This article was written during Roberto's second year in MSc MADE. He has completed his studies and is now an MSc MADE alumnus.

Can you give a short introduction of yourself in terms of education and work experience?

My name is Roberto, I am a second-year MSc MADE student. I studied at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) of Mexico and graduated as an architect. After graduation, I worked for several architecture firms on a multitude of projects on different scales. There I became more aware of the importance of design-driven innovation, as well as the value of a multidisciplinary approach when solving problems.

What do you think of the MSc MADE program so far?

At the moment, I’m in the final stage of the Living Lab course. I am working on a project in which we are adopting a digital mapping methodology provided by MIT’s Senseable City Lab to the City of Amsterdam. This project allows us to interact with a diversity of stakeholders, from the municipality to scholars, to citizens, creating a solution together. The MSc MADE program teaches you to bring together different interests and create concrete outputs. The knowledge we attain on data-driven solutions and design becomes even more valuable when interacting with actors of a multitude of backgrounds.

How did you find out about this program, and why did you think this program was suited for you?

A couple of years ago, I was looking for a way to upgrade my knowledge on sustainable projects and urban environments. I was looking for a master’s program that would allow me to continue applying my background in design without limiting me into the urban planner’s box. When I found the MADE program at a Dutch’s University Fair in Mexico City, I completely fell in love with the multidisciplinary approach to solve urban challenges. The flexibility that the program gives you to incorporate your background knowledge into this process allows you to grow, but also learn from the many perspectives of your peers.

Could you tell us something about the study program and your personal choices in this?

One of the strengths of the program is the elective periods in which you are allowed to take several courses at the TU Delft or University of Wageningen. This flexibility allows you to tailor your profile as a professional. I was especially interested in the course ‘Inequality in cities’ taught at the Architecture Faculty of TU Delft which highlights how design and people-based solutions need to work hand in hand to achieve real impact.

Also, I was lucky enough to participate in the Urban Greenhouse Challenge from Wageningen University, an international competition in which we were asked to bring professional food production back into a specific urban setting, in this case, the Greater Bay Area in Dongguan China. We achieved this by integrating social, economic, environmental, and technical aspects in a coherent playful concept: The Turtle, which obtained 3rd place in the competition.

Which part of your study did you find the most interesting (so far)? Which courses did you like best?

All courses have been fascinating, besides the Greenhouse Challenge and the elective period, my favorite course was Metropolitan Solutions where I and my fellow MADE students were able to apply the knowledge acquired during the elective period into a real-life case in the city of Amsterdam. This year, we worked on answering the question: ‘how to make the quay walls of the city of Amsterdam climate resilience?’ We created a multi-perspective toolbox to be implemented into the renewal of the quay walls.

How do you experience studying at AMS Institute instead of the Wageningen or Delft campus? (Location-wise and in terms of collaboration with the AMS Institute).

The fact that you are so close to talented researchers doing incredible work on topics ranging from water resilience to air quality, to mobility, is amazing! This was especially helpful during our course on Entrepreneurship, where we operationalized this knowledge into actual sustainable businesses, and got coached by them. Also, the AMS location is such a unique spot in the city of Amsterdam! During the warm days, we managed to go out for a swim in the Marineterrein, and went for a beer at Homeland.

What do you think of student life in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is such a vibrant city, from museums to bars. Experiencing this with my fellow students has been a blast, I have developed deep bonds. Even now, during COVID times, just to be able to cycle around empty streets and enjoy the city’s architecture is impressive.