MSc City and Urban Environment
Architecture, Ambiances, Urbanity (U-ENV AAU)

NB This specialism is no longer on offer after the 2023/24 academic year.

Programme Objectives

This City and Urban Environment specialism offers a world-class education to future engineers and town planners by providing the skills necessary to address environmental and health issues in the context of sustainable urban development, in research and in urban design.

The programme is designed to provide scientific theoretical knowledge and tools necessary to understand and address the environmental physical problems resulting from the ever increasing urban population. Various key disciplines such as urban microclimatology, wind and ventilation in urban areas, human ecology of urban spaces, sunlight and illumination are taught through advanced lectures and research work in laboratories renowned in these fields.

The programme of study lasts two academic years - denoted by M1 and M2 and is taught in English. It comprises three study semesters followed by a paid Master's thesis / internship in the final semester.

Our Master's programmes in City and Urban Environment are fully accredited by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

Contribution to sustainable development goals



Learn more about Centrale Nantes' commitment to the 17 sustainable development goals
Course Content

30 ECTS Credits per semester.
Language of instruction: English

M1 Year - 2023/24
Autumn Semester Courses ECTS  Spring Semester Courses  ECTS
Fluid mechanics 1  5 Hydrology and transfers in soils  5
Algorithmics for Engineering Modelling  4 Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics  5
Energetics and building heat transfers  5 Urban Realities Review  5
Introduction to Geographic Information Sciences  5 Urban Management and Planning  4
Introduction to research  5 History of the city  5
Business Environment  4 Social sciences for the city  4
Modern Languages *  2 Modern Languages *  2
Conferences  0

* 'French as Foreign Language' except for French native speakers who will study 'Cultural and Communicational English' or Spanish (depending on sufficient demand).

NB Course content may be subject to minor changes
M2 Year - 2023/24
Autumn Semester Courses ECTS
Research methods and practice 4
Ambiance, ambiances 5
Urban project 1: theoretical approach and environmental indicators  4
Urban project 2: design and evaluation 5
Urban environment 1: sunlight & sound environment 5
Urban environment 2: wind & microclimate 5
Modern Languages * 2
Conferences 0

* 'French as Foreign Language' except for French native speakers who will study 'Cultural and Communicational English' or Spanish (depending on sufficient demand).
NB Course content may be subject to minor changes.
Spring Semester ECTS
Master thesis / internship                                                    30

Examples of previous internships in industry/research labs:

  • Thermal comfort of pedestrians in urban outdoor spaces: simplified model for predicting mean radiant temperature
  • Research and outlook for the implementation of desilting in Guangzhou as part of Sino-French cooperation
  • Urban Biodiversity in South America: Exploring Public Space in the Brazilian City
  • (Re)Generation of an obsolete urban structure: the redevelopment of the Source district in Orleans

NB Internships undertaken in France are strictly regulated and are only open to current full-time students of an accredited educational institution. Interns are entitled to all the rights guaranteed to regular employees (such as social protection and redress mechanisms). For internships that exceed two months in duration a minimum level of remuneration is set by the government, at approximately €600 per month. In some professional branches, this amount may be higher.I
Skills developed
  • Understand and master the theoretical and methodological foundations of urban environments through the problematic of ambiances.
  • Master the physical phenomena that contribute to the comfort and to the perception of the developed or built environment.
  • Know how to characterise urban ambiances.

In addition to the above specialism-specific skills, students will also develop more general skills:

  • Express assumptions to analyse and solve a problem
  • Communicate comprehensive results in a meaningful way
  • Undertake bibliographic surveys of international research and professional literature
  • Carry out an urban project through its environmental challenges

Download syllabus | City and Urban Environment - Architecture, Ambiances, Urbanity

Facilities and Partnerships


This City and Urban Environment programme is taught by faculty at Centrale Nantes and at ensa Nantes (School of Architecture).


Focus on unique resources

CORAULIS at ensa Nantes - Observation centre in augmented reality and sound immersion site

Virtual reality immersion is destined to be one of the major knowledge vectors of tomorrow. It offers numerous possibilities for exploring the sensitive dimensions of past, present and future architectural and urban projects, and for taking up the challenge of innovative and participative approaches to design, training and creation, in situ, at a distance and in a network.

In this context, CORAULIS offers a new mode of representation of the city to architects, urban planners, researchers, teachers, students and artists: it is adapted to research on the sensory experience in built environments, techniques of visualization and analysis of urban projects, etc. The platform lends itself to all the research and developments that deal with experience in virtual environments and is also an innovative training tool.

Learn more
After the MSc

Career Prospects

  • Sectors: urban planning and design; urban environment
  • Fields: urban planning, microclimatology, comfort in urban areas
  • Positions: urban planner in consulting office or groups specialized in environmental engineering; assistance to contracting authorities; research and academia (post PhD)

Where are they now?

► Find out what our recent MSc graduates are doing now
Meet the Programme Supervisors

Pascal Joanne U-ENV AAU

Pascal Joanne, M2 Programme Supervisor AAU

Pascal Joanne is a qualified architect with a PhD in engineering sciences, (architecture option). He is a lecturer at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Nantes. His research work in the Crenau research centre
focuses on the restitution of the sound ambiences of remarkable spaces and architecture, in particular Cistercian buildings of the Middle Ages.


Laurent Perret

Laurent Perret, M1 Programme Supervisor City and Urban Environment

Laurent Perret is an associate professor in the Department of Fluid Mechanics and Energetics at Centrale Nantes. He is mainly involved in courses on fluid mechanics, micro-meteorology, turbulence and experimental methods. His research activities at the LHEEA lab focus on the study and modeling of the interactions between the lower atmosphere and urban surfaces.

Isabelle Calmet, Programme Supervisor City and Urban Environment

Isabelle Calmet is a professor in the Department of Fluid Mechanics and Energetics. Her research in the LHEEA Lab focuses on the multi-scale modeling of atmospheric boundary layer flows, the study of urban microclimate and the characterization of dynamic and thermodynamic interactions between urban or coastal surfaces and the atmosphere.

Published on April 13, 2017 Updated on June 10, 2024