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Ethical Cities: Shaping the Future of Your City

RMIT University via FutureLearn


On our urbanizing planet, we need inclusive city economies that work for all.

Who runs your city? What makes your city liveable? Using stories from cities around the world, this course will introduce you to the importance of ethics in civic leadership, planning, and business, and citizen engagement.

Explore the problems that cities face, and understand the concept of an ‘ethical’ city

You’ll look in-depth at the challenges facing cities, considering your own city, or the one nearest you. We’ll ask you to share your stories so you can connect with other learners and compare your experiences in order to recognise and understand the problems cities face. You will explore the power of various entities in your city and examine how they help solve or exacerbate local problems.

You will delve into the notion of the ethical city and how it adds value to professionals and citizens – especially in terms of how it may help to improve the quality of urban life. In doing this you will also get a sense of the broader context of issues like social justice, corporate responsibility and ethical practice at the city level.

Get practical insights into sustaining an ethical city

You’ll be introduced to a range of new ideas, tools, and techniques (including practical examples, video stories, expert interviews, and other resources) to inspire you to:

  • Become involved in transformation at the city level.
  • Engage in an international community of like-minded citizens.
  • Take an interest in civic politics in order to enact change.
  • Understand corporate social responsibility in relation to city governance.
  • Think critically about the importance of the ethical city in terms of responding to contemporary urban problems like inequality, unemployment, lack of affordable housing, environmental degradation, and corruption.

Together we will examine alternatives to ‘business as usual’ practices that are reshaping the dominant urban agendas in more ethical directions.

Learn from experts in ethical cities

RMIT is a global university, and world leader in terms of its research and education around the built environment. RMIT hosts the UN Global Compact Cities Programme and many of our educators have first-hand experience in urban and environmental planning and social change including in Europe, Australia, and Japan.

You don’t need any prior knowledge to take this course but an interest in social change or urban planning might be useful.

Taught by

Ralph Horne and Brendan Barrett

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