MSc Specialisation: Managing and Financing Urban Infrastructure

The MFUI specialization provides hands-on knowledge and expertise on how local governments can most efficiently provide, manage, finance and operate municipal infrastructure assets to deliver desired levels of services to help cities become greener (more sustainable).

The specialization is anchored on our Green City concept, which provides a framework to help cities become greener, more sustainable and competitive. The green city concept sees the city broadly composed of three elements (parts): the built environment (man-made physical structure also called here infrastructure), the natural and the anthropogenic (citizens).  Decisions on infrastructure influence the other two parts and will affect the city's green performance, liveability and sustainability.

Infrastructure is considered in this specialization as the physical structure of a city and as such, it influences the urban forms which are influenced by urban design and directly affects habitat, ecosystems, water quality, quantity, travel behavior and displacement which, in turn affects energy consumption, socio-economic conditions, environmental quality, land use, climate change and city sustainability.

The specialization is oriented towards developed, transition and developing countries and focuses on the built environment part of a city covering the following infrastructure sectors: 1-Water and Sanitation (drinking water, wastewater, storm water & urban floods (green infrastructure) and solid waste/circular economy, 2-Energy and Transport  (electricity, renewable energy, green transport and green building). Finance instruments and governance approaches are exposed across these two sectors. An overview of the sectors, topics and activities of the specialization can be seen in the 'MFUI at a glance' figure.

The theoretical framework of the specialization and the IHS green city conceptual framework will be used by our students as the base to develop their researches protocols. This is done within the Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Research Workshop (SUI). In this specialization research is formulated using different theories, concepts and aspects of governance, asset management and finance. Research objective within this specialization aiming at explaining, assessing and or evaluating the quality of the services being delivered by public and private service provider organizations as well as the impacts of these services on the city green performance and the local socio-economic and environmental sustainability.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the course the participant should be able to:

  • Describe the role of the infrastructure in helping cities to become greener.
  • Identify and analyse the relationships 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 a 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 delivery good services and to  improve the green performance of cities

Research Workshop (SUI)

Research within the specialization is formulated using different theories, concepts and aspects of governance, asset management and finance. It covers issues related to water, sanitation, energy, and transport service delivery, and their relations with our green city conceptual framework, city livability and sustainability.

Actually, the specialization is especially interested in conducting research on the topics shown below. Other topics can also be accepted if approved by the coordinators of the specialization and the thesis supervisor.

Some recommended examples of research:

  1. Influence of operation and maintenance of infrastructure in delivering good quality service
  2. Impacts of infrastructure governance in delivering good quality service and on local development
  3. Influence of green infrastructure on the urban green spaces (UGS), especially involving the quantification of special ecosystem services (ES) of selected types of urban green space (UGS) using high-resolution data
  4. Influence of energy efficiency and renewable energy on improving city livability and green city performance
  5. Influence of energy efficiency and renewable energy on the circular economy of the building sector
  6. Influence of accessibility (connectivity), green fuels (electric autos) and intelligent transport modes on green city performance

Student testimonial

"MFUI is a comprehensive program that covers all infrastructure sectors in an integrated way. It provided me with knowledge and expertise on how cities can manage, finance and efficiently operate their infrastructure and most importantly in a socio-economic and environmentally sustainable way. Thanks to this specialization, I now know the principles of resilient, energy efficient and smart city infrastructure."

Abeer Almomani, Jordan Urban Management and Development master’s student 2015-2016

Managing and Financing Urban Infrastructure (MFUI): Water & Sanitation, Energy, Transport and Green City

Lecturer and Associate Lecturers




IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Ogenis Brilhante


IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Alberto Gianoli


IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Somesh Sharma


IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Stelios Grafakos


IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Julia Skinner


ESSB, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Jacko van Ast


ESSB, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Harry Geerlings

Prof. Dr.