Co-creating Sustainable Cities


About this course

Around the world, major challenges of our time such as population growth and climate change are being addressed in cities. Here, citizens play an important role amidst governments, companies, NGOs and researchers in creating social, technological and political innovations for achieving sustainability.
Citizens can be co-creators of sustainable cities when they engage in city politics or in the design of the urban environment and its technologies and infrastructure. In addition, citizens influence and are influenced by the technologies and systems that they use every day. Sustainability is thus a result of the interplay between technology, policy and people’s daily lives. Understanding this interplay is essential for creating sustainable cities. In this online course, we zoom in on Amsterdam, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh City, Nairobi, Kampala and Suzhou as living labs for exploring the dynamics of co-creation for sustainable cities worldwide. We will address topics such as participative democracy and legitimacy, ICTs and big data, infrastructure and technology, and SMART technologies in daily life.
This global scope will be used to illustrate why specific forms of co-creation are preferred in specific urban contexts. Moreover, we will investigate and compare these cities on three themes that have a vast effect on city life:

  • water and waste;
  • energy, air, food and mobility;
  • green spaces and food.
    This online course will teach you about the dynamics of co-creation and the key principles of citizens interacting with service providing companies, technology and infrastructure developers, policy makers and researchers. You will gain an understanding of major types of co-creation and their interdependency with their socio-technical and political contexts. You will become equipped to indicate how you can use co-creation to develop innovative technologies, policy arrangements or social practices for a sustainable city in your own community. You will demonstrate this by developing an action plan, research proposal or project idea. Basic knowledge of sustainability in urban settings, urban environmental technology and urban management is assumed.
    This course forms a part of two educational programme of the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS) - AMS Vital and Circular city research themes. It is developed by Wageningen UR and TU Delft, two of the founding universities of AMS Institute, and in cooperation with Tsinghua University.
    More course information and instructions on how to register can be found on: or click on the top-right link on this page.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • Define the concept of co-creation and discuss typical examples of co-creation in the context of technological and policy innovations with regard to water, waste, energy, green and food
  • Recognize different conceptual views on co-design and co-creation in different disciplines
  • Explain that co-creation for sustainable cities is a multi-dimensional, vibrant concept. Requires collaboration between natural science, social science and engineering sciences and takes place at the level of the household, street, neighbourhood, city and metropolitan region: these levels are interconnected
  • Explain that with co-creation different types of value can be created for different stakeholders, depending on the co-creation activity and the role of the user
  • Compare the various roles of stakeholders (considering their level of involvement, interest, influence) in co-creation
  • Recognize that co-creation for sustainability is not a linear, but a systemic process
  • Justify why a specific form of co-creation is preferred in a specific urban context, using arguments that relate to scale level, city politics and characteristics of the socio-technical system
  • Describe different transition pathways towards becoming a more sustainable city in different regions of the world that have different agendas for urban environmental improvement: reform vs evolution and all gradients in between
  • Draft a (research) proposal on how co-creation in a specific case study or own (research) environment can be used to develop innovative technologies or policy arrangements for a sustainable city
  • Reflect on one’s own potential role in the proposed research considering one’s expertise and societal position
  • Evaluate the pros and cons and added value of co-creation for a sustainable city

Required prior knowledge

Assumed Knowledge:
The level of this course is advanced. The prerequisites are a bachelors degree/ undergraduate level on:

  • governance and environmental policy;
  • urban resource management;
  • urban environmental technology.

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    1 September 2023

    • Ends
      31 August 2024
    • Term *
      Academic Year
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    • Instruction language
    Enrolment period closed
  • Start date

    2 September 2024

    • Ends
      31 August 2025
    • Term *
      Academic Year
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      1 Jun, 00:00 - 15 Jul 2025
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University