For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
You are using a browser that is no longer supported by Microsoft. Please upgrade your browser. The site may not present itself correctly if you continue browsing.
At the request of the Executive Board, the IIS is developing the new minor programme 'Rethinking Sustainable Societies'. This minor will focus on sustainability, incorporating perspectives from all faculties. In September 2021, the pilot course 'Rethinking Sustainable Societies: New Perspectives' was launched and the pilot course 'Rethinking Sustainable Societies: Urban Lab', in partnership with the Municipality of Amsterdam, will start in January 2022. With new insights and a hands-on approach, we want to give students the right tools to work towards a sustainable world. In addition, two minors developed by the Future Planet Studies degree programme will be open to UvA students from all disciplinary backgrounds: 'Sustainable Food Systems' and 'Global Water Challenges'. The intended start of all three minors is September 2022.

First edition Urban Lab about to start

Urgent action to address climate change and ecocide is necessary, but so far, we have failed to make structural changes. That is why, in the course Rethinking Sustainable Societies: Urban Lab, students will work intensively at the local level on a current societal issue. At the Municipality of Amsterdam's request, the students have four weeks to create a socially inclusive climate plan that directly affects people and their environment. 

Impact at the local level

Dr Mendel Giezen, university lecturer in sustainable urban development and coordinator of the course, explains: "In Urban Lab, students will learn about planning processes, combined with Design Thinking and project management. Attention is paid to different perspectives and stakeholders, equality and environmental justice."

The Municipality of Amsterdam has designated several areas in the city for which a socially inclusive climate plan must be developed. Attention is given, for example, to the question: How can the city be made sustainable, taking into account the various interests, needs and possibilities of residents, the municipality, shopkeepers, Waternet and housing associations? Quite the challenge.

A glimpse into the future

The Urban Lab course is part of the pilot project for the new sustainability minor Rethinking Sustainable Societies, which students from all UvA faculties will be able to take as of September 2022. In the first block of this minor programme, students will take a course on the history of the climate crisis, developed by associate professor Peter van Dam. This course reflects on the climate crisis from a historical perspective - the history of the planet and the history of humanity - and explores how the development of the climate crisis can be understood. Simultaneously, students take the course Rethinking Sustainable Societies: New Perspectives, making the connection with other, contemporary perspectives on sustainability.

In block two, students can choose from several elective courses. The minor is concluded with the Urban Lab, in which students put their acquired knowledge into practice in a Pressure Cooker format of four weeks by completing an assignment from an external client. 

More information

Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to register for the first edition of the Urban Lab course, which will start in January 2022. For questions about the minor programme or Rethinking Sustainable Societies: Urban Lab, please contact coordinator dr. Mendel Giezen.

Dr. M. (Mendel) Giezen

University lecturer in sustainable urban development and infrastructure