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5 Online Courses on Inclusive Architecture and Cities

When you move about a city, how comfortable are you? Are spaces designed with a variety of needs in mind or is it clear that the architect only thought about a certain kind of person? Inclusive architecture is architecture for everyone. It takes into consideration factors like age, ability, gender, and culture. As society becomes more sensitive to the challenges that many face, there’s been significant progress. Here are five online courses that educate students on the history of inclusive design, how to plan and develop inclusive spaces, and more:

Urban Upgrading for Inclusion, Sustainability, and Resilience in a time of Global Pandemics

Language: English
Institution: WBGx
Length: 9 weeks

This course examines both the conceptual and operational parts of designing, implementing, and sustaining a slum-upgrading intervention. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the third of the global urban population living in slums has faced major challenges. This course aims to educate policymakers and urban practitioners on how to respond. By the course’s end, students will understand urban slums, why they exist, and their impacts. They’ll also be equipped to analyze policy approaches, what’s worked in the past, and what needs rethinking. Planning, finance, infrastructure, land tenure, housing, and social inclusion will also be covered. With 4-5 hours of work per week (it’s a self-paced course), you can complete the course in 9 weeks. For $5, you get a verified certificate.

Rethink the City: New Approaches to Global and Local Urban Challenges

Language: English
Institution: DelftX
Length: 7 weeks

The first course in a 3-course program, “Rethink the City” focuses on today’s urban challenges in the Global South. Students will examine three different themes that go beyond how we traditionally think about urban strategies and policies. These themes are: spatial justice, housing provision and management, and urban resilience. Discussion centers on if the “just city” framework applies to cities with extreme socioeconomic inequalities, as well as if community-led housing initiatives are effective. Case studies come from places like Ghana, Brazil, China, Malaysia, and Ethiopia. By the end of the course, students will develop a critical perspective on their urban environment and know how to apply analytical tools and new solutions. With 3-4 hours of work per week, you can complete this course in about 7 weeks.

Global Housing Design

Language: English
Institution: DelftX
Length: 6 weeks

The second course in the “Inclusive and Sustainable Cities” program, “Global Housing Design” addresses the need for adequate housing. Nearly a billion people live in slums. That number will grow if innovative strategies are not embraced. This self-paced course covers the social, economic, and environmental factors at play in housing design. Time, environment, and community should be considered. These will each be examined through the lenses of incrementality, topology mix, and clustering. “Global Housing Design” is an intermediate level course, so students need an undergrad in architecture/urban design/planning or previous knowledge in disciplines that dealt with the built environment (like applied sciences or housing in social sciences).

Building Inclusive Cities: Tackling Urban Inequality and Segregation

Language: English
Institution: DelftX
Length: 7 weeks

Around the world, cities are dealing with rising inequalities and socio-economic segregation. While the wealthy cluster in the best urban areas, poverty is spreading to the suburbs. Where a person lives in a city determines the kind of life they have. Using examples from around the globe, this course looks at the main drivers of urban inequality. Students will learn how segregation is measured, as well as the consequences of segregation and urban inequality. Based on your urban context, you’ll develop urban design and policy solutions. This is an intermediate course and the third course of the “Inclusive and Sustainable Cities” program, so the instructors recommend you at least take the “Rethink the City” course as an introduction. With 4-5 hours per week, you can finish “Building Inclusive Cities” in 7 weeks. This is an instructor-paced course.

Reimagining Blackness and Architecture

Language: English
Institution: MoMa
Length: 4 weeks

Architecture is everywhere. It’s houses, streets, neighborhoods, and cities. This course asks the question: “Who gets to create and occupy these spaces?” Over 4 weeks, students will learn about the relationship between Blackness and architecture from Black artists, architects, writers, and scholars. The course uses five themes: Imagination, Care, Knowledge, Refusal, and Liberation. By the course’s end, students will know how race and racism have shaped the built environment, how Black creatives have reimagined that environment, and how architecture plays a part in a better future. This is a beginner-level course, so there are no prerequisites or prior knowledge required. Deadlines are flexible. The first week’s lessons take about 3 hours; the rest take 2 hours.

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About the author

Emmaline Soken-Huberty

Emmaline Soken-Huberty is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. She started to become interested in human rights while attending college, eventually getting a concentration in human rights and humanitarianism. LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and climate change are of special concern to her. In her spare time, she can be found reading or enjoying Oregon’s natural beauty with her husband and dog.

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