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Sustainable Cities

SDG Academy

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Overview

Cities are home to half the world’s seven billion people and contribute to about 75% of global economic output. An additional three billion people are estimated to live in cities by 2050, increasing the urban share of the world’s population to two-thirds. 

Yet, cities and urban areas across the world face major challenges: poverty, unemployment, poor housing and lack of basic services for over 1 billion slum dwellers, constraints on productivity due to lack of basic infrastructure, and a concentration risk due to natural disasters and climate change. This classical view of the city, as a site of inextricable problems has inhibited interest and investment in them as sites of opportunity and change.  

Sustainable cities build on the extraordinary potential of urban areas to enable change due to concentration of economic activity, innovation and job creation; the potential for social transformation, high levels of concentration of culture, people, infrastructure and buildings and the ability to redefine the relationship between rural and urban, to enable rural prosperity. 

Recognising this, in September 2015, member-countries of the United Nations, adopted a historic stand-along goal on Sustainable Cities “to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable“ by 2030, leaving no person and no place behind.  

This course explores what Sustainable cities are all about. It examines how urban sustainability can be delivered: how cities function as systems of systems; how we can increase urban productivity and reduce urban poverty and inequality, enable urban inclusion and safety; provide universal basic services, housing and infrastructure; protect the urban environment, reduce risk and vulnerability . It further explores what actions need to be taken to improve urban governance and financing for sustainable development and key institutions and agents that can make this possible. 

Course Objectives & Delivery Team

The course delivered by global thought leaders and practitioners aims to equip participants with an interdisciplinary understanding of thinking and practices on Sustainable Cities. It blends practical experiences and cases from cities and regions in five continents, along with urban theory to help develop an understanding of the key issues and responses to the challenge of sustainable urbanisation. 

 

The course is led and curated by Aromar Revi, Director of IIHS, members of the Urban SDG Campaign and leading urbanists.  Members of this delivery team were involved in bringing Sustainable Cities into the heart of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) process. 

 

 

Course Structure and Requirements

The course is structured around a series of pre-recorded lectures, readings, quizzes, discussion forums, and other activities. Each of these course components can be completed at a time that is convenient for the student, and most quizzes and timed activities are given a two-week window for completion. The material for each week is made available each Tuesday, and once the material has been opened, it remains open for the duration of the course. There are no written assignments for this course.

 

In addition to the asynchronous components of the course, the instructors will hold real-time Google Hangouts to encourage students to ask questions and engage directly with the instructors. These Hangouts will be announced 1-2 weeks in advance. The estimated time commitment to complete all course components is 4-6 hours per week, though this depends heavily on the student and her objectives in taking the course.

 

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a digital certificate of completion, signed by the instructors. In order to successfully complete the course, students must score an average of 70% or higher on the quizzes and final exam, all of which are multiple choice. Students that score 85% or higher will receive certificates of completion with distinction. While this course is not credit granting, we encourage students to work with their own institutions to explore the option of granting credit for online coursework. 

 

Syllabus


Module 1: 02 April - 08 April 2018
The Urban Opportunity
Required
Chapter 1. The Urban Opportunity (I&II) - Aromar Revi, Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), Bangalore
Chapter 2. Cities as centers of cultural and social transformation (I&II)- Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 3. The challenge of urban politics, planning and governance (I&II) - Edgar Pieterse, UCT, ACC, Cape Town
Advanced
Chapter 4. Urban research and methods - Eugenie Birch, University of Pennsylvania, Penn IUR, Philadelphia
Chapter 5. Urban theory and history - Susan Parnell, University of Cape Town, African Center for Cities, Cape Town

Module 2: 09 April - 15 April 2018
What makes a city function?
Required
Chapter 1. Understanding Urban Systems - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 2. Municipal, Regional and National governance - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 3. Urban Utilities and Services - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 4. Urban Public Finance and Taxation - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 5. Law, order and conflict - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Advanced
Chapter 6. Land Management and Planning - Raf Tuts, UN-Habitat, Nairobi Chapter
Chapter 7. How cities function: Lessons from London and Mumbai - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore

16 April - 22 April 2018
CATCH-UP WEEK-1

Module 3: 23 April - 29 April 2018
How can we reduce urban poverty and make cities inclusive and safe?
Required
Chapter 1.What is urban poverty? - David Satterthwaite, International Institute for Environmental Development, London
Chapter 2. New ways to measure urban poverty - David Satterthwaite, International Institute for Environmental Development, London
Chapter 3. Cities as sites for poverty reduction - William Cobbett, Cities Alliance, Brussels
Chapter 4. What is affordable and adequate housing? - Gautam Bhan, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 5. Who can deliver the housing we need? - Gautam Bhan, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 6. Safety and violence - Joshua Castellino, Middlesex University, School of Law, London
Advanced
Chapter 7. Urban risks and vulnerabilities - Allan Lavell, FLASCO, San Jose

Module 4: 30 April - 06 May 2018
How can we make cities productive and reduce inequality?
Required
Chapter 1. Cities as loci of production and consumption - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 2. Women in the Informal Economy - Renana Jhabvala, WIEGO/SEWA Bharat, Delhi
Chapter 3. Migration, mobility and the urban-rural continuum - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 4. Wealth and inequality in urban areas - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Advanced
Chapter 5. Case Study of SEWA, India - Renana Jhabvala, WIEGO/SEWA Bharat, Delhi
Chapter 6. Migration and the refugee crisis - Clare Short, Cities Alliance (CA), Manchester

Module 5: 07 May - 13 May 2018
How can we improve human development in cities?
Required
Chapter 1. Addressing the Challenges of Urban Public health - Srinath Reddy, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Delhi
Chapter 2. Health services and planning solutions for improving urban health - Srinath Reddy, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Delhi
Chapter 3. Education and skills - Chandrika Bahadur, SDG Academy, Delhi
Chapter 4. Higher education in Cities - Chandrika Bahadur, SDG Academy, Delhi
Chapter 5. Gender in the city - Gautam Bhan, IIHS, Bangalore
Advanced
Chapter 6. Human rights and justice - Joshua Castellino, Middlesex University, School Law, London
Chapter 7. Law and Equality - Joshua Castellino, Middlesex University, School Law, London
Chapter 8. Apartheid and Planning in South African Cities - Susan Parnell, University of Cape Town, ACC, Cape Town

Module 6: 14 May - 20 May 2018
How can we provide universal urban services and infrastructure?
Required
Chapter 1. Sustainable environmental services and infrastructure- Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 2. Sustainable Transport planning- Peter Newman, Curtin University, Perth
Chapter 3. Information, Communication, and Technology- Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University, New York
Chapter 4. Sustainable Urban energy systems- Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Advanced
Chapter 5. Sustainable Transport Planning : Bangkok - Apiwat Ratanawaraha, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok

21 May - 27 May 2018
CATCH-UP WEEK-2

Module 7: 28 May - 03 June 2018
How can the urban environment be protected, and cities be made resilient?
Required
Chapter 1. Air, water, food and natural resources - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 2. Urban agriculture for sustainable cities - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 3. How do cities accumulate risk exposure? - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 4. Climate impacts, adaptation and mitigation - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 5. Building Urban Resilience - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Advanced
Chapter 6. Environmental planning, management and the politics of change- Raf Tuts, UN-Habitat, Nairobi
Chapter 7. Sustainable environmental practices: Durban- Debra Roberts, EThekwini Municipality, Durban
Chapter 8. Urban Disaster Risk Management - Allan Lavell, FLACSO, San Jose
Chapter 9. Post-disaster Recovery - Kamal Kishore, National Disaster Management Authority, India, Delhi

Module 8: 04 June - 10 June 2018
How can cities and urban areas be governed better to make them more sustainable?
Required
Chapter 1. SDGs and other global processes - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 2. New institutions and forms governance - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 3. Public participation and democracy (I&II) - Edgar Pieterse, UCT, African Center for Cities, Cape Town
Chapter 4. Financing Sustainable Development- Michael Cohen, The New School University, New York
Advanced
Chapter 5. Measuring and monitoring the SDGs - Eduardo Moreno, UN-Habitat, Nairobi
Chapter 6. Addressing the Opportunities of Secondary Cities - David Simon, Mistra Urban Futures, London

Module 09: 11 June - 17 June 2018
Who can enable and implement this change?
Required
Chapter 1. Who are helping make cities more sustainable? - Aromar Revi, IIHS
Chapter 2. United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and Urban Sustainability - Edgardo Bilsky, UCLG, Barcelona
Chapter 3: International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and Urban Sustainability - Gino Van Begin, ICLEI
Chapter 4. UN-Habitat & International Development and Financing agencies - Eduardo Moreno, UN-Habitat, Nairobi
Chapter 5. Implementing Urban Sustainability - Aromar Revi, IIHS
Chapter 6. Urban innovation: community-based organisations and civil society: Case of SDI - Sheela Patel, SDI/SPARC, Mumbai
Advanced
Chapter 7. Local leadership: a case study of Melbourne - John Thwaites, Monash University, Melbourne
Chapter 8. International Climate Action: A Case of Chinese Cities - Seth Schultz, C40 Cities, New York

18 June - 02 July 2018
CLOSING WEEKS (to complete quizzes and post-course survey)

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