Coursera: Management of Urban Infrastructures – part 1

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#2 in Subjects > Social Sciences > Urban Planning

Sustainability, Resilience and Efficiency are fundamental considerations for city managers in managing urban infrastructures. Today, more than 3.9 billion people, making up more than 54% of the global population, live in cities. Urbanization is expected to continue in the coming years, raising the urban population to 6.0 billion by 2045. This dramatic increase in urban populations will inevitably increase the demand for energy, mobility (transportation), water, and other urban services in every city around the world. Without functional governance and management structures that ensure efficient, resilient and sustainable performance in cities, the current urbanization growth might become a catastrophic risk threatening the quality of life of the humanity.

Sustainable development in 21st century can only be realized by introducing innovations in both management and operations of urban infrastructures systems. Developing management practices that effectively integrates the processes of urban planning with urban infrastructures planning and management is a challenging goal that many cities are struggling with nowadays, but is a must for transforming cities to sustainable and resilient engines of growth in both developing and developed economies.
This course will provide you with the basic principles of urban infrastructure management that are fundamental for building prosperous cities that are sustainable, resilient and efficient.

In order to obtain a certificate for this course, the participants have to pass four graded quizzes and complete four mandatory assignments, plus a final exam. In addition to the graded assignments students have the option to write a 7-10 page peer-reviewed case study about management of energy OR transportation system in their city (on your own choice).
The best case studies will be also evaluated by our jury at IGLUS and the authors of the 3 best case studies will win a full tuition fee waiver scholarship to enroll in the IGLUS professional training program in Spring 2017.

You can also pre-enroll in our upcoming MOOC on Smart Cities now. Find our more here:


Block 1 - Introduction to Urban Infrastructures - Introduction to MUI MOOC
Welcome to the 1st block: an Introduction to Urban Infrastructures. In this block we will start by exploring the key challenges faced by urban infrastructures (1-2), and then we will learn about the main urban infrastructure systems (1-3), and their main dimensions (1-4). Finally, Mr. Vincent Lusser will provide us with a practitioner’s perspective on urban infrastructures (1-5). To complete this block, first watch the five videos, and visit the discussion forum where other learners and our TA team will answer any questions and facilitate a debate on the concepts treated in the section. After watching the videos, make sure to read the reading assigned for the block. In it, you will find a summary of the lecture content, and an illustrative case study of the urban infrastructure challenges facing Mexico City, the largest urban agglomeration in the Western hemisphere. Finally, when you feel ready, complete the quiz “What did I learn in Block 1?” to assess your knowledge, and Short Answer Assignment 1, to apply what you have learned to your own city.

Block 2 - Introduction to Principles of Urban Infrastructure Management
Welcome to the 2nd block: an Introduction to Principles of Urban Infrastructure Management. In this block, we first answer the question: “What do urban infrastructure managers do?” (2-1), and then we study how to manage different stakeholders and their associated performance objectives (2-2). Next, we will learn about the main dimensions for urban infrastructure management (2-3), the main schools of thought in managing urban infrastructure systems (2-4), and we will finish with an interview with Mr. Christoph Rothballer, from Boston Consulting Group (2-5). Once you have watched the five videos in this block, you may want to visit the discussion forums where you can express your doubts and debate the contents of the lectures. In the 2nd block reading, you will find a summary of the lecture content, and a dramatic illustrative case study that explores the challenges in supplying drinking water in Detroit. Finally, asses your knowledge of the block’s concepts in the quiz “What did I learn in Block 2?”, and answer the Short Answer Assignment 2 to explore how the concepts apply to your city.

Block 3 - Introduction to Urban Energy Management
Welcome to the 3rd block: an Introduction to Urban Energy Management. We now move into the two last blocks, which deal with specific urban infrastructure systems, in this case, the urban electricity system. First we will be introduced to urban energy infrastructures (3-1), we will then move on to understanding urban electricity systems (3-2). We will then learn how to manage urban electricity systems (3-3) and discover what challenges and opportunities must be confronted (3-4). Finally, an interview with Mr. Thierry Clement, from Veolia, will provide us with the perspective of a leading utility firm (3-5). After watching the five videos in this block, visit the discussion forums to solve your doubts or express your thoughts on the lecture content. In the 3rd block reading you will find a summary of the lecture content, and an illustrative case study exploring the transition towards a sustainable urban energy system in Copenhagen. Finally, test your knowledge of the block’s concepts in the quiz “What did I learn in Block 3?”, and answer Short Answer Assignment 3 and discover the urban electricity system in your city.

Block 4 - Introduction to Urban Transport Management
Welcome to the 4th block: an Introduction to Urban Transport Management. In this block, we will study the ever-important urban transportation system. We will begin with an introduction to urban transportation systems (4-1), and then we will learn how to manage urban transportation systems (4-2). Prof. Robert E. Paaswell, from the City University of New York, will lecture us on the challenges of managing urban transport (4-3), and Mr. Beat Muller, from CarPostal, will complement Prof. Paaswell’s views, but from the practitioner perspective (4-4). Finally we will address the broader challenges of urban transportation (4-5), and conclude the MOOC with a short wrap up (4-6). After watching the six intense videos in this block, go visit the discussion forums to solve any doubts or simply share your comments on the topic of the lecture. You will find a summary of the content, as well as an illustrative case study on the revolutionary transformation of Seoul’s transport system in the 4th block reading. To conclude the block, test your knowledge in the quiz “What did I learn in Block 4?”, and answer Short Answer Assignment 4 to investigate how the concepts on urban transportation apply to your city.

Finishing the MOOC
You are almost done! The last step to finish the required coursework of this MOOC is to take the final exam. We also encourage you to take on the optional challenge of writing a peer-reviewed case study about your own city to win the big prize of the MUI MOOC !

2 Student
Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
Subject Urban Planning
Provider Coursera
Language English
Certificates Paid Certificate Available
Calendar 5 weeks long
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MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These are free online courses from universities around the world (eg. Stanford Harvard MIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
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2 reviews for Coursera's Management of Urban Infrastructures – part 1

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2 years ago
Sara J. Carvajal completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
This has been one of my favorite moocs ever. The course tries to give a comprehensible overview of what it means to manage urban infrastructures and to understand your city a bit more along the way. I hope they make a second part.
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