MOOC: Planning for Climate Change in African Cities

Starts April 17

This MOOC is developed by IHS in collaboration with United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-Africa), African Local Governments Academy (ALGA) and Erasmus University Rotterdam and it is part of a series of MOOCs on urban development in African cities. The course is available on

Course trailer 

Course description

The “Planning for Climate Change in African Citiesis a 5-week long massive online open course (MOOC) that provides the foundation for understanding cities’ exposure and sensitivity to climate change, and how cities can manage these impacts in the face of growing uncertainty. It does so by introducing the basic concepts of urban resilience and adaptation, by using illustrative case studies in different African cities. Developed in collaboration with United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-Africa), African Local Governments Academy (ALGA) and Erasmus University Rotterdam, this MOOC provides lectures on the different approaches for climate change planning, whether ad hoc, strategic or mainstreaming; introduces the different steps in the planning cycle – from initial assessment to monitoring and evaluation; and presents the different decision support and assessment tools for prioritizing climate change actions. This course broadens the discussion on planning for climate change by engaging learners to apply their knowledge and practice their decision-making skills in a simulated exercise.

In line with development that minimizes the harm caused by climate change impacts, while maximizing the many human development opportunities presented by a more resilient future, we ask: what are the connections between urban risk and vulnerability? How is climate change and urban resilience conceptualized and applied in practice? Which policies and measures should be introduced to address climate change? Finally, how to choose among different measures that address climate change adaptation, urban resilience, and other development objectives?

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, learners should be able to:

  • Recognize the effects, impacts, and drivers of climate change in cities
  • Understand the drivers of urban risk and vulnerability in the context of climate change
  • Distinguish the typologies, approaches, and tensions of climate change adaptation
  • Explain the different approaches and steps in climate change planning
  • Examine the decision support and assessment tools for climate change
  • Develop a climate change plan based on participants’ city contexts


Stelios Grafakos: Head of Urban Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change at IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Veronica Olivotto: Climate Change Adaptation Expert at IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Dr. Andy Gouldson: Professor of Environmental Policy at University of Leeds
Dr. Diana Reckien: Associate Professor at Faculty of Geo-Information and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente
Dr. Shuaib Lwasa: Associate Professor at Department of Geography, Geo-Informatics and Climatic Sciences, Makerere University
Marcus Mayr: Associate Human Settlements Officer at Urban Planning and Design Branch, Climate Change Planning Unit, UN-Habitat
Dr. Nathalie Jean-Baptiste: Institute of Human Settlements Studies, Ardhi University
Dr. David Dodman: Director of Human Settlements of the International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED)

How can I join the course?

The course will be available on Coursera. The sign-up is free, but you will need to create a Coursera account if you wish to participate.