The world we live in is increasingly an urban one. Over the past half century, a great population shift has occurred from rural to urban areas. Cities now hold over half of the world's population, and it is estimated that two out of three people will live in an urban environment by 2050. This development calls for controlling the environmental impact of urbanisation, such as growing traffic, increasing waste emissions, deteriorating air and water quality, and rising energy and resource consumption. Of particular concern are the speed and scale of urbanisation in the developing world, as many Asian, African and Latin-American cities are incapable of providing adequate housing and basic urban services. Inadequate water supply, sanitation, waste collection and waste management systems are the cause of serious urban pollution and health hazards. Sustainable management of the urban environment has become one of the major challenges for the future.
The Urban Environmental Management MSc programme aims at equipping its students with the outlook, concepts and tools to manage the urban environment. The programme unites four essential perspectives on the urban environment: environmental quality and health, environmental infrastructure and technology, spatial planning, and governance.
Besides integrated theories and views from several disciplines, urban environmental management requires technical and managerial competencies and skills for its implementation. Consequently, the programme provides a balanced curriculum of theory, tools and application. It emphasises the development of a cross-disciplinary outlook, critical-thinking, analytical problem-solving and practical decision-making skills through a combination of teamwork, practical simulation exercises, field trips and an individual research project. The internship programme offers a valuable opportunity to gain practical experience in a country and organisation as desired. Students can conduct their major thesis research within seven disciplines: environmental policy, environmental and resource economics, environmental systems analysis, geo-information science, land use planning, management studies, and urban systems engineering. Experimental thesis research will usually be part of on-going research programmes of the chair groups involved, either at Wageningen University and Research (WUR) or at the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS) of which WUR is an academic partner. Otherwise, thesis topics originate from the student's own research interests or are the result of discussions with potential supervisors. In addition to the choice between scientific disciplines, students can opt for one of the career-oriented tracks, including consultancy, entrepreneurship, and research.
After successful completion of this MSc programme graduates are expected to be able to:
- demonstrate thorough knowledge and understanding of the urban environment and its infrastructure; the economic, social and political factors involved; the possibilities and limitations of technological means to curb emissions and limit resource depletion; relevant management and quality assurance systems;
- apply theoretical and methodological concepts in urban environment assessments so as to identify environmental issues at various scales of time and space;
- independently formulate and execute urban environment research in accordance with academic standards, thus contributing to the development of the body of knowledge in the field, or to the development of creative and innovative solutions to urban environmental issues;
- develop realistic environmental goals for governmental organisations and commercial corporations and establish strategies to introduce changes to existing systems, which take into account environmental factors as well as financial, social and political factors;
- design strategies to include environmental aspects in and develop indicators of environmental performance and benchmarking for urban management systems;
- act as a consultant, advising governmental organisations and commercial corporations on how best to improve current and future activities with regard to the environment;
- engage different stakeholders and communicate with specialists from other disciplines.
In order to perform these tasks, graduates from this programme are able to:
- demonstrate cross-disciplinary views on urban environment issues, taking into account various stakeholders and interests;
- clearly present, both orally and in writing, research proposals and results, as well as plans for measures and interventions, taking into account the nature of the target group;
- support working parties and committees, negotiate, and act as a mediator, effectively and appropriately dealing with cultural diversity;
- reflect on the ethical aspects of their research and plans for measures and interventions;
- design and plan their own learning processes by virtue of continuous reflection on personal knowledge, skills, attitudes and performance.
Graduates are well equipped to continue academic training (PhD) or to start - or continue - a professional career in environmental research, city management, urban planning, environmental consulting, or water-, waste-, transport-, construction- and building stock management.
Drs. M.J. Lexmond
- Ir. L. Bregman
- Ir. S.J.M. van Bavel
- S. Tuju, MSc
Chair: Dr. ir. K.P.J. Fortuin
Secretary: Drs. M.J. Lexmond
Forum Building, room 112
6708 PB Wageningen