Green Lifestyles and Cities: Lessons from Scandinavia

2013-09-30 16.36.02
Lund University Aula

Lund University’s International Institute of Industrial and Environmental Economics (or IIIEE, my alma mater in Sweden) was involved in the design and delivery of a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) entitled, “Greening the Economy: Lessons from Scandinavia.” (See also the United Nations Environment Programme’s work on the Green Economy concept.) This (free) online 5-week course is taught in English and incorporates text, video lectures and participation in forum discussions among global students and professors. The first version of this MOOC is now complete; but a new course will soon be underway. In its trial run 20,000 persons signed up, with some 10,000 persons later participating in the MOOC. It was an active group: with over 167,440 views of its video materials and more than 10,000 posted comments in its forums. If you are interested in following this MOOC at a later date, check the course website.

Outside the IIIEE, at the 2013 Alumni Network Conference,
Outside the IIIEE, at the 2013 Alumni Network Conference

The 5-week MOOC is broken into five sections. The first week offers a general introduction to the green economy concept. The remaining 4 weeks focus on: individual choices, business strategies, sustainable cities, and national policies. As the course develops, it examines the relationships between the different levels and actors, while providing practical examples of environmental and social complexities within these different spheres. It also offers solutions relevant to the different levels and actors, including the relations between them. The course focuses specifically on Scandinavia: a region recognized as a pioneer regarding sustainability advancements and efforts to combat climate change. Scandinavia and her cities offer concrete examples regarding strategies to green the economy – examples that continue to inspire my PhD research.

This MOOC included instruction from IIIEE’s professors, as well as external experts from the Swedish government, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Environment Agency (EEA), the private sector and researchers from other academic institutions. I was also privileged to participate in the MOOC, giving a brief lecture in the sustainable cities module with a lecture entitled, “Green Lifestyles and Cities.” The lecture (posted below) outlines some of the key themes of my PhD research at Wageningen University. Among other topics, this lecture addresses:

  • the role of local governments to address climate change;
  • the governing strategies that local governments pursue: via procurement strategies, through enabling citizens and stakeholders through communication and education, via provision of infrastructure or other resources, through regulatory measures, and through establishing partnerships;
  • the linkages between citizen behavior and available infrastructure; and
  • the tactics by which to encourage environmental behavior

This and other lectures from the MOOC can now be accessed on youtube.

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