The Norman Foster Institute is now accepting applications for its 2025 programme on Sustainable Cities.


The Norman Foster Institute is now accepting applications for its 2025 programme on Sustainable Cities.


The Norman Foster Institute is now accepting applications for its Programme on Sustainable Cities, taking place in Madrid from January to December 2025.

The Programme on Sustainable Cities blends hands-on experience with academic insights from the Norman Foster Foundation’s global network of experts, led by Co-Directors Norman Foster and Kent Larson. Each year, scholars will immerse themselves in three pilot cities, engaging directly with local planners and managers. The 2025 academic year will focus on African cities, one of the most challenging territories that also presents one of the greatest opportunities for urban development.

The 36-week programme is structured across three stages—Foundations, Transformations and Interventions—with time divided between studio and field work. The NFI City Lab supports scholars as they work on developing sustainability strategies for pilot cities using artificial intelligence, augmented reality and interactive interfaces. This is coupled with data-driven and evidence-based design methods, allowing scholars to explore, test and evaluate their interventions.

The course starts with tools and skills that can be used to address wide-ranging issues in cities, such as leadership, advocacy, communication, presentation, diagramming, mapping and the understanding and interpretation of data. These could be applicable to cities all over the world, as well as informal settlements and suburbia. Towards the end of the year, the scholars will present their findings to each city’s administration.

This programme is intended for those who seek a holistic approach to the design and management of cities. It welcomes graduate and postgraduate scholars along with professionals in various fields such as Anthropology, Architecture, Arts, Computer Science, Construction, Data Analytics, Design, Economics, Engineering, Environment, Geography, History, Law, Mathematics, Public Policy, Sociology, Transportation, Urbanism and other related disciplines.

The Norman Foster Institute provides a Master’s Degree Diploma for the Programme on Sustainable Cities, in partnership with the NFI’s Academic Partner, the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, signed by Co-Directors Norman Foster, President of the Norman Foster Foundation and Advocate of the United Nations Forum of Mayors and Kent Larson, Director of the City Science Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. Additionally, the diploma is signed by the NFI Provost, Prof. Edgar Pieterse, Founding Director of the African Centre for Cities (ACC), University of Cape Town and the Rector of Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Prof. Amaya Mendikoetxea.

Scholarships are awarded to talented applicants in need of financial support, based on merit, distinctive competencies, background and/or academic excellence.

The 2025 pilot cities, where scholars will work on site, and the full academic body list will be published later this year. As a point of reference, you can visit to learn more about the 2024 programme and academic body.

Applications are now open at The deadline for applications is 15 June 2024 at 24h00 CEST.

Norman Foster Foundation

The Norman Foster Foundation promotes interdisciplinary thinking and research to help new generations anticipate the future. The first mission of the Norman Foster Foundation is to make visible the centrality of architecture, infrastructure and urbanism for the betterment of society. To this end, the second mission is to encourage new thinking and research across traditional boundaries in order to help younger generations anticipate the challenges of future change. In particular, the Foundation speaks to those professionals who are concerned with the environment— architects, engineers, designers, urbanists, civic leaders, planners and artists. This is at the heart of the Foundation’s holistic approach to design and is ever more relevant as populations shift to cities. With the implications of climate change, robotics and artificial intelligence, sustainable design is not about fashion but about survival.

The Norman Foster Foundation operates from the United Kingdom, the United States and Spain with its headquarters based in Madrid.

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Norman Foster Institute

The Norman Foster Institute (NFI) is an initiative of the Norman Foster Foundation (NFF) addressed to those who wish, through practice or education, to improve the quality of life in cities worldwide. The creation of the NFI follows from the success of the NFF’s programme of workshops, bringing together experts from academia, practice and consulting to engage with top graduates from around the world. The NFI is aimed at unconventional thinkers seeking a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to the most pressing issues affecting our urban landscapes today.

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