Smart Sustainable Cities

The smart sustainable city

Since the beginning of the 21st Century the majority of the world population lives in an urban area. That is not so strange, because cities are the attractive places where more and more people want to live, work and relax. Cities are increasingly becoming the ‘engine of our economy’; Cities are the creative spots where you can develop yourself; and Cities offer art, entertainment, and culture.

However, there are also important challenges for the cities of the future. How do we solve problems related to energy, mobility and waste in the city? How do we ensure that new innovative business will provide sufficient employment in the city? How do we ensure inclusiveness, participation and tolerance in the city? How can we solve that in a smart way, for example with the help of ICT?

These questions challenge us to develop integrated sustainable solutions for economic, social and environmental problems. The future of humankind depends to a great extent on whether we will be able to boost the sustainable development of cities. Are you concerned? Please join the minor programme on Smart Sustainable Cities (30 ECTS) and become the smart sustainable city professional of the future.

Course structure

The minor consists of a 15EC course and a multidisciplinary ‘Sustainability Challenge’ of 15EC.

• In the cursory part of the minor (15EC) you will learn about the ins and outs of Smart Sustainable Cities, you will learn more about energy, mobility and circular economy in various workshops, and finally you will learn how to apply relevant methods and techniques for researching, designing and advising on / about Smart Sustainable Cities. The latter includes for example the building blocks for social design, business model canvas, entrepreneurial skills, co-design techniques, research skills. Excursions to best practices are also part of the programme.
• During the Sustainability Challenge (15EC), you will work independently in a team on behalf of a real commissioner (for example the municipality). You will explore the sustainability challenge that they are facing, you will design smart, creative and innovative solutions for this challenge and advise how this can be converted into a viable commercial proposition. You are of course also responsible for the project management. These assignments all have a multidisciplinary character. Every student can therefore contribute to the solution from his or her own discipline.

Example project

Examples of past projects are:

• Alcoy (Spain): How can a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions from traffic in the city of Alcoy be achieved?
• Utrecht (the Netherlands): With which innovative concepts can the circular economy in the construction sector in Utrecht be rapidly further developed?
• Utrecht (the Netherlands): In what way can the Tuindorp-Oost district of the city of Utrecht be converted into an energy-neutral district in 2030?
• Turku (Finland): How can the Skanssi area in Turku be developed in a smart sustainable way (regarding energy, sharing spaces, mobility)?

Going abroad

During this minor you will get the unique opportunity to go abroad for a short period. You will work on one of the ‘Sustainability Challenges’ for consortia in the municipality of Alcoy (Spain), Turku (Finland) or Utrecht. The costs for travel and accommodation are for your account.


The minor has been developed within the ERASMUS + project ESSENCE (European Sustainable Solutions for Existing and New City Environments) by the five partners in the CARPE network: TUAS (Turku, Finland), UPV (Valencia, Spain), MMU (Manchester, United Kingdom), HAW (Hamburg, Germany) and the HU (Utrecht, the Netherlands). See

See for more information also

Entry requirements

This multidisciplinary minor is open to all students who are interested in the development of smart sustainable cities. Your previous education preferably has common ground with the themes people (inclusiveness, participation, policy), planet (energy, mobility, and circularity), profit (business models, marketing / communication) and smart (big data, ICT).