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Cities, Climate and Change: Pathways and Opportunities

This course explores how we can design, create and achieve climate neutral and sustainable cities.

We embrace the “mission to the moon” approach for tackling greenhouse emissions from cities putting an emphasis on pathways and opportunities. We utilise insights and inspiration from Sweden, Europe and around the world.

We target how to support individuals and organisations in developing transformative skills and capacities for climate action in cities. We focus on mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions but also connect to adaptation, resilience, social justice and sustainable development in the context of cities, climate and change.

This course is inspired by the Massive Urban Missions project funded by the Swedish Energy Agency. It is supported with funding, films and materials from Viable Cities – a Swedish Strategic Innovation Program. The course features researchers, practitioners and entrepreneurs from a range organisations.

It includes contributions from ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Vinnova – Swedish Innovation Agency, the European Commission, SEI – Stockholm Environment Institute, and the WRI Ross Centre for Sustainable Cities as well as municipalities in Malmö, Sweden; Fort Collins, USA; Bonn, Germany; Melbourne, Australia; and Kampala, Uganda.

How can we develop transformative skills and capacities to achieve climate neutral and sustainable cities?

Course weeks

The course is designed around 5 weeks that are deeply interconnected. We therefore created a format that provides a diversity of ways to learn and creatively engage with the content.

  • Week 1: Visions and Plans. In this week we begin with looking at visions for climate action and the plans or strategies on how to achieve ambitious goals.
  • Week 2: Data and Tools. In this week we explore tools and data for climate action and creating both immediate and long-lasting impacts.
  • Week 3: Finance and Partnerships. In this week we tackle the key challenge of financing climate action and the vital role of partnerships.
  • Week 4: Engagement and Action. In this week we delve into community and citizen engagement and how it underpins climate action.
  • Week 5: Research and Innovation. In this week we connect climate action to research, evaluation and innovation.

Course materials

The 5 weeks in the course are filled with a cross-cutting mix of 6 different types of learning materials, including different types of films and podcasts .

  • Lecture films on the 5 core topics of the course as well as highlights on leading international initiatives on climate action in cities.
  • Documentary-style films on innovation teams, climate city contracts, climate investment plans, system demonstrators and transformative portfolios.
  • Documentary-style films with a special focus on city financing for climate neutral cities.
  • Podcast interviews with insights and inspiration from ICLEI, the European Commission, and the WRI Ross Centre for Sustainable Cities.
  • Discussion films with municipalities from around the world - called Coffee Break With Cities.
  • Presentation films from Vinnova – the Swedish Innovation Agency on designing missions.

Course features

  • In total 25 films and 5 podcasts with a mix of presenters from research and practice.
  • 5 weeks duration, approximately 3 hours of course work per week.
  • You may transfer to later sessions to extend the course.


Austronat on the moon with the earth in the background

Massive Urban Missions

This course is inspired by the Massive Urban Missions project funded by the Swedish Energy Agency.

Two persons jumping with sunset in the background

Viable Cities

This course is supported with funding, films and materials from Viable Cities – a Swedish Strategic Innovation Program.