ETE-32806 Managing Urban Environmental Infrastructure


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work4
Excursion (one day)6
Course coordinator(s)di. ir. WS Chen
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. HHM Rijnaarts
dr. J van Leeuwen
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. HHM Rijnaarts

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

ETE-22806 Principles of Urban Environmental Management.


This course 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 (water) services.
The course begins with an introduction of the different physical and organizational elements describing the existing systems to handle urban energy and water 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).
A major challenge for managing urban environmental infrastructures that is addressed is the asset management of the ageing existing urban infrastructures in the context of the crowded subsurface in which many stakeholders claim room for their cables and pipes. The transition towards multi-asset management is placed in the perspective of building new infrastructures in developing areas.
A second challenge that is addressed is the development of new ways of recovering energy and nutrients from waste water streams together with the impact of decentralised energy generation on the total cycle of water services. Guest lecturers are invited to share their experiences in relation to this aspect.
In this course students will carry out a group work in which the development of the infrastructure of the city of the future is explored and presented. The assignment concentrates on the development of one infrastructure (clean water, waste water or energy) in two possible surroundings (newly built city or transition from present to future situation). The 6 variations are analysed on a number of parameters in groups of 4 tot 5 students and presented in a short report and presentation at the end of the course.
The course includes an excursion to an infrastructure company that manages multiple assets, like drinking water production and distribution in combination with a sewer network. The company Waternet or a combination of companies will be visited, depending on available time and locations. Within the excursion some practical projects on network rehabilitation will be visited as well as a workshop with materials used in practice.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain the importance of urban energy, water, sanitation and waste services for the urban environment;
- recognize the historical evolution and current and future trends in the management of energy, water, sanitation 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) and what the balance of economics and technology is;
- understand the organization of (utility) companies and evaluate how strategic and operational decisions may affect the performance of utility companies;
- explain the interaction between various infrastructures, both on technical and governance level and indicate what consequences this has on asset management;
- design a blue print for urban service infrastructures (energy, water, sanitation and waste) for a new city and a city in transition from present solutions to future blue print;
- explain the difference between New Public Management and Public Value Management and indicate the consequences for the asset management system.


- lectures;
- field visits;
- project.


- closed book written exam (60%);
- assignments (40%)
To pass a passing mark (5.5 or higher) is required for each part.



Restricted Optional for: MUEUrban Environmental ManagementMSc5MO