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Integrated Project: Industrial and Urban Systems


Title course: Industrial Ecology Project: Urban Systems

Coordinator(s): Ulf Hackauf (TU Delft, A+BE)
Instructors: Ulf Hackauf (TU Delft, A+BE), Aksel Ersoy (TU Delft, A+BE), Lisa Scholten (TU Delft, TBM), Maarten Bakker (TU Delft, CEG), Paula van den Brom (A+BE), Henk Jonkers, (TU Delft, CEG), Laure Itard (TU Delft, A+BE)

Entry requirements

This course is part of the MSc Industrial Ecology (joint degree between Leiden University and Delft University of Technology). The course builds up on the knowledge and skills taught in the first semester of the MSc Industrial Ecology. The course has two tracks: 1) urban systems and 2) industrial systems. During Q2, students will be invited to choose between the two tracks. Before the start of Q3, students are informed about their placement, the intention is to divide evenly the first year cohort into the two tracks, by taken into account the preferences of the students. In the description of the course and the learning goals below, the urban systems and industrial systems are presented together, but in the end the student will only have to meet the requirements for one of the tracks, based on the placement described above.

Description course

Many sustainability challenges are related to urban systems and industrial systems. The way urban and industrial environments and their infrastructures are built and transformed and how people live in them and work in them has an impact on greenhouse gas emission, resource depletion, pollution and the generation of waste.

In this course, we approach urban environments and industrial systems from an ecosystem perspective. We focus on three important flows energy, water, construction materials, and resources. Analyzing these flows reveals the complexity of urban and industrial environments. The flow systems are related in multiple ways. An intervention to improve one flow can have a negative impact on another flow. Spatial interventions hold potentials for synergies, for example between an improved local water management and more liveable green spaces for local inhabitants, or the possibility to find the synergy between an industrial cluster and an urban area nearby.

To understand and work with this complexity, we start with a careful analysis of a provided urban plan or a provided industrial network, that can be described as an eco-industrial park or a circular economy region. Each flow system of the plan is analyzed and modelled. The outcomes are combined into an integral sustainability assessment of the provided urban plan or provided industrial network.

In the second part of the course, the assessment forms the base for improvements the provided urban plan or industrial network. The shape and position of the buildings and open spaces are adjusted where needed and flow related improvements are translated to spatial interventions. Or in the case of the industrial network, the outline of the process, the flowsheet, or the value chain are translated to design interventions. This can lead to conflicts between different interventions. Therefore, trade-offs are identified and negotiated while synergies are thought and strengthened. Here, aspects as spatial qualities, cluster behaviour, liveability and ecology are taken into account as well, leading to an integrated new urban plan or industrial network.

This new plan or network is put in the institutional context of its location. Stakeholders that are relevant for a successful realization and maintenance of the plan are identified. The final outcome is an improved, integrated and implemented sustainable urban development or sustainable industrial development.
For acting successfully in the complexity of urban environments and industrial environments negotiation, collaboration and communication are crucial skills. Therefore, this course pays extra attention to transferable skills in this field.

Learning goals Urban Systems and Industrial Systems track:

After completing this course, you are able to…
1. Assess the sustainability of a provided urban plan or provided industrial system by applying calculation models for key resource and waste flows.
2. Propose spatial and technical adjustments that improve the provided urban plan or provided industrial system, based on your assessment. You are able to analyze the effect of your adjustments by applying your calculation models and use the gained insight to further elaborate the plan accordingly.
3. Identify trade-offs and synergies between your proposed improvements and key qualities of urban plans or industrial systems. You are able to argue, how trade-offs should be mitigated and synergies should be strengthened. You are able to translate your argumentation into further improvements, leading to an integrated sustainable urban plan or industrial system.
4. Relate your improved urban plan or industrial system to a provided institutional context. You are able to identify key stakeholders required for a successful and synergetic implementation and maintenance of your improved and integrated sustainable urban plan or industrial system.
5. Apply several transferable skills, such as collaboration, presenting and giving feedback.

Education format

Q3: Lectures, workshops and self-study
Q4: Lectures, workshops and self-study, group work with table reviews, presentations and peer feedback

Assessment forms

You are assessed on the basis of (group) reports related to the contents of the course. In addition, you are also assessed and/or asked to reflect on certain transferable skills.

Class schedule

Monday afternoon, Thursday morning throughout Q3 and Q4.


Course materials will be provided during lectures.


This course uses Brightspace. Course documents, the course manual, announcements etc. can be found via Brightspace. To get access to the Brightspace page of this course, you first need to register via uSis.


MSc Industrial Ecology students can register for the course and exam via uSis. Other students need to contact the study advisors of the program via