The Master of Architecture and Human Settlements (MaHS) and the Master of Urbanism and Strategic Planning (MaUSP) are international postgraduate programs hosted at the Department of Architecture, KU Leuven. Operating at the nexus of advanced research and design, the programs critically address worldwide urban transformation. The MaHS is a highly renowned 12-month programme rooted in inter-disciplinary and inter-cultural design and research. The MaUSP engages for 24 months in immersive urban design, landscape urbanism and urban planning to tackle contemporary urban development and its spatial challenges. Read more

3 July 2019
DAIDA award for MaHS-MaUSP theses

In September 2019, there will be a DAIDA AWARD for the best master theses of the Master of Human Settlements (MaHS) and Master of Urbanism and Strategic Planning (MaUSP) programs. The DAIDA Foundation, based in The Netherlands, was founded by Shyam Khandekar. DAIDA's mission is “to support (financially or otherwise) organizations (or groups of individuals) who aim to provide the infrastructure and urban environment for the under-privileged part of the society. DAIDA aims to do this by supporting education, research and spreading information and knowledge in this field.” The winner receives €2000 and the first and second runners-up €1000 and €500 respectively. The Board of Trustees of DAIDA will select the winners from 5-6 thesis projects forwarded by the MaHS/MaUSP faculty, judging them in the light of DAIDA’s mission.

21 May 2019
Summer workshop Urban Andes - August 2019

UNSCH (Ayacucho) and OSA (KU Leuven) are pleased to invite participants to the 2nd International Urban Design Workshop in Ayacucho, Peru from August 19th to 28th, 2019. The intensive and immersive urban design workshop will tackle the issue of water insecurity influenced by unsustainable urbanization in the Cachi Basin. A shared and multi-scalar vision for both water management and urban development is required. To elaborate this vision, the workshop will intertwine design strategies of water urbanism with multi-stakeholder sessions and intensive fieldwork. The workshop is part of a two-year collaborative endeavor between Belgian and Peruvian HEIs and NGOs. It isis funded by VLIR-UOS and PEER-USAID and counts on the collaboration of the Centro de Competencias del Agua (CCA) and the Municipality of Huamanga, Ayacucho.

The organizing team looks forward to receiving applications from architects, urban designers, landscape architects, urban and environmental planners and-engineers. The workshop will enhance participants’ capacity to develop ecological restoration and management with equitable city-making and water provision. The goal will be to choreograph innovative and sustainable interplays of urbanization, landscape and infrastructure. The international design workshop will target first and foremost mid-career design professionals, local authority officials, NGO staff members and urban practitioners in the fields of urbanism and development planning in general. English and Spanish are the official languages of the workshop. Participants will not be charged tuition and accommodation costs, but are expected to cover their travel to and from Ayacucho. Candidates are invited to send a critical selection of design works, CV and motivation letter (max. 1 A4) to by the 15th of July.

More information can also be found in the following leaflet:

14 May 2019
OSA awarded with Silver Medal of the 2018 National Planning Award

Last month, RUA/OSA, in collaboration with the Southern Institute of Strategic Planning (SIIUP, HCMC), was awarded the Silver Medal of the 2018 National Planning Award (in the category of construction planning projects) for the Mekong Delta Region Masterplan 2030, Vision to 2050. The plan was developed from 2013-17 and was approved by the Vietnamese Prime Minister in 2018.

This month, RUA/OSA, in partnership with the Vietnamese Institute of Urban Planning (VIUP, Hanoi), has been chosen as one of six teams for the international competition of "Planning Concept of Highly Interactive Innovative Districts (HIID) (District 2, District 9, Thu Duc district, Ho Chi Minh City)." The other teams include corporate heavyweights AECOM, SOM, Nikken Sekki, Gensler and Sasaki.

The competition seeks ideas to plan and develop implementation plans to transform 30,404 km2 of the eastern region of Ho Chi Minh City into a highly creative and interactive economic region focusing on advanced education, research and technology export markets, financial services and trade centers, delivering inter-regional economic activities in Ho Chi Minh City. The competition runs through the summer of 2019. It is sponsored by the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee.

13 May 2019
Remembering Wenchuan Earthquake
18 April 2019
Alumni in the spotlight
19 March 2019
Guest lecture by Bas Smets - 01.04.19
11 March 2019
Alumnus is the spotlight!
5 February 2019
Booklaunch "Statie Stuifduin" - a2o architects
24 January 2019
1st International Belgian Urbanisms Seminar
23 January 2019
Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion - A Sense of Home
21 January 2019
Alumnus in the spotlight!
17 January 2019
Alumnus in the spotlight!
9 January 2019
Water & Forest Urbanisms - Field Workshop, Vietnam
8 January 2019
New OSA publications
10 December 2018
Shout it out event: Urban Andes
26 November 2018
OSA Research Group publishes in Landscape Architecture Frontiers (LAF)
5 November 2018
Call for papers/presentations - 1st International Belgian Urbanisms Seminar
25 October 2018
MaHS alumni Eliana Barbosa wins Award for PhD thesis
20 September 2018
Forest & Water Urbanisms, Sonian Forest, Belgium: 2-14 September 2018
19 September 2018
Water Urbanisms of the Andes, Ayacucho, Peru: 22-31 August 2018
18 September 2018
Forest Urbanisms & Plastic (r)Evolutions, Dalat, Vietnam: 2 - 11 April 2018
4 June 2018
MaHS-MaUSP entry one of the winning projects at La Biennale di Venezia 2018
4 May 2018
2018 World Urbanisms - Call for Doctoral Students
22 March 2018
MaHS MaUSP Applications
15 March 2018
2018 World Urbanisms - Call for Alumni presentation
11 January 2018
2018-2019 - VLIR Call for applications
13 November 2017
Alumni publication
27 October 2017
`On worn out landscapes. Mapping wasteland in the Charleroi and Veneto central territories`
25 September 2017
Opening Lecture
29 June 2017
IV World Urbanisms
20 February 2017
Call for non-European Applications!
31 January 2017
Post-Doc researcher for the international Master of Human Settlements (MAHS)
11 November 2016
Bungamati Action Plan at UK Shelter Forum London and ASF Lyon
14 October 2016
MaHS alumni Olga Peek + Nelson Carofilis won 2nd prize at the CIU Habitat competition.
25 May 2016
Call for European Applications!
24 May 2016
The next economy - OSA at IABR
2 February 2016
Map of the Month: Occupying São Paolo
1 February 2016
29 January 2016
In memoriam: Prof. Sandi Siregar
16 January 2016
Launch of Bungamati Rebuilding
7 December 2015
Waste of the City/ The City of Waste
16 October 2015
Dirty Antwerp: BWMSTR Label 2015 to MaUSP research
13 October 2015
CADES Lectures are back
21 September 2015
Opening of the academic year
20 September 2015
MaHS-MaUSP in Nepal
Upcoming events
Recent studios
Fall 2018
University City/ City University
Heverlee - Leuven

Bruno De Meulder, Annelies De Nijs and Erik Van Daele

An update of the master plan for the Arenberg University Campus has been commissioned. The fall urbanism studio will fundamentally question the campus model of the 1960s that created the mono-functional and exclusionary enclave. Contemporary university models that acknowledge the intense interaction and intertwinement that universities and the city have will be investigated. The studio’s hypothesis is that sterile campuses can mutate into vibrant urban environments and that universities can imbue a unique form of urbanism into cities. It is understood that respecting heritage and restoring ecologies is high on the agenda, as well is the transition to car-free mobility. Complex and mixed urban tissues will be proposed on ‘university land’ and the studio elaborates innovative development models that do not solely depend on the real estate market, but give way to shared economies, cooperatives and commons.

Fall 2018
North Side Stories 2.0
Concepts and Analysis Studio Fall 2018

Viviana d’Auria, Racha Daher, Erik Van Daele

The studio will revisit the Brussels North Quarter, a contested area with a complex history of infrastructural and social transformation linked to economics, changing visions, residential fabric demolition, vacancy, and migration. The studio will focus on the growing housing shortage in Brussels and design investigations will focus on the development of creative typologies and inclusive real-estate models that reflect 21st century living. Qualitative living entails more than shelter and dwelling and housing cannot be elaborated in isolation. Public space structure, mobility trends, and civic amenities enter into the equation. Through thoughtful integration of the multiple components and realities, as well as in collaboration with different stakeholders, the studio aims to create qualitative urban tissues for an inclusive North Quarter.

View the studio booklet via the following link:

Spring 2018
Guayas River Delta, Ecuador

Kelly Shannon, Bruno De Meulder & Viviana d’Auria

Olga Peek, Nelson Carofilis

Guayaquil – Ecuador’s main port and largest settlement – is a 70% self-built city located amidst the most biodiverse estuarine complex of the South Pacific. The city’s first low-income settlements proliferated in ecological fragile zones, expanding the urban frontier into the estuarine landscape.

The urban fabric and public spaces were crafted incrementally over various decades by more than one generation and through a multitude of design decisions. After living many years on stilts, piecemeal densification and basic service provision radically transformed the appearance of incipient ‘squatter’ living spaces into consolidated settlements – that today accommodate close to 40% of the urban population. The incremental tissue has an ongoing use value for younger generations and fulfilled an important role in absorbing new residential spaces, different neighborhood functions and income-generating opportunities and features a variety of block typologies, intermediate and public spaces.

The city’s rapid urban growth also severely compromised the estuarine landscape and natural floodplains exposing diverse urban communities to a number of water-related problems. In the face of climate change, this issue will only become more critical in the nearby future. Guayaquil recurrently experienced the immediate consequences of environmental hazards and is considered one of the world’s coastal cities at highest risk of damaging floods in relation to climate change.

This design studio aims to contribute to a resilient and sustainable future of Guayaquil’s consolidated riverbank settlements. The project explores the extent and the ways in which the incremental estuarine city can take up new social and environmental challenges through the construction of urban design scenarios. Students will engage in a critical exploration and interpretation of the socio-ecological dimensions of the rapidly changing estuarine living spaces across different scales: from the documentation of transformative urban morphologies and daily practices, to cartographic inquiry into ecological infrastructures combining the urban with assets of water and the natural landscape. They will serve to formulate a projective vision for enhancing the quality of urban habitats, while building resilient ecosystems.

The studio builds further on the design workshop Designing Inclusion (organized in 2015 by KU Leuven in collaboration with the University of Guayaquil and with the support of VLIR-UOS), and an ongoing partnership between the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism in Guayaquil and the ICP programmes at the Department of Architecture, KU Leuven.

Spring 2018
Zambeze River Delta, Mozambique

Bruno De Meulder, Wim Wambecq

The landscape urbanism studio Zambeze aims to investigate a future for the Tete-Moatize conurbation. Tete is the main city on the Zambeze river in Mozambique and the administrative center for the Tete province; Moatize is the center of the coal exploitation. Both urbanizations are growing towards each other flowing into one conurbation that embraces the Zambeze and its tributary Revubue, yet equally embracing the mining sites. The local population, that lives primarily and directly from their land, is most vulnerable to the alterations to the landscape caused by this growth and coal mining.

The Zambeze design studio will explore scenarios that build resilience within the local population and remediate the intrinsic tensions between large-scale development rhetoric and the local population’s subsistence; between the diverging ambitions of the PEOT (Special Territorial Planning document) and the local realities; between the impact of the mining exploration and the population’s dependence of rivers as the Zambeze, Revubue and Nhartanda. The expected growth of the conurbation Tete-Moatize can be seen as a moment to reinvent the urban landscape. Urban growth in Mozambique is often spontaneous, but not unmanageable. Settlements can be expected to appear in locations with good accessibility to basic amenities (water and fertile land, food) and good connectivity (mainly road movement so they can sell whatever surplus they produce). The landscape - with the Zambeze as its spearpoint - forms the inevitable base for this new urban realm.

The studio forms part of a series of workshops organized in the context of the South Initiative (with the support of VLIR-UOS), in collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering and Technology and the Faculty of Environmental Engineering and Natural Resources of the University of the Zambeze (UniZambeze) and in collaboration with the Faculty of Architecture of the University Eduardo Mondlane.

Spring 2018
Yangtze River Delta, China

Kelly Shannon, Bruno De Meulder, Viviana d’Auria

Stefanie Dens, Christian Nolf

China is presently one of the most aggressive countries in the world with regards to policies that are tackling climate change. At the same time, there are a plethora of ancient treatises and indigenous methods that can serve as inspiration for contemporary climate adaptation and flood management. The studio will develop a collective vision of the Yangtze (Chang Jiang in Chinese) River Delta for the near and long-term futures and thereafter individual projects, across a transect of the delta (and across scales), will be developed to strengthen the vision and more specifically create soft infrastructure strategies to respond to sea level rise and storm surge, the relation of the urban and the rural, hybrid morphologies and typologies of housing, social and private buildings in relation to productive landscapes.