About this online course


Learn how to contribute to a more biodiverse, nature-inclusive and sustainable built environment by using nature-based solutions in your designs and policies.

As our urban habitats become increasingly complex, the need to address the challenges of accommodating a growing human population becomes ever more pressing. These challenges, intricately intertwined with the built environment and its wider surroundings, encompass the perils of heat stress, loss of biodiversity, land degradation, flood risks, and the urgent need to adapt to a changing climate.

Designed for a wide range of professionals – architects, landscape architects, urbanists, civil engineers, water managers, decision-makers, budget holders, policymakers and any green stakeholders – this course offers a unique opportunity to deepen your understanding and develop your skills so as to incorporate biodiversity and urban ecology into your designs, policies and practices.

You will delve into the art and science of nature-based urban design, exploring innovative concepts such as (tree) wadis that not only enhance water infiltration and biodiversity but also improve the overall quality of urban spaces.

This course focuses on how to plan spaces for biodiversity. It will show how to bring benefits through ecosystem services as well as examining the spatial layouts and distribution of ecotypes required throughout the built environment, or its agricultural or natural surroundings. The water system, habitat and species level will be the main approach.

Our Approach
Our approach to Urban Ecology Design goes beyond conventional practices, aiming to increase ecological functioning within cities. The core philosophy is to strike a harmonious balance between human culture and the natural environment, considering both the potential and limitations of natural systems, and the intricate relationships between different living organisms, including humans, and their surroundings.

If you are involved or interested in sustainable urban development, this course will equip you with the knowledge and tools to contribute to the creation of healthier, more resilient urban habitats for all species.

Join us in reshaping the future of urban and peri-urban environments through sustainable and nature-based design principles.

What You'll Learn

After taking this course, you will be able to:

  • Define different perspectives on urban ecology and identify your own.
  • Evaluate a local urban ecosystem and plan for synergetic effects between ecology, climate adaptation, and other benefits.
  • Identify the differences in ecological values within cities.
  • Design for improvement of the ecological value of an urban area, on several scales.
  • Formulate a well-founded opinion about urban analysis, visions and designs.


Course Syllabus

Module 1:  The Urban Ecosystem
In this module, the Urban Ecology Design approach will be introduced, and you’ll gain knowledge on the Urban Ecosystem. You’ll learn to analyze the Urban Ecosystem by studying the one you live in. What challenges does your living environment, region, or country face?

Module 2:  The Urban Habitat
In this module, you’ll gain knowledge on urban habitats via lectures on urban ecology and biodiversity in general, their benefits to the environment and how to design improvements to them. You’ll zoom in from the Urban Ecosystem you studied in module 1 onto a local urban habitat and look at how you could improve it.

Module 3:  Urban Ecology Design
In this module, multiple design examples show how you could establish synergetic effects by taking Urban Ecology as the starting point in your (re-) design for an urban location that you encounter regularly. You’ll take the urban analysis and vision making from the previous modules as the basis for a design to improve the urban habitat, for us humans as well as non-humans. 


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



  • Starts: May 01, 2024
  • Free | Earn certificate for $139
  • Group fee: contact us
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Effort: 3 - 4 hours per week

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