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Water for Liveable and Resilient Cities

Learn how water can be used in the planning of cities to improve liveability in the face of climate change and population growth.

7,453 enrolled on this course

City skyline reflected in lafe.
  • Duration

    7 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

The importance of water to our cities

Water plays a central role in almost every aspect of our urban environment and quality of life in our cities. Alarmingly, the combined impacts of rapid population growth and climate change are now posing a severe threat to the liveability and resilience of our cities.

A new approach to urban design

However, it is possible to design water systems that provide cities with the capacity to cope with these threats. So-called “water sensitive urban design” creates water sensitive cities that enhance and protect the health of watercourses and wetlands; mitigate flood risk and damage; and create public spaces that harvest, clean and recycle water.

This approach poses complex planning and urban design challenges. And it requires solutions that address equally complex and interrelated considerations, such as social, environmental, political, economic, planning and engineering disciplines.

Learn from a team of experts

You’ll hear from leading researchers and thought-leaders in Australia and internationally about key actions in delivering water sensitive cities. You’ll consider and discuss the latest solutions and concepts on urban design and modelling, climate change adaptation, behaviour change, and social and government engagement. Specifically, you’ll consider:

  • the emerging challenges facing our cities
  • how water sensitive cities can be the driver for more resilient cities
  • how water can be managed in our cities to improve their liveability
  • the potential for stormwater, urban aquatic systems, and green infrastructure to improve the urban climate
  • how changes in human behaviour and institutions can complement and assist transitions to water sensitive cities.

A practical course

We’ll focus on effective ways to create water sensitive cities as we draw upon case studies from Australia and around the world. We’ll ask you to share examples and insights from wherever in the world you live, and we’ll challenge you to consider how you can help make your urban environment more water sensitive.

You can find out more in Robert Skinner’s Can water help our cities cope with rapid urbanisation and climate change? blog post for FutureLearn.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds ROB SKINNER: 100 years ago, only two out of ten people lived in cities. Today, around half the people on Earth are living in urban areas. And by 2050, that proportion will be seven out of ten. Cities must be greener and provide for our recreational needs. They must be healthy places to live, even during heat waves. All urban areas need to be designed to cope with the increasing risks of flooding. And cities need to protect natural environments to preserve the ecosystem services that ultimately sustain our planet. This course explores the concept of water sensitive cities.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 seconds How can we design cities with water in mind to ensure they are livable and resilient to population growth and to climate change shocks, such as prolonged drought, more frequent and intense flooding, extreme heat waves? The challenges associated with building a water sensitive city are complex, involving interrelated and often competing social, environmental, engineering, economic, and even political disciplines. This course is tailored for you even if you are new to the subject. It’s ideal for you if you’re interested in what makes cities sustainable.

Skip to 1 minute and 30 seconds Over the next seven week course, you’ll consider and discuss the latest solutions and concepts relating to integrated urban water management, river and stream management in urban settings, climate change adaptation, flood resilience, integrating urban design with water system management and finally, the regulatory, institutional and cultural settings needed to deliver water sensitive cities. This course is really about building cities that your grandchildren can enjoy. So if you want to know how to make your city water sensitive, join us on this course.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

Who is the course for?

The course is intended for those with an interest in water and sustainable cities, and does not require previous experience or knowledge.

Who will you learn with?

Rob Skinner is Professorial Fellow and Director of Monash University’s Water for Liveability Centre and also Deputy Chair of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities.

Who developed the course?

Monash University

Monash University is one of Australia’s leading universities, ranked in the world’s top 1% by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. It was established in Melbourne in 1958.

  • Established

  • Location

    Melbourne, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 60Source: QS World University Rankings 2021

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control

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