The ever increasing urbanisation in combination with the depletion of natural resources and environmental degradation pose a major challenge to the professionals in the field of urban environmental management worldwide. Their contribution is called upon to ensure that resources are used wisely, resilience of natural systems is guarded, and the benefits for the city dwellers are distributed equitably. The diversity in terms of urban typologies and scales of intervention require creative and flexible solutions that are appropriate to these different settings. Professionals in the field of urban systems engineering develop and implement suitable technologies, infrastructure and management systems that enable recovery of resources, close energy, water and materials cycles, create a healthy urban environment, and thereby contribute to the quality of urban living.
These studies comprise questions concerning:
- Resource flows (energy, water, and materials) through cities and surrounding rural areas;
- Development of new appropriate technological solutions responding to specific urban environmental challenges;
- Integration of elements from different systems for optimization of resource use (for example, the co-treatment of sludge from septic tanks and municipal organic waste);
- Development of tools for strategic technology assessment and selection based on sustainability criteria;
- Application of the tools in selection of sustainable infrastructure and/or management schemes for specific cities;
- Integration of environmental technologies into the design of urban spaces at different scales (building, neighbourhood, district, city).
Depending on the focus of the chosen research, the major thesis in Urban Systems Engineering can be co-supervised by staff of the Environmental Systems Analysis (ESA), Environmental Policy (ENP), Land Use and Planning (LUP) or other groups. Students can learn more about the education and research related to this discipline by visiting the website of the Environmental Technology Group.