ETE-32806 Managing Urban Environmental Infrastructure


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
One day excursion12
Project learning11
Course coordinator(s)dr. L Rodic-Wiersma
Lecturer(s)dr. L Rodic-Wiersma
Examiner(s)dr. L Rodic-Wiersma
dr. ir. AR Mels

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:



Infrastructure services are essential for urban life. Urban communities cannot function without these vital services. This module introduces urban environmental infrastructure in the context of rapid urbanization on the one hand, and technological innovation on the other. Its main focus is on urban environmental infrastructure, i.e. the systems to provide urban households and offices with energy, drinking water, sanitation and waste services.
The course begins with an introduction of the different physical and organizational elements describing the existing systems to handle urban energy, transport, water, and material services. The development of these systems is given a historical perspective, highlighting the processes and key drivers of their development for different urban typologies (developing, transition and developed countries).
Management issues such as ownership (public or private), regulation, service pricing, and the handling of public health risks are addressed with the aim of making students aware of the importance of finding acceptable trade-offs between political, environmental and financial considerations. Guest lecturers are invited to share their experiences in relation to this aspect. The group assignment brings perspective into the subject by encouraging students to come up with viable management strategies for new technological developments in a real setting, i.e. in an existing neighbourhood and an existing utility company. The course includes study visits to a water supply and an energy utility company.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of this course students will be able to:
- explain the importance of urban energy, water and waste services for the urban environment;
- classify the physical elements of urban environmental infrastructure and understand the difference between infrastructure and infrastructure services;
- recognize the historical evolution and current and future trends in the management of energy, water and wastes in developing, transition and developed countries;
- explain how the organizational performance of infrastructure services can be measured and compared (e.g. by benchmarking);
- understand the organization of (utility) companies and evaluate how strategic and operational decisions may affect the performance of utility companies;
- apply theories and concepts related to the ownership, management and regulation of urban infrastructure services in innovative infrastructure;
- analyse the various ways in which utility services lend themselves for private sector involvement and assess how this may affect the performance of the services provision.


Lectures, field visits, project, written examination.


Written examination (65%) and assignments (35%), provided that both are valued 5.5 or higher.



Restricted Optional for: MUEUrban Environmental ManagementMSc5MO