Infrastructure & Green Cities
Managing Sustainable Water, Transport, Energy, Waste and Drainage Services

Study programme

This specialisation track provides participants the expertise to develop demand driven and future-proof urban infrastructure that accelerates green transitions in cities.

The Infrastructure and Green Cities specialisation track within the M.Sc. in Urban Management and Development addresses the planning, management and finance of urban infrastructure using a smart and green infrastructure lens. The track focuses on topics such as public transportation, drinking water, sanitation and waste management, (renewable) energy and digital infrastructure, including technologies related to ‘smart city’ solutions.

Participants will learn to plan, manage, evaluate and prolong the life of infrastructure projects to better respond to current and future technological and climate change challenges in an urban setting. The track focuses on theories of change and stability, and cities as urban systems. Taking a sectoral approach, participants will work with the practical aspects of infrastructure planning, contracting and maintenance. In addition, the track highlights how infrastructure interacts with societies. More specifically, it looks at the reciprocal interaction between humans and technology in urban systems. For instance, traffic sensors can ease city management but what are the moral and privacy issues for citizens in the use of this technology? Participants will be asked to think critically and to question what are seemingly acceptable trends in thinking and practices: a narrow road can be an issue as it causes congestion but would widening it be the only solution? Or are there alternative, greener ways to access the city? Finally, the course uses a mixture of theory and practice to maximise the application of key concepts in the participants’ local context.

  • At the end of the course participants should be able to:

    • Describe the role of infrastructure in helping cities to become greener.
    • Identify and analyse the relation of urban infrastructure with land use, economic development, investment, poverty reduction, and local environmental health conditions.
    • Understand and analyse the role of infrastructure asset management in delivering service according to a pre-determined level.
    • Apply performance assessment methods to identify managerial problems affecting the good delivery of services and propose recommendations.
    • Apply innovative models and mechanisms for financing urban infrastructure to deliver good services and to improve the green performance of cities.

How is your year organized?

In the first block the programme shares courses on urban sustainability, governance, planning, policy, finance and data analytics with the other specialisation tracks. However, your assignments with the modules as well as the action planning workshop are always track-specific. In the second and third blocks, your courses will only be track-specific but all students also follow a course on GIS. In addition, the programme will strengthen your research skills through research methods courses and workshops. It will further guide you in writing your thesis proposal on a topic relevant to your specialisation track. The forth block will be entirely dedicated to you writing your thesis.

    • Determinants of pro-environmental behaviour in a circular program for plastic packaging - A case of Plastic Heroes in Amsterdam
    • Increasing share of cycling in Tel Aviv metropolis, Israel - Shift to bicycles for commuting
    • The influence of feed in tariff on private investors' participation in small- hydro and biomass renewable energy development: The case for Tanzania.
    • Effect of Online Shopping on Urban Freight Movement in the city of Hyderabad, India
    • Measuring environmental performance of smart cities in Scotland, UK
    • Pedestrianization and its socio-economic influence on historical centre of Shkoder, Albania
    • Willingness to pay for water supply of community-based water supply. The case of the rural water supply in Lumbumamara and Mapane Tambu Village
    • The influence of user awareness on user behaviour in electricity consumption at Kumasi Technical University (KsTU), Ghana
    • Determinants of the cycling behaviour to commute to work in Bogota, Colombia
    • Influence of design and maintenance of drainage system on occurrence of flooding in Fongshan, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
    • The need for speed: Explaining the influence of fare calculation and mixed-entity financing structure on the failed cost recovery of the Dutch high-speed railway
    • The influence of human resources and tariffs in operation and maintenance on non-revenue water reduction in the regional water company in Pristina, Kosovo
    • Understanding the determinants of public acceptance for congestion charge in reducing traffic congestion: the case of London, England
  • At the end of the course, the students should be able to:

    • Understand the relation of infrastructure and service delivery to land use, socio-economic development, investment, poverty reduction, climate change, environmental quality and sustainability.
    • Apply performance assessment methods to identify managerial problems affecting the good delivery of services and propose recommendations
    • Learn how to use and apply the IHS Green City conceptual framework and the tool to calculate green city performance of cities over time as well as propose actions to improve it
    • Plan and manage a green city in practice in a simulated environment
  • Blocks 1 & 2 - October to January

    • With over half of the population living in urban areas, rising to 70% in 2050, it is of ever-increasing importance to understand how cities work and evolve. Complex and interrelated economic, social, physical, and environmental processes are constantly transforming cities. Understanding cities, therefore, require us to recognize, define and describe these complex and multidisciplinary processes.

    • This course will discuss the efforts of governments, often undertaken in partnership with other stakeholders, to deliberately intervene in and influence, steer and guide the development process of cities. 

    • Local governments have a key role in the planning and execution of investments and preparation of fundable projects. In some countries, local governments have become increasingly dependent on intergovernmental transfers, which have been shrinking over time in part because of the fiscal constraints. Moreover, investment decisions are at the core of any development strategy. All these and many other aspects of financial investments are addressed in this course.

    • The Action planning Workshop incorporates the concepts learned during the Urban Governance, Policy, Planning and Public-Private Partnerships (UGPPP) module in a practical, one-week exercise conducted in cooperation with local stakeholders in the city of Rotterdam.

    • For the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas. This does not only mean that a majority of people worldwide live in cities, but also that cities are increasingly becoming larger and more complex. To account for that complexity, an ever-increasing number of quantitative data sources that cover urban areas and cities on different scales have become available, requiring urban managers to have the knowledge and skills for analysing such data and making sense out of them. This course will teach students how to harness the power of quantitative urban data by mastering the way they are prepared, visualised and analysed. The course begins with introducing students to quantitative data analysis (compared to qualitative data analysis), and continues with lectures on descriptive statistics and data visualisation.

    Block 3 - January to April

    • This module forms the heart of the specialization. You’ll learn about different types of planning modes (from state-build to Public Private Partnerships or PPP) and about different types of contracting (from traditional commissioned projects to DBFMO-type of contracts). The module considers both the planning of the system, as well its maintenance.

    • The development and implementation of infrastructure projects often run into troubles: cost overruns, delays and sub-par quality. Evaluations are pivotal to learning organizations, and for political and administrative accountability. You’ll learn about various evaluation methods, in particular about learning evaluations and about Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as important tools.

    • There is a reciprocal evolution between technology and society in cities: the advent of the car lead to more car transportation, which in turn increased demand for cars, changing the fabric of the city in the long run. The same goes for e.g. digital technology. This module reflects on that evolution, with a focus on long-term effects of using technology to change the city. It will help you in developing a critical approach to infrastructure development.


    • It is one thing to plan building an urban infrastructure, it is quite something else to reach the desired results. This module takes a closer look at the mechanisms of change and stability that govern urban system. You will learn how to read the dynamics of systems, how to analyse sources of policy resistance, and how to identify leverage points for change.

      • The specialization also features a field trip to a green infrastructure project to showcase how greener cities are established in practice.

      Block 4 - April to September

      • Designing and implementing academic research in the field of urban studies is a major component of the master’s programme at IHS. This Research Design (RD) course guides students to design academic research within the social sciences and to develop their thesis proposal.

      • For the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas. This does not only mean that a majority of people worldwide live in cities, but also that cities are increasingly becoming larger and more complex. In this context, collecting and making sense of in-depth qualitative data on complex urban issues is crucial for urban managers to understand and respond to how urban complexity is constructed, maintained, experienced and contested.

      • One aspect that makes the M.Sc. Programme unique is the fact that participants are encouraged to perform action-oriented research in their home countries or a country other than their own during the fieldwork period; there will be cases in which participants stay in Rotterdam and do their data collection in the Netherlands. To support the participants’ thesis work, as well as the quality of their output, IHS, in line with its research policy and research interest, offers participants the research workshops.