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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 in Europe and around the world. We place cities in the context of sustainable urban transformation and climate change. We connect the key trends of urbanization, decarbonisation and sustainability. We examine how visions, experiments and innovations can transform 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 was launched in January 2016, and it was updated in September 2021 with new podcasts, films and publications. The course is produced by Lund University in cooperation with WWF and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability who work with creating sustainable cities. The course features researchers, practitioners and entrepreneurs from a range organisations.


  • 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


4.9 rating, based on 53 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 2408 ratings

Start your review of Greening the Economy: Sustainable Cities

  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Profile image for Leonardo Eiji Kawamoto
    Leonardo Eiji Kawamoto
    Lund University courses are marvelous. I did both Circular Economy - sustainable materials management and Greening the Economy - Sustainable Cities and they were very important to help with the comprehension of how integrated environment and devel…
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
    This course builds the foundation for nature based solutions and how can we apply that to transform the Urban setting. It covers the multi faceted aspects of green initiatives,cross institutional collaborations and some intersting insights as how to fund and mainstream the green economic development of our cities for a sustainable future. Overall, a great course. Highly recommended for the Urban enthusiasts.
  • Anonymous
    The course is really engaging and you will learn a lot especially if you want to be part of the change in the city where you live in. The course will help you embrace the future of our world and it will help you understand that our environment will also play a vital role in sustainability and will help you make aware that green based solutions will also help us achieve goals in progress and sustainability.
  • Profile image for Mustapha Makhdoom
    Mustapha Makhdoom
    Good BEGINNER level course. Lots of great and relevant information, good reading material and instruction, great pace and overall really well done. The only thing to keep in mind is that it is a beginner level, so if you're already working in the field of sustainable cities you may find you know a lot of the material. Nonetheless, it is still worth taking as it's free and you'll still learn something!
  • Anonymous
    I have enjoyed the course and it has given me a great insight into sustainable development .

    However, from my perspective, it would be advisable to update the lectures and readings. Since this subject is constantly evolving, it does not make sense to talk about aiming to meet certain goals "by 2020". Likewise, new methods, materials, and designs have been devised, which render the course somewhat dated.
  • 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
    Greening the economy:Sustainable cities is a course that gives you a better knowledge on what is going on in your country and how to develop solutions to tackle them in order to build a sustainable environment...The course is in promoting SDGs goals on sustainable cities.
    I would advice you to take the course, it is easily understandable.
  • Anonymous
    It was a great experience for me to see the all sustainability actions all around the world with the great examples and great instructors. Thank you for the all effort and informations.

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