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Greening the Economy: Sustainable Cities

Lund University via Coursera


How can we shape our urban development towards sustainable and prosperous futures?

This course explores sustainable cities as engines for greening the economy. We place cities in the context of sustainable urban transformation and climate change.

Sustainable urban transformation refers to structural transformation processes – multi-dimensional and radical change – that can effectively direct urban development towards ambitious sustainability and climate goals.

We connect the key trends of urbanization, decarbonisation and sustainability. We examine visions, experiments and innovations in urban areas. And we look at practices (what is happening in cities at present) and opportunities (what are the possibilities for cities going forwards into the future).

This course provides key examples of activities to promote sustainable cities in Scandinavia, Europe and around the world. We bring together a collection of diverse short films and key short readings on sustainable cities as well as interactive forums and a practical assignment to create an online learning community.

This course is produced by Lund University in cooperation with WWF Cities and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. It is available for free to everyone, everywhere!


  • Urban Transformation
    • By studying this module you can gain an increased knowledge and a deeper understanding of sustainable urban transformation and sustainable cities
  • Urban Infrastructure
    • By studying this module you can gain an increased knowledge and a deeper understanding of the role of infrastructure and planning in creating sustainable cities.
  • Urban Experimentation
    • By studying this module you can gain an increased knowledge and a deeper understanding of urban living labs and the role of experiments in sustainable cities.
  • Urban Lifestyles
    • By studying this module you can gain an increased knowledge and a deeper understanding of the relationship between sustainable urban lifestyles and sustainable cities.
  • Urban Visions
    • By studying this module you can gain an increased knowledge and a deeper understanding of visions for sustainable cities.

Taught by

Prof. Lena Neij, Kes McCormick, Prof. Harriet Bulkeley and Prof. James Evans

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5.0 rating, based on 45 reviews

Start your review of Greening the Economy: Sustainable Cities

  • This course gave me a deeper insight into sustainable cities and helped to view them from a different perspective than conventional urban planning. The course provides rich thoughts not only about sustainability but also about the economies of scale, urban resilience, integrated planning, and futuristic urban aspects. I strongly recommend it for students of the built environment particularly urban planning, architecture, landscape architecture, and also social sciences.
  • In a time when the definition of a city is reduced to very few valourized identities, this MOOC course on 'Sustainable Cities' retells and confirms that it is not the case. Cities are lived by and for all. Not just human beings who seems to be the 'be all and end all'. It is precisely this realization content which the syllabus carries with that also makes this course something that really needs to be attempted and more importantly executed in everyday city life.
  • This was a very enjoyable course which I found enlightening and inspiring compared to others on a similar subject. The short films were supplemented with readings that encourage you to go deeper than the time allows in this MOOC. A more advanced course would be very helpful. Thank you to the profs!
  • James Ghaffari completed this course, spending 1 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.

    This course was a very interesting introduction into what steps cities are and must be taking to tackle climate change. The quizzes were relatively easy and just there to ensure you had read the material. Maybe could be more interesting with a few more peer-reviewed projects. I would recommend this course for those wanting to get an understanding of projects going on in different cities around the world that can be inspiring.
  • Anonymous
    Excelente curso, fácil de entender y con elementos didácticos.

    debo de mencionar que tienen docentes de calidad que organizan la información de forma correcta en exponer desde una forma explicativa. hay entrevistas con expertos reconocidos a nivel mundial y ejemplificación mostrada de las acciones de mitigación y extraordinario trabajo realizado por la universidad en este curso.
  • Chris completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Excellent course! I highly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in a sustainable future. The transition from polluting to clean energy will be won or lost in the cities. Not in the mega cities but in the smaller ones. The course is very inspiring and shows a lot of sustainable cases from around the world.
  • Anonymous
    This is a great course to introduce yourself to the topic of sustainable cities and green economics, this course will give you a good amount of examples of initiatives that are currently changing the world. Actually this is a good course for everyone if you are looking for guides and first impressions in this topic.
  • Chris completed this course.

    Excellent course! The teaching material is high-quality and accessible at the same time. I really enjoyed this course. The lessons are very suitable for beginners and if you are already more experienced on the topic there are lots of links, websites, reports and additional information available.
  • Sara J. Carvajal completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    This is given in the same style as 'Lessons from Scandinavia' and has the same difficulty. I really liked it because it makes emphasis on what we can accomplish from the cities and gives examples from different continents.
  • Anonymous
    Great course that allows you to see how cities are managing sustainably around the world. I am signed up for an email list from this course that provides other information (articles, webinars, etc) that has also been enlightening.
  • Anonymous
    The course has a lot of topics so interesting and helps you to think of new ways to do cities sustainable.

    The way to teach is good and the add articles complement the presented information.
    Excellent course!!!! If you are interested in our planet, in the SDG's and NAture based solutions I highly recommend this course . Bravo and greetings from Honduras, Central America
  • Anonymous
    The course is really good! And the information they provide is clear an precise. The topics are split in easy to understand lessons which makes them fun to watch.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent learning platform. This course was a great and very interesting to learn about cities taking to tackle climate change. Reading materials, videos, webinars lead me to dive-deep into the matter and create ideas from insight . The quizzes were interesting and relatively easy and just there to ensure one had read the material. I would recommend this course for those wanting to get an understanding of projects going on in different cities around the world that can be inspiring. The more you know , the more you grow. I strongly believe that the lesson learned from this course will positively enrich my knowledge that will ultimately help me in my career in the future ahead also add a jewel in the crown.

  • Anonymous
    Great for catching up with updated and innovative ways for rethinking our urban future. Accurate general overview of our global present addressing challenges and questioning what actions and decisions do we must take towards achiving sustainable development Friendly and easy multimedia materials which explain theoretical concepts and shows in real life practical examples that are happening today in many cities around the globe. Not over loading or time consuming at all
  • Anonymous
    Fascinating Five Shades of Green:

    Transformation, Infrastructure, Experimentation, Life Styles, Visions

    Five-pronged greening of the economy and quality of life

    Not hit and run, but sustainable in an on-going fashion

    Thank you Lund. Thank you Coursera.

    Thank you IIIEE MOOC Team

    And a request for a MOOC on individual level contribution towards a Global Greening Mission - a practical program on VSL (voluntary simplicity lifestyle)

  • Anonymous
    Good course on the huge impact cities have on the planet's sustainability. Currently 55% of the planet's population live in cities and that percentage is growing rapidly.

    A strong focus of the course is governance and influencing change, rather than listing "technical" solutions. It also brings into question the "smart city" solutions pushed by corporate players.

    If you are interested in urban sustainability, I would recommend it.
  • Anonymous
    This course was really useful in expanding my knowledge about future sustainability in cities. I've been able to apply it in my work as a green infrastructure project and funding officer. It also sparked an interest in green financing nature based solutions. That is very relevant now as the current European Regional Development Fund approaches its end and will not be available after Brexit.
  • Anonymous
    Greening the economy ( Sustainable cities) is one the best coerces

    I have ever attended as it's informative yet using practical educational tools .

    The Course was very useful for my further master studies on sustainable urban planning it was really a good start .

    Thanks for Coursera and all the professors from Lund university supervising this valuable course.


    Hesham Hassan
  • Anonymous
    great overview of potential problematics and solutions. Liked a bit more nature based solution, as have more practical real life examples. Would like to have more courses connected to this topic. Maybe more detailed about specific solution: for example community managed nature based solution, steps on how to manage the project. or more about business models of nature based solution.

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