Sustainable Cities


It is expected that the student acquires the capacity of analysis and a solid understanding of the main challenges, reasons and consequences of the (in)sustainability of the cities, in their various dimensions and in an integrated and systemic perspective

General characterization





Responsible teacher

João António Muralha Ribeiro Farinha, José Carlos Ribeiro Ferreira


Weekly - 2

Total - 37

Teaching language



No special requirements are needed. But knowledge of English is important.  


  • Cidades Sustentáveis 2020; DGT – MAOTE, Portugal; 2015.
  • Cities of Tomorrow; CE, DG Politica Regional; União Europeia, 2011.
  • Compact City Policies: OECD, 2012.
  • Nova Agenda Urbana – Habitat III; UN, 2016.
  • Por Uma Estratégia de Cidade Sustentável; Ed. UN-Habitat + CICS.Nova; 2017.
  • Sustainable Communities – The Potential for Eco-Neighborhoods; Ed. Barton, H.; Earthscan; 2000.
  • The Sustainable Urban Development; Ed. Wheeler, S.; Routledge, New York, 2004.
  • Understanding Urban Ecosystems. Rees, W.; In: A. Berkovitz et al, eds, New York; Springer, 2003

Teaching method

Critical reading of scientific articles, discussion in class, presentations by the teacher, accomplishment of exercises for consolidation of materials, researches in the Internet with virtual technical visits to sustainable neighborhoods and cities (the students are provided with research guidelines and a set of site initial addresses for each project), visualization of training videos made available by UN-HABITAT and other reference organizations, follow-up and orientation of the practical work of the students, and oriented field work in urban districts of AM Lisboa. Presentations and discussion of results

Evaluation method

Attendance in at least 50% of classes and satisfactorily perform 
the three Exercises provided for in the Program.

Practical Work: 50%; 
Test on all subjects: 50%.

Subject matter

Three main components:

1. Build Fundamentals. Concepts, paradigms and components of sustainable cities. Sustainable cities policy, the European Union and the United Nations. ODS with emphasis on Objective 11. Flows, cycles and urban ecology. Urban parameters, densities, mix of functions, urban form and environmental consequences. Factors and actors that shape and produce city. Different spatial scales: building-neighborhood-city-region-global.

2. Case-Studies. Analysis and discussion of concrete cases leading to the transformation to sustainability. Learning about characteristics, objectives, architecture of the project, implementation factors and urban innovation. Cases of Vauban, Hammarby, De Bonne, etc., and cities like Freiburg, Oslo, Curitiba, etc. Creation of a sustainable urban quality benchmark.

3. Hands-on. Practical application of knowledge in urban areas / concrete neighborhoods in Lisbon, making use of the knowledge and quality benchmark acquired through the Case-Studies.


Programs where the course is taught: