About this online course

Overview

How can ecosystems contribute to quality of life and a more livable, healthier and more resilient urban environment?

Have you ever considered all the different benefits the ecosystem could potentially deliver to you and your surroundings? Unsustainable urbanization has resulted in the loss of biodiversity, the destruction of habitats and has therefore limited the ability of ecosystems to deliver the advantages they could confer.

This course establishes the priorities and highlights the direct values of including principles based on natural processes in urban planning and design. Take a sewage system or a public space for example. By integrating nature-based solutions they can deliver the exact same performance while also being beneficial for the environment, society and economy.

Increased connectivity between existing, modified and new ecosystems and restoring and rehabilitating them within cities through nature-based solutions provides greater resilience and the capacity to adapt more swiftly to cope with the effects of climate change and other global shifts.

This course will teach you about the design, construction, implementation and monitoring of nature-based solutions for urban ecosystems and the ecological coherence of sustainable cities. Constructing smart cities and metropolitan regions with nature-based ecosystems will secure a fair distribution of benefits from the renewed urban ecology.

This course forms a part of the educational programme of the AMS Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions and will present the state-of-the-art theories and methods developed by the Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University & Research, two of the founding universities of the AMS Institute.

Instructors, with advanced expertise in Urban Ecology, Environmental Engineering, Urban Planning and Design, will equip designers and planners with the skills they need for the sustainable management of the built environment. The course will also benefit stakeholders from both private and public sectors who want to explore the multiple benefits of restored ecosystems in cities and metropolitan regions. They will gain the knowledge and skills required to make better informed and integrated decisions on city development and urban regeneration schemes.

What you'll learn:

  • Theories and examples showing the development and benefits of NBS
  • To develop critical perspectives on your own location and environment
  • The interdependency and synthesis of governance, innovation, design, ecology and economy
  • Relational thinking focusing on problems, challenges, potential and solutions

Details

Course Syllabus

Week 1: Introduction
General introduction to the course, the problem area and nature-based solutions. Challenge your 'relational thinking' and learn about the potential of nature-based metropolitan solutions.

Week 2, 3 and 4: Three elements of NBS

  1. Service design Any innovation such as a NBS is subject to governance. Learn how policies in your region limit or can facilitate and maintain NBS by investigating synergies between stakeholders.
  2. Spatial design NBS have a spatial dimension. Master the spatial application by exploring the multi-scalarity and site specificity of NBS through an analysis of your surroundings and local environment.
  3. Business model Eventually NBS include a business model to harvest its benefits. You will study environmental economics and develop the tools to assess and evaluate the range of benefits provided by ecosystem services to society and the environment.

Week 5: Implementation
This is where service design, spatial design and the business model meet and become operational in time. Discover the synchronization of the three elements, their temporal dimension and their multifunctionality in short-term, mid-term and long-term scenarios.

Week 6: Upscaling
The upscaling of strategies to the regional level as well as city-to-city knowledge transfer is key for understanding and mainstreaming NBS. A final practical assignment aims at developing a critical approach towards the issues, theories and contexts using the lessons learned in the course.

Admission

This is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that runs on edX.

Prerequisites

Bachelor or undergraduate level of education or interest in related fields of concern: Architecture / Urbanism / Landscape Architecture / Civil Engineering / Geosciences / Social Sciences / Economics / Public Sector / Governance / Policy making / Environmental studies / Water management

  • Starts: May 21, 2019
  • Free
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Effort: 4 - 6 hours per week

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