Innovative Governance of Large Urban Systems MOOC

“Innovative Governance of Large Urban Systems” addresses the three phases of the urban value chain: planning, governance and regeneration. With lecturers from all around the world and concrete case studies, this course will give you a comprehensive overview about the “Innovative Governance of Large Urban Systems

Introduction and Learning Outcomes

This course has assembled some of the most relevant experiences and knowledge from our Innovative Governance of Large Urban Systems (IGLUS) Executive Master’s program, which has been offered by EPFL during the past 5 years. IGLUS consists of 2-week action-learning organized in over 10 major cities around the world, during which participants acquire an in-depth understanding of the challenges cities are facing and the ways they are addressing them. This MOOC will share this knowledge with you, thanks to some of our lecturers from various disciplines and from all around the world.

During this course, you will learn about the three phases of the urban value chain, which are: planning, governance and regeneration. In particular, we will address the unique challenges of the phases and ask questions such as:  how to design cities? How to govern them, especially when it comes to their institutional, financial, economic and social dimensions? And how to regenerate urban spaces?

Thanks to this course, you will:

  1. Analyse the evolution in city planning and the related strategies impacting the creation of urban space;
  2. Understand the main challenges of urban governance in its institutional, financial, economic and social dimensions; and
  3. Assess the different strategies for urban renewal.

Requirements and Evaluation

In order to obtain a certificate for this course, participants must pass all the graded quizzes. Participants will also have the possibility to write an optional 7-10 page case study related to one of the MOOC’s three main topics (planning, governance, regeneration) in their home cities. The case will be reviewed by our jury and authors of the 3 best papers will be granted a tuition waiver scholarship to enroll in our professional Executive Training Program on the Innovative Governance of Large Urban Systems.

Structure of the course

The course is structured into 4 weeks of around one-hour lectures. Each week is subdivided into five, 10 to 12-minute, self-contained video lectures, followed by practice quizzes. Useful links and bibliographical references are also provided.  At the end of each learning week, you may also complete a graded quiz in order to assess your learnings throughout the section.

The course is structured as follows:

Week 1: Designing cities

During this first week we will examine the urban planning phase, and in particular try to understand the complexities involved in the “production of urban space”.

Week 2: Governing cities I

The main objective of the second week is to analyse the institutional, the organizational and the financial issues of metropolitan governance.

Week 3: Governing cities II

During this third week, we will still be dealing with urban governance, yet focusing on the economic and social justice challenges and how to address them.

Week 4: Urban regeneration

During the fourth week we will address the third phase of the urban value-chain, namely various ways and means of urban regeneration.


If you have any questions, you can write to us at

During the course, you will be supported by a team of TAs from EPFL, and our lecturers will periodically attend the forums to answer some of your most common questions directly.  To take full advantage of the course, please also consider liking our Facebook page, joining the LinkedIn group and following us on Twitter.

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.

Approx. 12 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 weeks of study, 1,5-3 hours/week


Subtitles: English, French