Management of Urban Infrastructures MOOC

We are happy to announce the release of the first free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), on February 16th 2016, on the Management of Urban Infrastructures. This course is offered by EPFL, and diffused through the Coursera platform. ThMUI MOOC provides an introduction to the principles of urban infrastructures management. In this MOOC, you will receive lessons from practitioners (City of Geneva, Veolia, Boston Consulting Group, CarPostal), experts (The World Bank) and academics (EPFL, CUNY). More information below.


Management of Urban Infrastructures is a Massive Open Online Course that offers an introduction to the principles of management of urban infrastructure systems. It addresses the main challenges that urban infrastructures are facing today, along with the corresponding management challenges that should be addressed in order to improve the performance of cities. The course is structured into 4 blocks. In the first two blocks, general principles of urban infrastructure management are covered. The last two blocks of the course focus on the management of urban energy and urban transportation systems as concrete cases.

Introduction and Learning Outcomes

Today, more than 3.9 billion people live in urban areas, that is, more than 54% of the global population. It is projected that urbanization will continue in the coming years, raising the urban population to 6.0 billion by 2045. This significant growth in urban populations will also increase the demand for energy, mobility, water, and other urban services in cities. The everyday lives of most of the human population now depend on how well these urban infrastructures function.  Hence, cities have to become evermore efficient in the provision of urban services.

Moreover, cities are the biggest polluters of the environment and are responsible for more than 80% of Green House Gas emissions and 75% of waste generation; due to raising awareness of the negative environmental impacts of such pollution, cities have come under pressure to further improve their performance.

Increasing demands for sustainable, inclusive, reliable and efficient urban services puts a lot of pressure on urban infrastructures. In such a challenging situation, the proper management of urban infrastructures is essential to ensure that an expected quality of service will be delivered to the citizens. This course will provide you with the basic principles that must be considered to achieve the successful management of urban infrastructure systems.

Learning Objectives

The purpose of this course is to cover the foundations of urban infrastructures management. By completing this course, the students will:

  • Understand the main challenges that urban infrastructure systems are confronted with today;
  • Become knowledgeable about how these issues translate into infrastructure management challenges;
  • Learn about the main concepts and schools of thought in the management of urban infrastructure systems; and
  • Apply such concepts and tools to the cases of urban energy and urban transportation systems.

The course offers a series of lectures that are delivered by different professors, as well as professionals with hands-on experience in the management of urban infrastructures. You will hear about many real-world examples through the course material  and also from your peers in the course forums. Finally, at the end of the course you will put your new knowledge to test by writing your own case study about the management of a particular urban infrastructure in your home city.

Requirements and Evaluation

In order to obtain a certificate for this course, participants must pass all four graded quizzes, complete the mandatory assignments, and successfully complete a final exam. Participants will also have the possibility to write an optional 7-10 page case study about the management of an urban infrastructure system in their own cities. The case will be reviewed by our jury and authors of the 3 best papers will be granted a tuition waiver scholarship to enrolé in our professional Executive Training Program on the Innovative Governance of Large Urban Systems, starting in January 2017.

Structure of the course

The course is structured into four blocks of one-hour lectures. Each of the four blocks is subdivided into five, 12-minute, self-contained video lectures.  At the end of the 5th lecture, you will have a reading that will provide you with a detailed summary of the main topics that were covered in that block and a relevant case study, and at the end of each block, you may also complete a graded quiz in order to assess your learnings throughout the section.

The blocks are structured as follows:

Block 1: Introduction to urban infrastructures

Block 2: Basic principles in the management of urban infrastructures

Block 3: Management of urban energy infrastructures

Block 4: Management of urban mobility infrastructures

In addition to fulfilling the mandatory requirements necessary to obtain the course certificate from Coursera, the participants can also write an optional case study and win a prize! The 3 best case studies will win a tuition waiver scholarship to enrol in the IGLUS professional training program, taking place Fall 2016.


If you have any questions, please refer to the course forums first. We have an online Q&A forum where you can post and respond to questions from your peers. 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 Linked-In group and following us on Twitter.

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Approx. 13 hours to complete

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


Subtitles: English, French, Persian

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4.6 out of 5 Ratings

Active Learners

I learnt a lot from this course. It’s very engaging. Prof. Matthias teaches in a simple and understandable manner. He is great. I enjoyed the course. Thank you.

An excellent course offered by the institution.I appreciate Profesor Mathias for this wonderful content.I am waiting for the next block of this MOOC. Thanks to the Coursera Team too.

“The course is very instructive and offers very necessary knowledge for urban planning students or other interested people. Professor Finger ‘s lesson is very well structured, and so are the reading materials. I particularly liked the interview videos which provide more practical information and experience regarding urban infrastructure management.”

“Good balance between presentations and interviews. The quality of the reading materials was well above my previous Coursera courses (great handouts from IGLUS!). The scope could be extended to other urban infrastructure systems. Appropriate quizzes. Final exam could be slightly more demanding (less straightforward). Overall very good.”

Really interesting course. I enjoy the lectures because they are well explained and full of important material. I recommended to anyone that have some knowledge or basic knowledge about infrastructure.