Teknisk Vattenresurslära

Lunds Tekniska Högskola

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Sustainable cities and communities

The world is urbanizing at a high speed. The careful planning of cities and communities plays a key role in the transition to a more sustainable society, something that is also recognized by the UN in the Agenda 2030 Climate goals. But what is sustainability? How can we make our cities more sustainable? What are the most important challenges? What are the possibilities and obstacles? Depending on who you ask, you will get very different answers. However, it is clear that a fully sustainable transition requires a holistic perspective. To have a chance at reaching this, we need to better understand each other’s views on sustainability and realize the limitations of our own position.
This 7.5 hec course is multidisciplinary with teachers and participants from several faculties. It is envisioned as a starting point for discussions and participants' reflections on their own and others’ approaches to the concept of sustainability. The course aims to highlight sustainability in both a Swedish and international perspective.
During the course, participants will in groups interview experts and then arrange a panel debate session, where challenges and possibilities will be discussed. A written reflection should be handed in at the end of the course.

Does this sound interesting?If so, sign up to the course before 31/1 2020 by sending an email to the course coordinator, Magnus Persson (









Practical details

Presentation of participants and teachers

Group work, define themes

Group presentation




Six invited experts will give 10 min inspirational presentations




Techers are available for consultation regarding the debate sessions



Debate 1



Debate 2



Debate 3



Debate 4



Summing up

Group wise reflections

Conclusions and take home messages

(the number of debate sessions depends on the number of participants)

Important deadlines for handing in reports





Submit an idea for theme(s) for your debate session (maximum 1 page)



Submit a plan for how your debate session should be arranged (1-2 pages)



Personal reflection (see separate instruction), 1-2 pages



In order to pass the course active participation in all scheduled events except the consultation is required. Participants are allowed to miss one of the lectures and one of the debate sessions. The three reports described above needs to be handed in and approved by the course coordinator.



General Information
Thematic interdisciplinary doctoral student course, optional for all doctoral students at Lund University
Language of instruction: The 7.5 hec course will be given in English

The purpose of the course is to provide an insight into the sustainability problem and what challenges and opportunities that exist with the transformation of our cities to become sustainable. The course is multidisciplinary with teachers and participants from several faculties, which is a starting point for discussions and participants 'reflections on their own and others' approaches to the concept of sustainability. The course aims to highlight sustainability in both a Swedish and international perspective.

Learning outcomes
Knowledge and Understanding
For a passing grade the student must
•    explain and apply the basic concepts of sustainability
•    understand different aspects and perspectives on sustainability
•    be able to relate relevant sustainability goals to the development and transition of our cities

Competences and skills
For a passing grade the student must
•    formulate and structure issues relevant to sustainable urban development
•    actively prepare and participate in panel discussions

Judgement and Approach
For a passing grade the student must
•    be able to problematize the concept of sustainability with regard to sustainable cities from a holistic perspective
•    reflect on their own and others' views on sustainability and be able to explain this in a written report

The doctoral students are divided into groups which plan and conduct a panel debate with invited experts in the panel. As a starting point for the debates, one of the following subject areas is chosen
•    life
•    society
•    industrial
•    digitization
•    climate
•    transition
The doctoral students interview the experts in advance and plan interesting issues and topics to address during the debate. The PhD students then lead the debates. They will then write a report on their own reflections.

Examination details
Grading scale: Fail (U) or Pass (G)

Assessment: The participants must prepare and lead a panel debate. The examination will consist of four individual written reports with the participants' personal reflections following the panel debates. For a passing grade, participants must actively participate in at least 75% of the panel debates, one of which is the one they prepare and lead.

Admission requirements: the applicant must be a PhD student
Limited number of seats: maximum 20 seats, the course can be canceled if there are less than 10 registered participants at the start of the course. Members of the Agenda 2030 Research School will be given priority if more than 20 participants apply.

Reading List
•    supplementary material

Contact and other information
Course coordinator: Professor Magnus Persson,
Course homepage: