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.
Module 1: 15 Nov - 21 Nov 2016
LECTURE 1 The Urban Opportunity
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
Chapter 4. Urban theory and history - Susan Parnell, University of Cape Town, African Center for Cities, Cape Town
Chapter 5. Understanding Urban Systems - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Module 2: 22 Nov - 28 Nov 2016
LECTURE 2 How does the city function?
Chapter 1a. Municipal, regional and national governance - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 1b. Lessons from London and Mumbaion how cities function - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 2. Land Management and planning (I&II) - Raf Tuts, UN-Habitat, Nairobi
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These arefree online courses from universities around the world (eg. StanfordHarvardMIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
How do I register?
To register for a course, click on "Go to Class" button on the course page. This will take you to the providers website where you can register for the course.
How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you. They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.