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Physicist Geoffrey West has found that simple, mathematical laws govern the properties of cities -- that wealth, crime rate, walking speed and many other aspects of a city can be deduced from a single number: the city's population. In this mind-bending talk from TEDGlobal he shows how it works and how similar laws hold for organisms and corporations.
Did you know that cities take up less than 3% of the earth’s land surface, but more than 50% of the world’s population live in them? And, cities generate more than 70% of the global emissions? Large cities and their hinterlands (jointly called metropolitan regions) greatly contribute to global urbanization and sustainability challenges, yet are also key to resolving these same challenges. If you are interested in the challenges of the 21st century metropolitan regions and how these can be solved from within the city and by its inhabitants, then this Sustainable Urban Development course is for you! There are no simple solutions to these grand challenges! Rather the challenges cities face today require a holistic, systemic and transdisciplinary approach that spans different fields of expertise and disciplines such as urban planning, urban design, urban engineering, systems analysis, policy making, social sciences and entrepreneurship. This MOOC is all about this integration of different fields of knowledge within the metropolitan context. The course is set up in a unique matrix format that lets you pursue your line of interest along a specific metropolitan challenge or a specific theme. Because we are all part of the challenges as well as the solutions, we encourage you to participate actively! You will have the opportunity to explore the living conditions in your own city and compare your living environment with that of the global community. You will discover possible solutions for your city’s challenges and what it takes to implement these solutions. Your participation will also contribute to wider research into metropolitan regions as complex systems. We invite you to take the first steps in understanding the principles that will be essential to transform metropolitan regions into just, prosperous and sustainable places to live in!