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  • University College Dublin

Planetary Urbanisation: Global Challenges in a Changing World

Whether you live in a city or not, urbanisation affects you. Learn more about the impact and challenge of urbanisation worldwide.

2,049 enrolled on this course

Many people crossing a road in a busy city
  • Duration

    5 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

70% of the world's population will soon be urban - learn more

The nature and form of urbanisation is rapidly changing. New cities form while others decline, urban development enhances economic chances for some but challenges quality of life for others. This course focuses on planetary urbanisation, the idea that whether living in cities or not, most of the world’s 7 billion people are impacted by the processes of urbanisation. The core question addressed during this module is:

What challenges does planetary urbanisation present in different geographical settings and how can cities be made more liveable for future generations?

The key questions we address are:

  • What is urbanisation?
  • What is planetary urbanisation?
  • What kinds of challenges face cities globally today?
  • What might future cities look like?
  • In addressing this students will be asked to consider how is planetary urbanisation different? How are we responding to global urban challenges? Will future cities be more liveable?

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    Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds Cities, humanity’s greatest invention, are also one of humanity’s greatest challenges. By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be urban. But even for those people who do not live in cities, their lives will be affected by planetary urbanisation. This is the century of planetary urbanisation! Over the next five weeks, we will focus on this large-scale global change.

    Skip to 0 minutes and 40 seconds Together, we will think about: How urbanisation happened? What is different about planetary urbanisation? What common challenges face cities today? And what will our future cities look like? Myself and a team of colleagues will lead you on this journey through time and space - whatever your background, we hope you join us.

    What topics will you cover?

    • Urbanisation - differential geographies
    • Historic forms of urbanisation and their key influences
    • Planetary urbanisation and its links to debates on sustainability
    • Contemporary urban challenges
    • Differential meanings and impacts of the global urban housing crisis
    • Issues of health and well-being in large and dense cities
    • Issues of crime, security and social control in cities
    • Future cities as smart, resilient and sustainable
    • Role of technology in shaping cities of the future

    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.

    What will you achieve?

    By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

    • Discuss important urban challenges facing societies globally in the 21st century
    • Explain ‘planetary urbanisation’ and articulate how it differs from historic forms of urbanisation
    • Identify planetary urbanisation in action in their “home city”
    • Compare how urban experiences are differentiated across space and time
    • Demonstrate the value, and appreciate the importance, of intercultural learning

    Who is the course for?

    This course is aimed at the equivalent of first or second year undergraduate students. It is an introductory module and no prior knowledge of urban studies, geography, sociology or planning is required. All we ask is that you are interested in why cities are so important in the contemporary world and that you are prepared to engage with other students to share your ideas and learning.

    Who will you learn with?

    Associate Prof. Niamh Moore-Cherry is based in the School of Geography, University College Dublin (Ireland). She is an urban geographer and her research is focused on understanding cities.

    I'm a PhD student with the School of Geography, UCD, Ireland. I'm interested in geopolitics and I'm researching what the spatial dimension is in Turkish hegemony building over water resources.

    Who developed the course?

    University College Dublin

    UCD is one of Europe’s leading research-intensive universities, currently ranked within the top 1% of institutions world-wide.

    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
    • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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