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Pre-University Honours Programme: Sustainable Cities

Sustainability means satisfying the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Young people today have grown up in a world where sustainability is one of the most pressing issues. But aside from its definition, what does it really mean, and how do we implement best practices in order to ensure a livable future for ourselves and the generations that will follow?

  • Programme at a glance
    Mode of instruction: On-site (2 weeks) 
    Academic dates: Sunday 25 July - Thursday 5 August 2021*
    Housing dates: Saturday 24 July - Friday 6 August 2021*
    Academic fees: €1350* read more about what is included.
    Housing fees: €450* and a €75 refundable deposit. For more information, see Housing and practical matters.
    Early admission deadline: 1 February 2021
    Regular admission deadline: 1 April 2021
    Who is this programme for? For current high school students (must be 16+) interested in urban studies, sustainability, and the social and behavioural sciences.

    *Dates and prices are tentative and subject to change, and will be finalised by 1 December 2020.   

  • Programme description

    In an urban environment, sustainability is practiced and planned for in many ways. This programme will begin by framing the topic in the varied forms that it takes within a city. We will begin with the most pressing questions of environmental sustainability, and branch out from there to discuss social and economic sustainability more broadly, and investigate key developments in these fields. Amsterdam, and the Netherlands in general, is the perfect place to study this topic. Over the last decade, Amsterdam and other Dutch cities have been at the forefront of sustainable development in many fields. We will use Amsterdam as a living laboratory to delve into topics such as:

    • Sustainability from the Dutch perspective: Water management, and planning for climate crisis. We will ask students to reflect on adaptation models for climate change, and discuss and share examples from their home contexts.
    • Neighbourhood transformation: From gentrification and affordability to social sustainability and ageing populations, neighbourhood change is one of the most pressing topics in urban studies today.
    • Sustainable lifestyles: How can we use not only clean technology, but also mobilize behavioural psychology to implement wide-spread change?
    • Mobility: Amsterdam is often called the cycling capital of the world, and in general, mobility is an important topic for urban studies, from cycling to public transit and car-shares.
    • Urban agriculture: We will make an excursion to Rotterdam to investigate ongoing urban agriculture projects, from rooftop farming to citizen-led initiatives.
    • Waste management: Achieving a sustainable city also requires rethinking our waste-management systems.
    • A new urban economy: (How) should an economic system be changed with sustainable principles in mind? Examples include commons, and sharing/circular economies.

    This programme is designed for high school students to experience studying in a competitive, international environment at the Graduate School of Social Sciences of the University of Amsterdam. The lectures and all course materials are in English. Participants in the course will develop study skills and become acquainted with learning methods that will give them an advantage as they continue their education at University.

  • Academic directors

    Daniel Bossuyt (MSc) completed his Research Masters in Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam in 2016. In addition to studying at the University of Amsterdam, he also studied at the Free University of Berlin and Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) at Stockholm. Daan is the Academic Director of the Pre-University Honours Programme in Sustainable Cities. He is currently pursuing his PhD with the Human Geography, Planning and International Development department at the University of Amsterdam. Daniel's research focuses on self-build housing in the Netherlands and Brazil.

    Afra Foli (MSc) completed the Research Master in Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam in 2016. Her study included a research visit at the University of Pretoria. She is currently pursuing her PhD with the Human Geography, Planning and International Development department at the University of Amsterdam. Her thesis is on waste practices/infrastructure in rapidly growing cities, using the case of Accra to investigate socio-political interactions with waste in urban space. 

  • Explore our community

    Want to get to know more about studying in Amsterdam? Follow us on social media and join our summer community. Get a feel for our summer school vibe and our academic and social community, and learn about studying with us through the eyes of past summer school students. 

    Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter 

    Looking for an alumni perspective? Read this interview with Grace Forrest, who attended the Pre-University Honours Programme: Politics & Identity in summer 2018. 

    Want to hear more from Afra and Daan? Listen to this episode of our podcast Mokum where they reflect on the concept of home and the factors that go into making and sustaining one. 

Pre-University Honours Programme: Sustainable Cities
Mode Short-term
Credits 0 ECTS, 2 weeks
Language of instruction English
Starts in July