|Master of Arts (MA)
Reshaping the city - Envisioning new concepts of city and urban life by placing design speculation at the core of social innovation.
The MA City Design envisions new concepts of city and urban life by placing design speculation at the core of social innovation.
City life is undergoing momentous change. New forms of urban development and technologically driven forms of social innovation are transforming the way we live, work, reproduce and take care of the world around us, producing new lines of social solidarity as well as new sites of social conflict. Yet most of the methods used to research and design cities have resisted change, thus limiting our ability to perceive relevant changes and of conceiving radically different futures.
MA City Design believes in the unique capacities of design to conceptualise and propose new and original models of living in cities. It proposes an approach to city design education that unites architectural, social sciences and scientific research. The programme is site-focused and design-led and students have the potential to engage with NGOs, policy makers, government and industry.
The MA City Design envisions new concepts of city and urban life by placing design speculation at the core of social innovation. The programme believes in the unique capacities of design to conceptualise and propose new and original models of living in cities. It proposes an approach to city design education that unites architectural, social sciences and scientific research. The programme is site-focused and design-led and students have the potential to engage with NGOs, policy makers, government and industry.
Please note all applications must be submitted by 12 noon on the given deadline.
The MA City Design makes use of digital design, analysis and visualisation tools, including moving image, animation, augmented and immersive design, as drivers of speculative innovation. Together with collaborative forms of knowledge production and exchange, the programme argues these are necessary for enabling the designers of cities to creatively imagine the future in just and equitable ways. Through invited guests, collaborators and site visits, students will have access to different stakeholders involved in contemporary urban transformation. These will range from industry and design practitioners to central and local government, or community and grassroots organisations.
Students of the MA City Design will have the opportunity to pursue a degree within a world leading art and design institution, and to access the rich culture of radical and experimental interdisciplinary work at the Royal College of Art. Moreover, the programme will help students to establish a network of colleagues and mentors by offering them the opportunity of connecting to leading figures in City Design both in London and internationally through an innovative practice mentorship scheme.
The programme is delivered across three terms and includes a combination of programme, School and College units.
Design Studio 1: Conditions: This unit consists of an introduction to the programme’s design-led, and site-based pedagogical model. It familiarises you with design-based research methodologies, and collaborative forms of knowledge production. The unit will require you to work in partnership with non-academic urban actors and organisations to speculate on the realisation of change in the city.
Seminar 1: Positions: The Seminar unit will aim to help you to situate city design in relation to the collective knowledges, perspectives and experiences of those in the frontlines of urban change.
Media Studies: The unit is subdivided into multiple sections led by tutors with a diverse range of media experience. Lectures are delivered by staff and invited guests and introduce a range of media and spatial practice methodologies. In the tutorials, you will learn specific skills related to your section, and deploy your research through the execution of new media-based projects. The unit’s mission is twofold: first to encourage the incoming MA students from disparate programmes to increase their cross-disciplinary communication and secondly to challenge you to expand your media practice beyond architecture’s reliance on media as purely representational.
College-wide unit AcrossRCA: Running across terms 1 and 2, this unit aims to support students to meet the challenges of a complex, uncertain and changing world by bringing them together to work collaboratively on a series of themed projects informed by expertise within and beyond the College. See below for more details.
Design Studio 2: Propositions In Studio unit 2 ‘Propositions’, you will develop a series of spatial interventions with the objective of developing innovative forms of social organisation for their studied sites. Working in groups, you are required to develop a set of spatial propositions for design intervention in your site of study. This will require a clear hierarchy of ideas and approaches, in response to potentially changing conditions. A core element in this unit is the exploration of digital tool to speculate on forms of social innovation. The unit requires as well as the understanding of potential externalities such as conflicts between stakeholders or changes in the material, political and economic conditions that structure the project.
You will be asked to consult local specialists, NGO’s, planning authorities or private developers or others currently operating in the context of their project. You will be asked to critically explore modes of digital representation and communication in relation to the different forums where their project might be presented. The submission will take the form of a design brief including proposed design stakeholders and methods.
Seminar 2: Transformations Seminar unit 2 deepens your understanding of contemporary urban transformation theories and principles.
Media Studies In term 2 all School of Architecture students will participate in the Media Studies, School-wide unit. The unit aims to increase students’ critical engagement with media and space. Through this unit you will be supported to increase your cross-disciplinary communication and you will be challenged to expand your media practice beyond architecture’s reliance on media as purely representation.
Independent Research Project (IRP) The Independent Research Project aims to enable you to apply the intellectual, technical and professional skills that you have developed throughout the programme, to a challenging self-set brief focusing the role of digital tools to fostering social innovation.
To provide prospective students with opportunities to find out about the RCA experience and programmes we run a number of on-campus and online open days as well as events in various countries around the world. You can find out about upcoming events or watch replays of past open days on the RCA website.