language.

> How to apply ?

How ? Application can only be done online.
When ? Applications are open from October 13, 2017 to June 24, 2018
How much does it cost ? Once you have filled out your personal data, you will be required to pay a non-refundable inscription fee of 50€ to cover the administrative costs of your admission process. This payment is only possible by credit card or Paypal and is fully secured.

Selection process
The selection process is organized as follow:
1. online application and payment of the application fees,
2. sending all the required documents for application,
3. application file review,
4. if your application is accepted and if necessary, a face-to-face or skype interview will be organized.

> Tuition fees

Tuition fees 2018 : 7 700 € per year.

Scholarships: We recommend you contact the French embassy in your country, your local CampusFrance agency.

Apply to the MDes programs

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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