Glasgow Caledonian University, UK - Coordinator
Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Finland
University of Huelva, Spain
Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree, Master in Urban Climate and Sustainability (MURCS)
About the Master in Urban Climate and Sustainability:
Rapid urban growth and sprawl in many developing regions, as well as urban decline in the post-industrial developed world places high demands on contemporary urban policy makers, managing authorities and urban planners.
While this in itself is a huge challenge, the changing climate – especially in cities – places even greater demand on professionals to mitigate and adapt to climate change while enhancing the quality of life of urban dwellers. In the EU, the key challenge is to retrofit cities to adapt to changing climate in the short term, while contributing to the mitigation of climate change in a sustainable manner in the long-term.
The knowledge base exists in pockets within cities, but the call to begin the planning and redesigning of urban areas with much more attention to climatic considerations is yet to be systematically attempted. Scientific knowledge about urban climate, pollution, ventilation and the implications of climate change needs to be integrated with urban planning and urban design while being mindful of practical planning and management barriers to implementation.
At the same time, issues needed to be addressed by urban planning and design are becoming increasingly complex – from sustainability issues, the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, global and local (Urban Heat Island) warming and GHG/carbon reduction. Such a growth in issue coverage is far beyond the capacity of the fragmented knowledge of today’s urban development professionals. Managing urban climate change in a sustainable manner is a vital need for the 21st Century and new professionals able to lead and manage this process are urgently needed.
The current multiplication of specialists cannot answer the core need for a professional with an overview of the issues of urban quality of life, with ability to manage the development process and give leadership. Central to this is the promotion of sustainable, climate sensitive urban growth with mutual understanding between professions. Such an inclusive and integrated education program targeting urban and global climate change did not exist until now.
In light of the above, a need exists for a common qualification which allows:
- existing urban professionals to establish new knowledge and skills, and
- those with a multidisciplinary environmental background to specialise in urban sustainability and climate change in an intercultural context.
We propose to achieve this by the integration of thematic knowledge on three subject-specific streams (Planning and Management informed by adaptation and mitigation Science) as shown in the illustration above, but linking these into a coherent curriculum that produces the next generation of thought leaders able to manage urban climate change in a sustainable manner.
The Partner Universities
Glasgow Caledonian University (UK)
Glasgow Caledonian University is the overall programme coordinator and leader of the Management stream.
Research underpinning MUrCS emanates from the Sustainable Urban Environment Research Group (SUE-RG), a large group of researchers within the Department of Construction and Surveying, ranked among top 20 in the UK for its research impact. Led by Prof Rohinton Emmanuel with international research interests in energy efficiency and sustainable urban development, SUE-RG spans areas including building performance, indoor environment, carbon management and sustainability.
The SUE-RG has longstanding expertise in urban sustainability with special emphasis on urban heat island research and mitigatory approaches to reduce its overheating potential. As a result, the group secured funding from the Glasgow Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership (GCVGNP) to explore the potential of green infrastructure to tackle the overheating problem likely in the near future, due to climate change augmented by urban warming in the Glasgow and Clyde Valley region.
Additionally, the group has recently secured funding from the European Commission to develop green infrastructure assessment protocols for urban green spaces across the EU.
Lahti University of Applied Sciences (Finland)
Lahti University of Applied Sciences is the ledaer of the Planning stream.
LAMK has well established and extensive connections with local and regional working life partners providing realworld examples to its students. International relationships, projects and exchanges have been steadily increasing, leading to better opportunities in international education and research. Focus areas include, clean and dynamic environment, well-being and regenerative growth, design and smart industries.
The Faculty of Technology has increased the volume of environmental R&D projects, especially in the area of sustainable urban environments, so that they form the majority of faculty’s external funding. This provides opportunities to both Bachelor and Master programmes to play a significant role. Dr Eeva Aarrevaara is the programme leader of the Master programme in Urban Sustainability.
A key strength of LAMK team is the connections with practice-based projects, R&D projects, education and thesis work in the following areas: urban and communicative planning, protection of cultural environments, energy efficiency of built environment, sources and use of renewable energy, recycling and reuse of materials, waste treatment and management of storm-water in urban settings as well as modern education technology.
University of Huelva (Spain)
University of Huelva is the leader of the Science/Technology stream.
UHU bring several research activities that support MUrCS pedagogical and research requirements. Prof JL Aguado Casas, Department of Applied Physics is the Programme Leader for MSc in Environmental Technology. UHU team has access to the teaching and research capabilities of four groups: Air Pollution Research Group, focused on atmospheric aerosols and pollution; Computing Chemistry Research Group, studying thermodynamic behaviour of complex systems of fluids (water, hydrates, etc.); Centre for Research in Sustainable Mining, with the ability to analyse and establish remedial strategies against water pollution; Environmental Radioactivity Research Group, bringing a complete set of modelling techniques that could be used in geology, air pollution, meteorology or biotechnology applications.
UHU has extensive expertise in a wide range of environmental instrumentation and measurements. Other expertise includes Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Health Impact Assessment (HIA).
Following partners are associated with the core team, and provide resources such as teachers, thesis ideas and supervision, study visits, internships etc:
- University of Bologna, Italy
- University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
- Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel
- North West University, Mmabatho, South Africa
- University of Sao Paolo, Brazil
- International University of Andalucia, Seville, Spain
- Glasgow City Council, UK
- Province Authority of Huelva, Spain
- City of Lahti, Finland
- CEC Design AB, Olofström, Sweden
- Atlantic Copper SLU, Huelva, Spain
- Ramboll Finland OY, Espoo, Finland
- Jacobs Company, London, UK