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Laying the cornerstone
Practical experience in real-world conditions
The group project is one of the highlights of the course and spans the whole of the first year. From October to June, students work on a real commission from a public or private organisation on an urban or regional issue (housing, land use, economic development, transport, mobility, etc.).
Each team of four or five students spends one and a half days a week on the project, working under the supervision of a tutor specialised in the topic. The tutor provides methodological expertise and academic guidance.
Testimonials: an enriching, formative experience
Léa Delmas, former student:
"The group project is a rare opportunity in an academic setting to get in touch with the workplace – its actors, its demands and the sort of attitude to adopt, which is different from a student's – yet with strong guidance from the tutor and academic staff, which enables us to make significant progress. For me, the group project is one of the main strengths of the Master's programme, as it is firmly rooted in the professional world and the issues of urban dynamics."
Josselin Marc, 2nd year Master's student :
"It is a very enriching moment which allows to go out of the usual format of the lessons to develop other skills and knowledge. A form of surpassesing oneself related to the pressure of the order and the teamwork."
Sophia Bouferrou, 2nd year Master's student :
"The group project allows to discover the requirements of the professional world. He also establishes a strong experience on the relational plan, at the same time with the other members of the group, the tutor, the sponsor and the listeners specifically for our project."
Highly committed tutors
The commissioning organisation plays a key role in the Urban School's educational approach, and benefits from the results of work rigorously conducted by students under the supervision of a specialist practitioner.
The end product of the groups' work ("deliverables") can take many forms: reports & presentations, videos, public presentations, exhibitions or the organisation of field study visits.
Élodie Parier, specialist in financial management for public sector contracts, director of Dé.FI.:
"Very high standards and sustained work on a project over the whole academic year force students to outdo themselves. It is wonderful to see how far they come in nine months! Every time, I've felt the satisfaction of having played a part in the students' growth, as they are placed in a professional situation as much to hone their soft skills as their expertise."
Jean Fabien Steck, Lecturer at Université Paris 10:
"Through the group project, students to learn to work on complex problems by implementing work methods that are new to them."
Antoine Frémont, SNCF Réseau, commissioning organisation for group projects:
"With the group project, students behave like real professionals working in a design and engineering firm. They are faced with a client's brief. They take it on board, decode it, clarify it. For the client, it is a good way to explore new avenues as there is often a hefty dose of originality."
A few examples of deliverables
- Haropa Ports de Paris (PDF in French, 3.4 Mo) - Redevelopment project for the "centre de vie" area of the Port de Gennevilliers
- Société du Grand Paris (PDF in French, 5.4 Mo) (SGP) - An expanded metropolis: sensitive integration of the station districts of Greater Paris
- Conseil Régional Ile de France (PDF in French, 2.8 Mo) (Ile de France Regional Council, CRIF) - Social clauses: assessment and prospects for the Ile de France Region
Promotion of the projects by commissioning organisations
- An article appeared in Les Échos on 1 October 2014 (in French) about a group project on social employment clauses conducted for the Ile de France Regional Council.
- Group project "How urban data is reinventing mobility" : presentation of 10 june 2014 (in French) (commissioned by La Fabrique de la Cité).