MOOCs 1st Generation

The Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability (SMUS) proudly presents the first generation of SMUS MOOCs.

MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses, are a model for delivering learning content online to anyone who wants to take a course, with no limit on the number of participants and no fees. MOOCs allow us to learn from our peers around the world.

The SMUS MOOCs bring research and practice on urban sustainability into a global digital auditorium and respond to the need for the production, teaching and exchange of contextualised spatial practice and knowledge from different parts of the world. The MOOC themes are linked to the targets of the Sustainable Development Goal #11 and are driven by the context of the location, picking up on other pressing local urban development issues. Each MOOC team was led by a SMUS partner who in turn collaborated with local partners from academia and practice.

To access the MOOC trailers and open access links on their hosting platforms, please click on the individual MOOC tiles below the poster. A third generation of SMUS MOOCs is currently in production.

  • Grit Koalick

Gender Equity and Social Inclusion

TANZANIA, Dar es Salaam

This MOOC addresses gender inequality and the social exclusion of women, children, elderly persons and persons with disabilities in urban contexts. Participants of this MOOC will explore how urban transport and infrastructure in open spaces produce inequalities and injustice and will gain a practical and critical perspective on this through lectures, case-studies and interviews.

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This MOOC addresses the lack of safe, inclusive, and stimulating public spaces for children in Latin American (and beyond) urban contexts. Participants of this MOOC will explore, analyse and propose initiatives and strategies within their own urban context that focus on early childhood development and the question of how the city can become an “urban landscape of care”.

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Safety in Urban Spaces

NIGERIA, Nsukka and Lagos

This MOOC addresses crime, violence and social conflicts that undermine urban safety and security globally, thereby engendering a regime of fear and widespread episodic disruptions of social and economic lives. Participants of this MOOC will gain a better understanding of the driving forces, nature and dynamics of urban social conflict (especially in developing societies undergoing rapid urbanisation) and build capacity in peacebuilding and conflict management.

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Climate Change Adaptation


This MOOC addresses the increasing vulnerability to natural hazards of coastal urban populations in Java due to the impact of climate change. Participants of this MOOC will critically address the emerging problems and their mainly top-down approach to CC adaptation. They will learn about solutions at the community level and how through the operationalization of “resilience from below”, citizens become “agents of change” and actively cultivate a climate change resilience culture.

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Universal Design

INDIA, Roorkee

This MOOC addresses the various dimensions of social exclusion in diverse urban contexts. Participants of this MOOC will explore the visible and invisible barriers to inclusion while advancing knowledge on built environment and universal design principles and practices.

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Social Housing

BRAZIL, Porto Alegre

This MOOC addresses the housing problems of Brazilian cities. Participants of this MOOC will get a better insight in the complex reality of life in vila communities and the challenges related to their upgrading. They will also delve into the practice of technical assistance in social housing projects.

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This MOOC addresses the question of unbalanced and inequitable urbanisation in the Global South. Participants of this MOOC will delve into conceptual questions concerning gender inclusivity in cities and the relations between urban infrastructure and exclusionary practices. They will be confronted with voices and narratives that are often sidelined in the urban planning process and develop an intersectional understanding of urbanisation mechanisms and processes.

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