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Home > About SUSTAIN

About two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in towns and cities in the next 50 years. A forecast of the UN Habitat Forum (2008) indicates that over 90 percent of the urban growth over the next 15 years will occur primarily in developing countries.

Many of the current developments negatively impact on natural resources and the environment through poor planning, misinformed or unfit urban design, air and water pollution, increase in waste generation and a rapid increase on carbon emissions contributing to global climate change.

Cities are often poorly equipped to manage the effects of natural disasters, climate change, contaminated or unstable land and health pandemics. Many will need massive investments in infrastructure, public services, institutional capacity, and environmental programs if basic security, health, safety and over-all conditions are to improve for the majority of urban residents. Given this background, cities need to develop the capacity and implement the policies that will drive them to the transition to sustainable urban development.

Higher education has a significant role to play by educating and training the future urban managers and planners. There is a growing interest on research and education in new urban issues in EU as well as in non-EU countries due their scale and pace of urbanization as well as to the speed of change these countries experience overall. Education needs to cope with this pace of change and provide knowledge and build skills to young professionals to deal with challenges that lie ahead.

With these in mind, the SUSTAIN Project aims to:

  • To develop innovative learning packages on Sustainable Urban Development.
  • To promote collaboration and international cooperation between European and Asian Higher Education Institutions in SUD.
  • To improve the quality of Higher Education in Sustainable Urban Development (SUD) in Europe and partner Universities in Asia.
  • To establish links and bridge Higher Education and practice in SUD.
  • To increase the employability of students.

As such, in this website you can:

  • Find information about SUSTAIN learning resources,
  • Learn about the practical implications of studying in Europe, and
  • Get the latest news, publications and project updates.


photo by: Maraya Bien

"We aim to benefit students from Asia and Europe from high quality international and multidisciplinary educational programmes with practical orientation showcasing how theory can be applied in practise."

Project Partners

  • ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, World Secretariat

    The ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, World Secretariat is the world's leading association of cities and local governments dedicated to sustainable development. This includes 12 mega-cities, 100 super-cities and urban regions, 450 large cities as well as 450 medium-sized cities and towns in 84 countries. ICLEI promotes local action for global sustainability and supports cities to become ustainable, resilient, resource-efficient, bio diverse, low-carbon; to build a smart infrastructure; and to develop an nclusive, green urban economy with the ultimate aim to achieve healthy and happy communities. ICLEI has partnered with Higher Education institutions on numerous occasions in the implementation of projects ad research. In addition, a number of ICLEI projects have included the development of case studies and training materials linking practice to theory.

  • Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, China

    The Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture offers high education (bachelor, master and PhD), professional training, academic research, advisory services and applied research in architecture, urban planning, urban design, civil engineering, urban environment and energy engineering, mapping and urban space information science, economy and humanity and law. Its mission is to develop knowledge and institutional capacities to improve urban sustainability and the quality of life in cities. BUCEA has established tens of national key laboratories and research centres that offer unique opportunities for both staff and students conducting academic and applied researches. The Beijing Climate Change Response Research and Education Centre (BCCRC) offers climate-related researches, education, professional training and technology and policy advisory services.

  • Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, India

    The Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology offers undergraduate and post-graduate programmes as well as training programmes and consultancy services in the area of natural and built environment and related disciplines. The Faculty of Planning and Public Policy focuses on sustainable development of human settlements and improving quality of life of the urban and rural populace through better access to employment opportunities, infrastructure service and housing. It offers knowledge with regards to theory of planning, history, legislation, and institutional aspects, imparts skills with regards to quantitative and qualitative methods, plan making and its implementation, planning processes, leadership and communications and installs values with regards to ethics, social justice and conservation of natural resources. 

  • Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia

    The Graduate Programme in Urban and Regional Planning (MPKD) in collaboration with The Center for Studies in Regional Development (PSPPR) ) is a collaboration of two university level study programme and research centre aimed to nurture and develop the field of urban and regional planning within Gadjah Mada University. To achieve this mission a three-prong strategy has been the Centre’s main approach: education and training, research and consultancy, and community services. Since its inception in 1977, the programme has graduated more than 1,200 masters in urban and regional planning, conducted hundreds of research and consultancy in cooperation with government agencies at the local and national level, as well as with private companies. More recently, a training programme was developed to provide training to local government officials from all over the country.

  • Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy

    Ca’ Foscari University of Venice teaches approximately 20,000 students and covers four scientific and cultural areas: Economics, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Humanities and Sciences. The university is organized in 8 Departments and 6 Interdepartmental Schools which are responsible for teaching and research. The University offers double degree programmes in cooperation with European and extra-European institutions and universities which enriches the international focus of the university, increasing the mobility of students, researchers and professors. The Department of Economics is one of its most dynamic departments; it offers BA and MA courses in economics, finance and applied economics, focusing on urban and port issues and in two executive master courses: Management of the Metropolitan Region and Port Management.

  • European Academy of Bolzano, Italy

    The European Academy of Bolzano is an advanced private no-profit research and training center. Its activities include national and international research and training projects as well as direct cooperation with the industry. At the local and national levels, EURAC has a very strong role in supporting territorial government within the energy efficiency and regional development fields as well as carrying out very high quality studies and research activities. EURAC is organized in 11 research institutes, performing research activities in different fields. In particular, the Institute for Renewable Energy conducts applied research in the field of Solar Thermal Systems, Photovoltaic systems, Energy in Buildings and Energy Strategies in Planning

  • National Technical University of Athens, Greece

    EPU, which is a Decision Support Systems Laboratory from the NTUA, is a multidisciplinary scientific unit which carries out research and development projects and provides high level training services on a wide range of complex societal and technical problems. Over the years, it has become a real master in all aspects of energy and environment related issues. The specific areas where energy and environment related training and research and development activities and services are mainly offered include: energy and environmental policy and strategies, capacity building in the energy and environment sector, focusing on renewables, energy efficiency and climate change; design and development of energy/environment models and tools; design and implementation of dissemination and visibility actions towards a wide variety of stakeholders.

  • Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany

    The Darmstadt University of Technology is one of the leading research universities in Germany which offers a wide range of subjects. Research and teaching at TU Darmstadt focus on technology not only from the perspectives of science and engineering but also of those of social sciences and the humanities. The inter-and-multi-disciplinary approach at TU is reflected in various research clusters and centres. The Centre provides also an interdisciplinary PhD training programme within the Graduate School of Urban Studies (URBAN grad). Moreover, the MSc. programme in International Cooperation and Urban Development – Mundus Urbano addresses the dynamic challenges of cities in the global South due to rapid urbanization processes providing adequate professional and academic solutions in the field of urban development and international cooperation.

  • Rotterdam School of Management, Netherlands

    The Rotterdam School of Management is one of Europe’s leading and largest business schools among the 1% of schools worldwide with Triple Crown accreditation. The school is a world leader in research and teaching on sustainability and provides accessible and up-to-date information on cutting-edge research, ideas and works published on the subject of corporate eco-transformation. Furthermore, the Centre connects scientists, students and business practitioners worldwide providing a forum for interaction and the exchange of ideas among scholars and business executives on the best ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change locally, nationally and globally. RSM aims to reach a clearer understanding of the management challenges posed by climate change and to identify how to accelerate change in climate adaptation and mitigation. 

  • The Dutch Research Institute For Transitions, Netherlands (DRIFT)

    The Dutch Research Institute for Transitions at Erasmus University Rotterdam is the international leading institute in the field of Sustainability Transitions and especially Transition Management which is a systematic process-approach that helps to structure complex problems in terms of analysis, vision, scenario, agenda, and experimental interventions. DRIFT has many years of experience, an extensive transition network, and a proven track record in developing ‘’glocal’’ innovative visions and strategies based on the transition management framework. DRIFT has been involved in local, national, international projects concerned with energy, water, food in urban areas and in national policy arenas, and other utility and provisioning sectors; and its expertise is focused on sustainability and sustainability transitions and has participated in a variety of European research projects. 

  • Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Netherlands

    The Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies is the international institute for Urban Management at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. IHS offers specialized post graduate and accredited education and training, advisory services and applied research in the fields of climate change, sustainable urban development, urban management, housing and urban environment. The institute works closely with local governments, international and local non-government organizations and the private sector worldwide, mainly in Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and Africa. It has extensive knowledge of the circumstance faced by developing countries and transition systems. Its mission is to develop human and institutional capacities and provide support to policy makers to reduce poverty and improve the quality of cities worldwide. 

Project Sponsors

  • European Commission

    The European Commission is the EU's executive body and represents the interests of Europe as a whole. The Commission's main roles are to: set objectives and priorities for action, propose legislation to Parliament and Council, manage and implement EU policies and the budget, enforce European Law (jointly with the Court of Justice), and represent the EU outside Europe (negotiating trade agreements between the EU and other countries, etc.).

  • Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency

    The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) is responsible for the management of certain parts of the EU's funding programmes in the fields of education, culture, audiovisual, sport, citizenship and volunteering. The Agency is responsible for most management aspects of the programmes, including drawing up conditions and guidelines for funding opportunities evaluating applications, selecting projects and signing project agreements, financial management, contacts with beneficiaries, monitoring of projects (intermediate and final reports, and controls), on-site project visits; information and support to applicants and beneficiaries; dissemination and exploitation of projects' results; and contribution to European Knowledge and expertise.