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École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Innovative Governance of Large Urban Systems

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne via Coursera


Learn about the three phases of the urban value chain: planning, governance and regeneration. With lecturers from all around the world and concrete case studies, this course will give you a comprehensive overview about the “Innovative Governance of Large Urban Systems”. This course has assembled some of the most relevant experiences and knowledge from our Innovative Governance of Large Urban Systems (IGLUS) Executive Master’s program, which has been offered by EPFL during the past 5 years. IGLUS consists of 2-week action-learning organized in over 10 major cities around the world, during which participants acquire an in-depth understanding of the challenges cities are facing and the ways they are addressing them. This MOOC will share this knowledge with you, thanks to some of our lecturers from various disciplines and from all around the world. During this course, you will learn about the three phases of the urban value chain, which are: planning, governance and regeneration. In particular, we will address the unique challenges of the phases and ask questions such as: how to design cities? How to govern them, especially when it comes to their institutional, financial, economic and social dimensions? And how to regenerate urban spaces?


  • Preamble
  • Designing cities
    • Welcome to the first week of the MOOC! This week, we will be addressing the first phase of the urban value chain: planning. Why do we talk about urban planning? Cities are human-made environments and are therefore constructed; and construction is planned. We want to understand how urban planning plays a fundamental role to make the city humane, liveable and an accessible social space to its inhabitants. The objective of the week is therefore to understand the complexities involved in the “production of space”.
  • Governing cities - Part 1
    • Welcome to the second week of the MOOC! We will address the second phase of the urban value chain! Governance. What is relevant for governance? There are first the institutions and their history, the resources available and those that are to be developed; and more recently we have observed the impact on digitalization on governance. We now want to explore how digitalization can actually improve it. The objective of the second week is to analyse the institutional, organizational and financial issues of metropolitan governance.
  • Governing cities - Part 2
    • Welcome to the third week of the MOOC! We are still dealing with governance, but this week, we will be addressing the economic and social perspectives. In every city, there are economic and social inequities. Different groups of population have differentiated access to urban infrastructure and services. The objective of the week is to discuss social justice issues of governing urban infrastructure and explore ways and means to address them.
  • Regenerating cities
    • Welcome to the last week of the MOOC! We are now dealing with the third phase of the urban value-chain: regeneration. Why is this phase important? Every city has pockets of underused land or distressed and decaying urban areas. They weaken the city’s image, liveability and productivity. Urban regeneration is a strategy to address inner cities decline and deprivation. On the other hand, local governments may be willing to expand urban areas and create new cities. The objective of the week is to understand urban regeneration strategies and analyse the creation of new cities.

Taught by

Matthias Finger


4.7 rating at Coursera based on 172 ratings

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