• Course Code:  C21

  • Term:  Spring 2017

  • Open for Enrollment

  • Self-paced

  • Course Author(s)
    Professor Jeffrey Sachs
Mooc14 course card

Cities and the Challenge of Sustainable Development

Spring 2017

  • Sdg academy website announcment
    The SDG Academy Team


Cities are a core component of the UN’s 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. This mini-series is a companion piece to the SDG Academy's full-length Sustainable Cities course and also serves as a brief introduction to the topic of urban sustainable development and the SDGs. 

From the inclusion of SDG 11 to the emphasis on subnational actors, cities are increasingly recognized as key players in achieving the SDGs. In these five lectures aptly titled, Cities and the Challenge of Sustainable Development, Professor Jeffrey Sachs asks the questions: What does it mean to be a ‘sustainable city’ in the 21st century? And what types of challenges do local governments face in adapting to new technologies, energy systems, modes of transportation and more?


Join Professor Sachs as he delves into the challenges and opportunities that cities face in the 21st century. Whether you are an alumnus of our Sustainable Cities course, or a current student, or fresh to this field - there is something here for anyone interested in the future of our cities!


Note: This is an SDG Academy mini-series. Unlike traditional full-length online courses, a mini-series is much shorter in length and will be made available in its entirety on the launch date.


Course Outline

Part 1:  Introduction to the SDGs

Part 2:  Why Cities? The Importance of SDG 11

Part 3:  The 10-point Agenda for 21st Century Cities

Part 4:  Urban Environment and Energy Systems 

Part 5:  Cities as Hubs of Knowledge



Because this is offered as a mini-series, there are no quizzes or assessments, and no certificates will be offered upon completion. Our objective with this mini-series is to encourage a protracted dialogue about the many recent developments relating to SDG 11 and the notion of a 21st century city. We encourage you to use the discussion forum to share your thoughts and ideas with other students from around the world. We hope that this course is helpful for students who are unable to participate in the full-length Sustainable Cities MOOC.


About the Instructor

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries. He is the co-recipient of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, the leading global prize for environmental leadership. He has twice been named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders. He was called by the New York Times, “probably the most important economist in the world,” and by Time Magazine “the world’s best known economist.” A recent survey by The Economist Magazine ranked Professor Sachs as among the world’s three most influential living economists of the past decade.



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Cities and the Challenge of Sustainable Development


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