Lessons from cities to green the economy – free online course

I’m happy to see more and more emphasis on cities and urban actors, for their efforts to shape sustainable and prosperous futures, and address environmental challenges, such as climate change. After all, this was the topic of my recent PhD dissertation.  Of course, I am far from the only one jumping on the cities as a problem and solution space bandwagon (or perhaps a better metaphor… jumping on that metro.) The World Bank has called cities “the puzzle in addressing climate change.” The recent UN Climate Change Conference, COP21, also recognized the role of city actions to combat climate change. Even Leonardo di Caprio and Robert Redford came to Paris for COP21 to stand with city mayors as important actors to address climate change. Indeed this is a hot topic. My role here is not so much to list off key players and actions, but instead to promote a new (free) online course which focuses on the lessons of cities to address environmental challenges.

For those interested in exploring the backstory on urban actions, Lund University’s International Institute of Industrial and Environmental Economics (IIIEE) will soon launch a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). This course, called Greening the Economy: Lessons from Cities, begins on  18 January, and according to the course website it “will explore sustainable cities as engines for greening the economy… in the context of sustainable urban transformation and climate change. Sustainable urban transformation refers to structural transformation processes that can effectively direct urban development towards ambitious sustainability and climate goals.”

The course lasts 5 weeks, and is broken into 5 modules on: sustainable urban transportation, infrastructure and planning, urban living labs, future urban visions, and sustainable urban lifestyles. It includes lectures from academics and practitioners, and makes use of films and reports by WWF, the Economist Intelligence Unit, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, UN-Habitat, C40 Climate Leadership Group, Arup, Sustainia, the Rockefeller Foundation, and ongoing research projects. While I don’t claim to be an ‘expert’ per say… I’m happy to have a few lectures in the course as well.

More information can be found on the course website, or in the short promo film below. Happy learning!


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