Course content

Course content Smart Sustainable Cities

The heart of this course consists of real life, multidisciplinary projects, commissioned by municipalities (Finland – Turku, Spain – Alcoy and the Netherlands – Utrecht). Six course modules give you the knowledge, skills and attitude to learn how to realize sustainable cities and techniques that are essential for this type of project work. The total size of the programme is 30 ECTS.

You will learn about

  1. What are sustainable cities and how can we understand them (Introductory Module)
  2. How to find creative solutions to realize sustainable cities (Methodology Module)
  3. What is the social design of a Sustainable City and how can we help develop an optimal social city climate. (Social Design Module)
  4. How to realize the physical transition towards a sustainable city – and which knowledge is needed for that (Physical Transition Module)
  5. What entrepreneurial and innovation skills are needed to make a city function in a sustainable way (Entrepreneurship Module)
  6. How to combine all this information to improve the city of your choice by doing field research in that city: find solutions for the real problems (Project Module)

The course modules

Smart Sustainable Cities Introduction (2,5 ECTS)
Achieving a ‘smart’ or ‘sustainable’ city is a goal perused by various disciplines, such as urban planning, economy, social sciences and engineering. In order to enable students to cooperate interdisciplinary, this course will create a common understanding of the definitions, state of the art, needs, challenges and disciplines interlinked in smart and sustainable cities.

Methodology (2,5 ECTS)
In the context of sustainable cities, we see more and more complex challenges. With a large number of stakeholders and influencers, it can be very difficult to solve the issues addressed. In order to come up with innovative solutions for these complex challenges we need a more creative and fundamental approach. This course will focus on knowing and applying the design process, including: reframing the initial question (challenge the task given), using generative techniques to come up with a variety of ideas (come up with new, fresh, and different ideas), and using co-design techniques to involve the user early in the design process (learn from their experiences, help validate your concepts).

Social Design (5 ECTS)
This course is about the social building blocks of sustainable cities: what is needed to make sustainable communities prosper and how can people be involved in new sustainable initiatives? Not only on the city scale, but also from a global perspective.

Physical Transition (5 ECTS)
This course integrates all the city stocks and flows related to the making, management and renovation of smart sustainable cities into a simulation model for evaluating the overall sustainable performance of the future smart city which will provide the basic criteria for the decision making processes.

Entrepreneurship (5 ECTS)
Achieving a ‘smart’ or ‘sustainable’ city demands innovative contributions from the public and private sectors and the social economy. This module is about new forms of entrepreneurship and innovation to contribute to realizing a Smart Sustainable City. The overall aim is to improve the level of skills in students for employability and new business creation in a sustainability context. At the end there will be a five day intensive “boot camp” and start-up competition.

The Smart Sustainable City Project (10 ECTS)
The needs and the competencies needed in the working life are in a continuous change. In addition to substance, customer-based thinking, creativity, co-operation skills and tolerating dissimilarity and uncertainty is needed. Also networking, innovation and business skills will be emphasized in the future. During this course the students will be competing in multidisciplinary and multicultural groups in the International Smart Sustainable City (SSC) Competition. Municipalities will provide the real life assignments related on SSC. The project includes 3 weeks of fieldwork in the city of your choice. The final week will be the Competition on Smart Sustainable Cities in the Netherlands.