MSc in Infrastructure and Green Cities: Managing Sustainable Water, Transport, Energy, Waste and Drainage Services


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Program Description

Study programme

This specialisation track focuses on how local governments can manage, finance and provide infrastructure to deliver quality services while improving the cities’ green performance. Key topics include the switch to a circular economy, renewable energy, green transport and infrastructure (include drainage) and sanitation, and the provision of drinking water.

The Infrastructure and Green Cities programme is a specialisation track within the MSc in Urban Management and Development, which offers the opportunity to access a unique framework that helps cities become greener, more sustainable and competitive. Developed by IHS, this Green City concept views cities as broadly composed of three elements: the built, natural and anthropogenic environments. This trajectory focuses on the built environment with an emphasis on drinking water and sanitation, energy and transport sectors. In addition, students are also provided with the financial instruments needed to build efficient and cost-effective infrastructure networks for good service delivery. Besides getting a good grip of theory, students also apply it in practical exercises such as the Cheongyecheon Restoration Project, the development of a business plan, and planning a green and sustainable city in a simulated environment.

Course objectives

At the end of the course participants should be able to:
  • Describe the role of infrastructure in helping cities to become greener.
  • Identify and analyse the relation of urban infrastructure with land use, economic development, investment, poverty reduction, and local environmental health conditions.
  • Understand and analyse the role of infrastructure asset management in delivering service according to a pre-determined level.
  • Apply performance assessment methods to identify managerial problems affecting the good delivery of services and propose recommendations.
  • Apply innovative models and mechanisms for financing urban infrastructure to deliver good services and to improve the green performance of cities.

How is your year organised?

In the first and second block, the programme shares courses on urban theory, governance, policy, planning, and public-private partnerships, and local government finance and investment with the other specialisation tracks. However, your assignments within the course modules, as well as the action planning workshop, are always track-specific. In the third block of the programme, your courses will only be track-specific with the possibility to take an extra elective course. In the fourth block of the programme you will strengthen your research skills through research methods courses and workshops and write your Master’s thesis on a topic relevant to your specialisation track. Some example research topics are listed below. Other topics can also be accepted if approved by the coordinators of the specialisation track and the thesis supervisor.

Examples of thesis research
  • Influence of operation and maintenance of infrastructure in delivering good quality service.
  • Impacts of infrastructure governance in delivering good quality service and on local development.
  • Influence of green infrastructure on the urban green spaces (UGS), especially involving the quantification of special ecosystem services (ES) of selected types of urban green space (UGS) using high-resolution data.
  • Influence of energy efficiency and renewable energy on improving city livability and green city performance.
  • Influence of energy efficiency and renewable energy on the circular economy of the building sector.
  • Influence of accessibility (connectivity), green fuels (electric autos) and intelligent transport modes on green city performance.
Programme Curriculum

Blocks 1 & 2 - October to January

  • Urban Theory
  • Urban Governance, Policy, Planning and Public-Private Partnership
  • Local Government Finance and Investments
  • Action Planning Workshop

Block 3 - January to April

  • Infrastructure Asset Management
  • Sustainable Infrastructure for Green City Workshop
  • Financing Infrastructure
  • Elective course
    • Choose from:
    • Cities and migration
    • Understanding international urban policy: SDGs and the NUA
    • GIS methods for urban research
    • Gender in urban theory, practice, and research
    • Inclusive smart cities
    • Urban policy analysis

Block 4 - April to September

  • Research Methods and Techniques
  • Urban Research Workshops
  • Field Work and Master Thesis
    • The research process for the thesis is divided into three main steps:
    • The research proposal
    • Data collection and data preparation
    • Data analysis and thesis writing

Why study MasterInfrastructure and Green Cities

In the face of continuous urban growth, the need for cities to become greener and more sustainable has never been more pressing. But green cities are about more than aesthetic green public spaces and vertical gardens. In reality, infrastructure decisions also influence the natural and anthropogenic elements of the green city ecosystem, which affects the livability and sustainability of cities. In this programme, you will gain the qualifications to become an urban development professional specialised in green city infrastructure management.

"The multidisciplinary nature of the programme has changed my perspective on urban issues and helped me approach them in a more realistic way."

Rami Sharaf, Egypt

Urban Management & Development Alumnus

Why study at IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam?

Earn your MSc degree from a top 100 university

Known for its academic rigour and high quality of education, Erasmus University Rotterdam is consistently ranked in the top 3% of the world’s best universities.

Our teaching methods are unique

Alongside IHS teaching and research activities, our faculty members work in the field on real-life cases around the world. Challenges, learnings, and questions from these different contexts are brought back to the classroom and woven into our curriculum.

You apply everything you learn - no dry theory

Students learn through a blend of lectures, real-life case studies, discussions, debates, simulation environments, written assignments, and group work. Field visits and projects in Rotterdam and other Dutch cities provide first-hand exposure to local urban problems. Students have the option to complete their thesis fieldwork abroad and immerse themselves in a relevant urban context to collect data.

We offer a truly international and diverse environment

The IHS classroom is comprised of mid-level professionals and fresh graduates with rich and varied experiences from more than 45 countries. Typical backgrounds include architecture, engineering, planning, economics, social science, environmental science, and housing.

Study in Rotterdam - a hub of sustainable urban innovation

Iconic architecture, pioneering urban planning, and a celebrated multicultural population have thrust Rotterdam to the forefront of innovation and cultivation within the urban world.

Enjoy guest lecturers from UN-Habitat and other key stakeholders in the urban field

IHS works with global leaders in the field of urban development, including UN-Habitat, Cities Alliance and ICLEI as well as with leading universities in the Netherlands and around the world to ensure additional academic resources for our students.

What are some of the special features of this track?

Next to earning your MSc diploma from Erasmus University Rotterdam, an institution that is consistently ranked among the top 3% of the world’s best universities, studying the Infrastructure and Green Cities track also means that you will get to:

Manage a green city in practice in a simulated environment

During this simulation, students spend three days designing a green city with the SIM City game. The exercise allows groups representing different stakeholders with different interests to plan and manage a green city.

Apply your learnings in practice

During this three-day practical exercise, students will learn how to calculate the environmental performance of cities in practice.

Work with a real-life case study: Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project

During this case study on the Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project, students will analyse and discuss the causes and impact of the demolition of a 5.8 km highway to bring back an ancient river and construct a green linear recreational corridor in downtown Seoul, South Korea.

A green city costs. Learn how to finance it!

This track also provides students with financial instruments needed to build efficient and cost-effective infrastructure networks for good service delivery.

Visit a successful local green city initiative

Every year the infrastructure and green cities track students visit a different example of successfully implemented green cities project. For example, last year a field trip was organised to the largest roof park in Europe - Vierhavenstrip in Rotterdam as well as to the Rotterdam water square.

Specialise in applying GIS for infrastructure management

In this track, you have the opportunity the learn how to use GIS specifically for infrastructure management.

Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

ESSB is home to a vast diversity of study programmes and scientific disciplines: Public Administration, Pedagogical Sciences, Psychology and Sociology. In addition, the Erasmus University College, IHS ... Read More

ESSB is home to a vast diversity of study programmes and scientific disciplines: Public Administration, Pedagogical Sciences, Psychology and Sociology. In addition, the Erasmus University College, IHS, and two research institutes RISBO and DRIFT are linked to the faculty. Our education is small-scale and based around Problem Based Learning (PBL). Being connected to the professional field is another characteristic of our study programmes. Read less
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