Free Online Course on Global and Local Urban Challenges

The Delft University of Technology is proud to declare free online course named as “Rethink the City: New approaches to Global and Local Urban Challenges”. How do you plan future cities? The course designed to explore alternative theories and innovative solutions for urban challenges in the global south.

This free online course will explore alternative theories and innovative solutions for urban challenges in the global south. The course will start on March 28, 2017.

Course At A Glance

  1. Length: 6 weeks
  2. Effort:  3-4 hours per week
  3. Subject:  Humanities
  4. Institution:  Delft University of Technology
  5. Languages: English
  6. Price:  Free
  7. Certificate Available: Yes
  8. Session: The course will start on March 28, 2017

Providers Details

  • About University: Delft University of Technology is the largest and oldest technological university in the Netherlands. Their research is inspired by the desire to increase fundamental understanding, as well as by societal challenges. They encourage their students to be independent thinkers so they will become engineers capable of solving complex problems. Students have chosen the Delft University of Technology because of other reputation for quality education and research.
  • Aim of University: The aim of the TU Delft Sports Engineering Institute is to promote and organize research and education in the field of performance enhancement in elite sports and the promotion of sports, play and exercise to create a healthier society.


The secondary (high school) degree is required for the course.

About This Course

  • Benefits: In this free online course you will learn about today’s urban challenges focusing on developing countries, referred to as the global south. We will debate the benefits of three pathways, going beyond traditional urban strategies and policies, Spatial justice, Housing Provision and Management, Urban Resilience. The language of the course is English.
  • Importance of the Subject in Today’s Scenario: Urban planning is a valuable force for city leaders to achieve sustainable development. It is a means to bring about a difference; Planning helps make the most out of municipal budgets by informing infrastructure and services investments, balancing demands for growth with the need to protect the environment.

How to Join This Course

You should register yourself through the given link to join this free on-line course:

Course Format

This course is an instructor-paced course, structured in three modules. During the seven weeks, students can explore the different modules according to their own plan. The course is then structured as follows:

Week 1: Introduction
General Introduction and course structure. Plan your course and your ‘critical thinking’ assignment, where you will have to upload a picture identifying the urban challenge you think it is most important to your city.

Week 2 to week 4: Modules
The three modules are presented following the same steps:

  • First: Introducing the theory by providing a contemporary perspective of the urban topic and main concepts.
  • Second: Applying the theory by presenting three case studies.
  • Third: Challenging the theory by presenting the experience of a practitioner in each field.

The three modules are:

  1. Spatial Justice.This is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges for cities in emerging economies. Spatial Justice is a relatively new area of study that focuses on mainly two ‘types’ of justice: distributive justice and procedural justice. On one hand, justice is sought through the fair allocation of resources and services throughout the urban territory.
  2. Housing Provision and Management. This section will review the opportunities for alternative approaches in housing provision and management in the context of China, Ghana, and Chile. Some topics of interest are social innovation in housing, collaborative housing approaches, community self-organization and the role of the third sector in housing policies.
  3. Urban Resilience. This section of the course will shed some light on case studies of resilience that applies alternative approaches on the topic.

Week 5 and 6: Final assignment 

The final assignment is aimed at developing a critical approach towards the issues, theories, and contexts presented during the course.

Why Take This Course

  • Advantage of Course: Through a combination of short theoretical lessons, presentation of case studies, testimonies from practitioners and practical assignments you will also learn how to develop a critical perspective about your own urban environment and how to translate this knowledge into analytical tools and innovative urban solutions.
  • Certificate: You can pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you gain ($49), Your Certificate provides a detailed transcript of what you’ve learned. This includes how long you spent studying the course and your average test score

Learning Outcomes

  • Alternative theories of spatial justice, housing provision and management, and urban resilience.
  • Application of analytical tools and innovative solutions to contemporary urban challenges
  • Develop a critical perspective about your own urban environment.
  • New perspectives to understand and analyze the urban challenges of the global south.


  • Dominic Stead:  He is Associate Professor with research and teaching focus on processes of policy-making and the impacts of policies, particularly in relation to urban transport and spatial planning.
  • Roberto Rocco: He is an Assistant Professor and he is responsible for course development and coordination in the areas of research methodology in areas of planning and design practice, regional planning and design and governance.
  • Darinka Czischke Ljubetic:  Darinka is Assistant Professor at the TU Delft. In 2014 she was awarded the Delft Technology Fellowship to develop her own research program on “Collaborative Housing”.
  • Luz Maria Vergara d’Alençon: She is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Management in the Built Environment at TU Delft. Her research project if financed by CONICYT (part of the Chilean Ministry of Education) and focuses on housing management and low-income homeownership in condominium tenure.
  • Igor Pessoa:  He is a Ph.D. candidate in the OTB Department at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment since 2014.  In TU Delft he also helped to establish the Global Urban Lab, an online collective initiative of PhDs that are working to tackle urban challenges in the global South.

Suggested Reading

No previous knowledge in urban planning or global south is required, just your eagerness to learn.

You Might Also Be Interested In

If you are interested you can also join “Urban Design for the Public Good: Dutch Urbanism” free online course.


  • In this free online course, you will find the answer to the question such as:
  1. Is the just city framework applicable in cities with extreme socio-economic inequality?
  2. Can community-led housing initiatives provide effective solutions for households in need?
  3. How can resilience support development instead of perpetuating a disadvantaged condition?
  • Your Certificate provides a detailed transcript of what you’ve learned. This includes how long you spent studying the course and your average test score. The Certificate and transcript give you evidence to show during job or university applications, or appraisals

Detailed Information

For more information about the course, you can check the given link:

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