Course Code: SC
Term: May 2017
Start Date: May 31 2017
End Date: Sep 6 2017
Duration: 14 weeks
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Cities are home to half the world’s seven billion people and contribute to about three-fourths 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 unresolvable 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, and thereby enable rural prosperity.
Recognising this, in September 2015, member-countries of the United Nations, adopted a historic stand-alone goal on Sustainable Cities “to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable“ by 2030, leaving no person, place and ecosystem behind.
This course explores what Sustainable cities are 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.
The course is delivered by global thought leaders and practitioners and aims to equip participants with an interdisciplinary understanding of contemporary thinking on, and practices related to Sustainable Cities. It blends practical experience and cases from cities and regions in five continents, along with urban theory to help develop an understanding of key issues and responses to the challenge of sustainable urbanisation.
The course is led and curated by Aromar Revi, Director of IIHS and 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 Goals (SDGs) process, linking it with climate change and disaster risk reduction that are brought together via emerging interdisciplinary domain of 'urban science'.
The course is structured around a series of pre-recorded lectures, readings, live webinars, quizzes, discussion forums, and other activities. Each of these course components can be completed at a time that is convenient for the student. The material for each week is made available each Wednesday (00:00 UTC), 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, leading urbanists will hold real-time webinars to enable participants to ask questions and engage directly with the questions of sustainability. These webinars will be announced 1-2 weeks in advance.
The estimated time commitment to complete all course components is 4-6 hours per module. This includes engaging with the required videos and readings and attempting the weekly quiz, webinars and participation in the discussion forum.
The gradable components of this course will only be based on the 'Required' video lectures and readings. There is no final examination or quiz. Assessments are continuous and are linked to quizzes at the end of every module.
The advanced content, will not be assessed, but is targeted at advanced practitioners and researchers with some prior experience of addressing urban sustainability.
All students who successfully complete the course will receive a digital certificate of completion, signed by the instructors. To successfully complete the course and receive a Certificate of Proficiency, students must score an average of 70% or higher on the quizzes. Students that score 85% or higher, will receive a Certificate of Proficiency 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.
If you have any additional questions on the course structure or requirements, please email the IIHS MOOC team at email@example.com or SDG Academy Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For technical questions about the platform, please email email@example.com.
Module 1: 31 May - 06 Jun 2017
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 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: 07 Jun - 13 Jun 2017
What makes a city function?
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
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
14 Jun - 20 Jun 2017
Module 3: 21 Jun - 27 Jun 2017
How can we reduce urban poverty and make cities inclusive and safe?
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
Chapter 7. Urban risks and vulnerabilities - Allan Lavell, FLASCO, San Jose
Module 4: 28 Jun - 04 Jul 2017
How can we make cities productive and reduce inequality?
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
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: 05 Jul - 11 Jul 2017
How can we improve human development in cities?
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
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
12 Jul - 18 Jul 2017
Module 6: 19 Jul - 25 Jul 2017
How can we provide universal urban services and infrastructure?
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
Chapter 5. Sustainable Transport Planning : Bangkok - Apiwat Ratanawaraha, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok
Module 7: 26 Jul - 01 Aug 2017
How can the urban environment be protected and cities be made resilient?
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
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, FLASCO, San Jose
Chapter 9. Post-disaster Recovery - Kamal Kishore, National Disaster Management Authority, Delhi
02 Aug - 08 Aug 2017
CATCH-UP WEEK - 3
Module 8: 09 Aug - 15 Aug 2017
How can cities and urban areas be governed better to make them more sustainable?
Chapter 1. SDGs and other global processes - Aromar Revi, IIHS, Bangalore
Chapter 2. New forms of institutions and 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
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: 16 Aug - 22 Aug 2017
Who can enable and implement this change?
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. Urban innovation: community-based organisations and civil society: Case of SDI - Sheela Patel, SDI/SPARC, Mumbai
Chapter 4. UN-Habitat & International Development and Financing agencies - Eduardo Moreno, UN-Habitat, Nairobi
Chapter 5. Implementing Urban Sustainability - Aromar Revi, IIHS
Chapter 6: International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and Urban Sustainability - Gino Van Begin, ICLEI
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
23 Aug - 05 Sep 2017
CLOSING WEEKS (to complete quizzes and post-course survey)
Curator and Lead Faculty - Aromar Revi
Programme Coordinator - Garima Jain
Media Directors - Subasri Krishnan and Yashodara Udupa
Teaching Assistant - Niyati Dave
Camera - Kunal Deshpande, Yashodara Udupa and Zohrab Reys Gamat
Additional Camera: Isaac Berner
Light Assistance: Shekhar
Sound: Jamie D’silva and Rakesh U.P.
Additional Sound - Kunal Deshpande, Subasri Krishnan, Zohrab Reys Gamat
Editing - Sandhya Kumar, Vinay Ghodgeri, Yashodara Udupa and Zohrab Reys Gamat
Additional Editing - Sandeep Viswanath
Graphics - Radhamohini Prasad
Additional Assistance with Graphics - Arindam Jana, Charrlotte Adelina P, Mohan Raju JS
Video and Sound Post-Production - Pradeep Nayak
Research Assistance - Aishwarya Balasubramanian, Ana Abbas, Anushree Deb, Amrita Chattopadhyay, Jaikishan Agarwal, Jessica George, Rahael Kuruvilla, Sarita Pillay, Sushmita Ramoji, Suman Barat, Teja Malladi
Additional Content Assistance - Neha Sami
Word Edit Support - Rekha Raghunathan, Nishtha Vadehra
Production - Ananth Kumar, Kailash Singh Rawat, Neelufer Aslam, Pancham Singh Rawat, Puttaswamy, Sanjay Kumar Pal, Sreejith Suresh
Location Production Assistance: Alicia Fortuin, Sfanele Ntuli, Siphiwe 'Zane' Silinda
Legal Assistance - Amlanjyoti Goswami, Kaye Lushington, Amrita Basu Mallik, Karuna Sharma
Transcription - Anurag Dasgupta, Asha Mavinasara, Masoom Parmar, Nikita Vidhyalankar, Satyavrat Krishnakumar, Shaurya Singh, Teesta Krishnan Sinha
Translations (Hindi) - Communication for Development and Learning (CDL)
Equipment hire - Adams, Vineet Videos, Wildclickz
African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town (UCT)
Columbia University, Earth Institute
Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales(FLACSO)
ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
Mistra Urban Futures
Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR)
Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)
Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)
SEWA Bharat - All India Federation of Self Employed Women’s Association
Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI)
The New School University
United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)
Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO)
Angshuman Das; David McEwen; Holger Kuhle; Jahnavi G.H.; Mohammad Fayaz; Capt. K Pooja Vasanth (Retd); Rebecca Heines ; Sandeep Kumar Mitra; Swastik Harish; Varalakshmi; Vidya Jindal
Chandrika Bahadur for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) SDG Academy
This course was made possible through the generous support provided to the SDG Academy by the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation
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