Climate-Resilient Cities

Climate-Resilient Cities is an international, interdisciplinary and immersive programme aimed at young professionals in city governments who aspire to enrol in a life-long learning trajectory, and who after graduation will continue to ‘learn on the job’ in their city to strengthen the in-city capacities to build resilience and lead change.

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    What is Delft based

    This programme will run entirely at UNESCO-IHE in Delft, the Netherlands

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Delft based, Delft, Rotterdam (the Netherlands)starts in October

New set-up MSc Programmes

IHE Delft introduces a new set-up for its MSc Programmes. From 2022 onwards, the Institute offers the MSc Programme in Water and Sustainable Development (68EC/120EC).

For whom?

The programme is open to young professionals with a few years working experience in cities coming from different backgrounds (climate science; geography; engineering; architecture; planning; social studies; ICT). They aspire to acquire theoretical and practical knowledge from diverse disciplines (such as (urban) system analysis, planning, design, engineering and governance) and develop key competencies in relevant sectors linked to water and climate adaptation actions in cities.


Students who successfully completed this programme will be awarded with an MSc degree in Water Science and Engineering with specialization in Sustainable Urban Water Management.



Start: 21 October 2021
Application deadline: 01 August 2021

Learning objectives

Upon graduation, students will be able to:

  • Apply systems thinking and analysis to cities, with an emphasis on water.
  • Identify the links between the urban water cycle, urban management and governance, and urban design processes.
  • Work with a range of tools and methodologies to effectively co-discover, co-learn and co-design with both professionals and broader stakeholders, including non-specialists.
  • Achieve greater self-awareness of how to lead change in cities.

Structure & contents

Core elements of the program include academic courses, group work (design sessions), excursions, exams, and a written master thesis. The approach is based on two pillars: 1) theory-based disciplines and research and design-based learning methods in which the specific areas of expertise are provided by IHE, TU Delft, and IHS/Erasmus University Rotterdam; and 2) application of the acquired methods to co-develop/design strategies and technical solutions together with local stakeholders and communities through a close interaction and knowledge exchange in response to relevant identified urban challenges. Key expected results and impacts include the dissemination of the intellectual outputs to the cities and the formation of a CRC alumni network, which is linked to the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) and intended as a peer learning platform to support GRCN cities. The program takes place partly in Delft, partly in student’s home city, and partly online. The program has a duration of 18 months (120 ECTS) in the period 2021-2023.

  • October - April

    IHE Delft, The Netherlands
    • Introduction to Water and Development Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Familiarize with the educational environment and procedures of IHE Delft and collaborate in multidisciplinary and intercultural teams
      2. Recognize and distinguish different ways of knowing and framing water questions and problems in order to appraise water challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective
      3. Reflect critically on water related interventions, formulate own standpoint and engage constructively in debates
      4. Place the specialized knowledge on own discipline into a broader understanding of water related issues, challenges, debates and developments
    • Hydrology and Hydraulics Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Explain the concepts of Geographical Information Systems and apply them in practical examples relevant to their specialization.
      2. Carry out basic measurements in the wave and current flumes at the hydraulic laboratory.
      3. Describe and apply the concepts of hydrology needed for their specialisation.
      4. Describe the principles and basic equations of water flow and to apply them to various practical situations.
      5. Describe the main concepts of steady/unsteady and uniform/non-uniform flow.
    • Urban System Analysis, Planning and Management: An Introduction Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Recognise systems thinking and analysis in relation to cities
      2. Identify a range of tools and methodologies that are useful to effectively discover, learn and design urban water systems
      3. Describe Integrated urban water management frameworks, urban water cycle components and their interrelations
      4. Relate the links between urban water cycle, urban planning, design and implementation processes
      5. Explain the lack of integration and constraints in the environment which hinders systems approach in cities
      6. Compare the various planning and management aspects that are prevalent in their cities
    • Urban Drainage and Sewerage Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Describe the chemical and biological processes that take place within sewer systems, and evaluate their implications for the design and operate of urban drainage systems
      2. Be able to judge different design options and alternative scenarios
      3. Explain the standard practice in designing urban drainage systems. Prepare drainage system designs by integrating information on hydrological, hydraulic, economic and practical engineering concerns.
      4. Critically assess and analyse quantity and quality characteristics of stormwater and wastewaters originating from urban environments as a basis for the design, operation and maintenances of urban drainage system facilities.
    • Asset Management Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. o Define asset management in your own words. List and describe the essential steps of an asset management plan and provide example problems from one’s own experience which asset management approach would be/would have been able to solve;
      2. Explain Risk-based asset management decision making. Apply hydraulic modelling to establish significance of asset components of water distribution/drainage systems;
      3. Describe asset condition modelling approaches. Recommend suitable modelling approaches for practical problems and appraise the recent developments in the field of Asset Management of water infrastructure.
      4. Explain the historical processes that made asset management approach important for urban infrastructure engineers and managers and describe the drivers that make asset management crucial for sustainable provision of water related infrastructure services
      5. Describe the concept of asset life-cycle costing. Perform LCC calculations using spreadsheet; o Describe the role of optimization in asset management. Apply optimization techniques for solving simple urban water problems.
      6. Describe the techniques used in asset inventories (e.g. condition rating) and describe the importance of data for asset management process.
    • Urban Management Required

      Hosted by IHS, Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam

      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:

      • Discuss and describe the key characteristics of complex decision-making as it affects urban resilience, and identify the problems associated with urban complexity.
      • Understand the multiple dimensions and objectives of urban management and recognize the importance of the policy process and tools for implementation in the context of resilience.
      • Appreciate the significance of financing and governance, as decision-making factors in a situation of urban complexity, where government is no longer necessarily the lead actor in development, but one among many.
    • Module 7 WSE SUWM (elective) Elective
      • M3635 - Water transport and distribution
      • M3625 - Water quality assessment and monitoring
      • M3232 - River basin modelling
      • M3519 - Water and environmental policy analysis
    • Infrastructure & environment Required

      Hosted by Delft University of Technology

      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:

      • Formulate a design perspective that is based in a conceptual or theoretical framework
      • Identify and discuss the synergy between natural conditions and technological potential and possibilities in urban environments
      • Apply methods concerning the appraisal of sustainable urban environments and infrastructure
      • Be able to evaluate designs and formal plans
      • Develop requirements and examples for infrastructure on a regional scale
    • Fieldtrip and Fieldwork WSE Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Integrate quantitative measurements with qualitative terrain observations and prior information to evaluate and analyse the relevant predominant processes in a study area.
      2. Critically analyse field results, and identify/recognise possible areas of error or uncertainty.
      3. Apply this assimilation of data to engineering cases.
      4. Select and apply different, appropriate field instrumentation and measurement methods in practice and organise the measurements.
      5. Demonstrate a multidisciplinary overview of actual technical, research and organizational activities in the field of water management, hydraulic engineering and hydrology.
      6. Report detailed technical information received.
    • Urban Water Systems Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Understand and evaluate the impacts of urban water systems on the receiving environment.
      2. Explain the processes that are necessary for modelling, analysis and planning of water distribution systems.
      3. Give a detailed decription of the processes that are necessary for modelling, analysis and planning of sewerage and drainage systems.
      4. Explain in detail the processes that are necessary for the modelling, analysis and planning of wastewater treatment plants.
      5. Analyse an integrated urban water system and judge among different multifunctional measures
      6. Describe the processes that are necessary for analysis and planning of urban water systems.
    • Water Sensitive Cities Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Argue that considering multiple aspects of the water systems could provide opportunities to add extra value and create substantial additional benefits related to water management projects. Estimate such benefits using toolkits. (ILO4:MultipleValues)
      2. Illustrate the importance of 'mainstreaming' water sensitive elements to general urban development process. Describe concrete examples (real-world and hypothetical) of such mainstreaming. (ILO5: Mainstreaming)
      3. Argue that the three main components of the urban water cycle (UWC) management are interdependent. Describe the interactions with other important aspects of UWC like groundwater, urban atmosphere, etc., and how they affect each. (ILO2:Integration)
      4. Analyse the stakeholder involvement in the management of water in city. Argue that for effective embedding of water-sensitive features to urban development, stakeholders should also include traditionally 'non-water' domains. (ILO6:Stakeholders)
      5. Reflect on the relationship of WSC principals and practice to existing cities and their sub-components (e.g. neighbourhoods). Propose (conceptual) next steps in moving towards a more water-sensitive state for a given concrete case-study. (ILO7:Vision)
      6. Describe the historical transition of cities from the viewpoint of water management. List salient features of that transition (both positive and negative). (ILO1:History)
      7. Identify interactions between water system components, while following 'thematic' topics (e.g. urban hydrology, water transport and distribution). Describe how to exploit such interactions to enhance livability, sustainability and resilience of cities.
    • Summer course Elective

      Five-day summer course. Elective topics include Sustainable Development Goals, nature based solutions, leadership, gender issues and serious gaming, all related to water science/engineering/management.

    • Groupwork WSE Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Present, argue and report the strategy as well as the corresponding programme of measures in an integrated and interdisciplinary manner.
      2. Develop inter- and multi-disciplinary project activities in integrated teams.
      3. Provide a diagnosis of the main challenges and interlinkages between those challenges for the case study area.
      4. Develop a shared strategy to answer the challenges based on a coherent programme of measures.
      5. Organize an integrated team including a division of roles, individual and shared responsibilities, a transparent decision-making process, and a monitoring and evaluating procedure of the produced outputs and deliverables
    • Thesis Research Proposal Development for WSE Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. demonstrate analytical problem-analysis skills and the ability to distil the strategic issues to be addressed in the research phase
      2. plan, using the project management approach, the research process in weekly time-steps and indicate essential milestones, targets and indicators, required human, financial and other resources, deliverables and perceived threats and constraints at eac
      3. develop and formulate the research proposal in a clearly written, well argued and convincing report, submitted within a set deadline
      4. list available literature and replicate main arguments expounded in the literature on the specified research topic
      5. successfully present and defend individual work, cross-reference it to and critically evaluate it in light of contemporary thinking in a specific field of study
      6. concisely define the intended research topic, state precise aims and objectives, describe the research methodology, argue expected relevance and justification, and identify boundary conditions and self- or externally imposed limitations
    • MSc research, thesis and defence Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Explore the background of the research problem by critically reviewing scientific literature; Evaluate relevant theories and applying these theories to a relevant scientific problem; Assure adequate delineation and definition of the research topic
      2. Conduct research, independently or in a multidisciplinary team by selecting and applying appropriate research methodologies and techniques, collecting and analysing data.
      3. Demonstrate academic attitude and learning skills (incl thinking in multidisciplinary dimensions & distinguishing main issues from minor ones), to enhance & keep up-to-date the acquired knowledge and application skills in a largely independent manner.
      4. Formulate research questions and hypotheses
      5. Formulate well-founded conclusions and recommendations based on a comprehensive discussion of the results.
      6. Communicate, debate and defend, clearly and systematically, findings and generated insights, and provide rational underpinning of these in oral and written presentations to a variety of audiences.

Application & Admission

Admission requirements

Academic admission to IHE Delft MSc Programmes may be granted to applicants who provide evidence of having:

  • A Bachelor degree at level B/B+ (US system) or 2nd upper (British system) in an appropriate field which has been awarded by a university of recognised standing, comparable in level with a Bachelor degree from a research university in the Netherlands. Exceptions can be made if a candidate is below this level, but has a substantial experience in the field of the programme and/or has a strong motivation to join the programme.
  • A good command of the English language, if this is not the first language. All non-native English-speaking applicants must satisfy the English language requirements for IHE Delft's educational programmes.
  • A strong motivation to successfully complete the programme.

More information

Further questions about the application procedure can be addressed to:

Ms. Marlies Baburek, Fellowship and Admission Officer


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