Bibliographic resources
Bibliography mandatory
Bibliography not mandatory
Summary Teaching Assignment
Academic Year 2018/2019
Type of Teaching Doctorate
Professor Colombo Emanuela
Cfu 5.00 Type of Course Mono-Disciplinary Course

Phd Programme From (included) To (excluded) Course

Detailed program and learning outcomes

Objectives and contents of the course

 Over the last decades, the interest of the international community for the multiple interconnections among resource availability their equitable distribution and the impact on development and society has widely increased. The 2030 Agenda by the UN System and the 17 Sustainable Development Objectives highlights the world is increasingly interconnected and social challenges are getting more and more complex so that a global call to multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder actions is recognised. A consistent number of goals (like SDG6, SDG7, SDG14, SDG15) deals directly with natural resources which are a necessary precondition for human and social promotion, as well as an instrumental right to fight poverty. Moreover, at least three others (like SDG11, SDG12 and SDG13) clearly states that the consequences of consumption and production patterns and behaviours, human activities and urban development may strongly affect the path toward Sustainable Development.

Technological Development, Resource Exploitation, Urban Planning need to better respond to the needs, capacities, and aspirations of local people and be absorbed within the local culture to sustain ownership, promote prosperity, environmental preservation and social equity. For this reason, one solution never fit all and proper life-cycle planning methodologies are required which may provide effective and comprehensive planning

The course mission is to provide a general overview of the various aspects of Sustainable Development and aims at equipping PhD candidates with enhanced understanding of the global challenges of development as far as resource management is concerned. Main goals include (1) to explore the rationale underpinning global resource management and the ensuing implications; and (2) to provide a broad context to enable the PhD Candidates framing a research approach (i.e their current Ph.D theses but also future researches) in a way that is consistent with the paradigm of Sustainable Development.


The learning outcomes may be aggregated into four areas of knowledge

1. The students will learn the foundation and the evolution of the main development models from the Marshal plan to the new paradigm of Sustainable Development; The will learn the principles of resource planning in different areas: energy, water, food and climate. Students will also understand the main implication among resources and development.

2. The student will be able to apply the principle of Project Cycle Management with sepcific reference to the cause-effect determinants by revising the rational of their research in the light of the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs.

3. The students will learn how to make choice and provide judgement within complex framwork, they will be able to identifying and defining a set of priority

4. The students will learn how to write an essey and how to present it given a certain time and audience.


Notes on methods of assessing

Organization of the course and exam details

Each student will write and present a scientifically sound essay detailing the way his/her research subject can be framed within the broad context of Sustainable Development. Student will also identify their problem three presenting the cause-effect relationship of the problem they aim to solve with their research work.Two-person teams are also encouraged to support team work and cross-fertilization (at any rate, one essay per student is requested). The essay will be also presented and discussed.


Teaching activities
Start date
End date

Schedule planning

The course is structured across modules 

Module 1: the paradigm of Sustainable Development

1.1 Sustainable Development & global challenges (2 h) - E. Colombo (DENG)

1.2 Principle of Project Management (2 h) – E. Colombo (DENG

1.3 Fundamentals of Design for Sustainability. (2 hours) -C. Vezzoli (DESIGN)

1.4 Fundamentals of Social Innovation (2 h) –, M. Calderini (DIG)


Module 2. Energy & Water

2.1 Global Energy Challenges and Access to Energy (2 h) - E. Colombo (DENG)

2.2 Energy Accounting and Modelling (2 h) - M. Rocco (DENG)

 Blended class and discussion on (some lectures of) Polimi POK (2 h): “The strange paradox of the world energy questions”


External Discussants: KTH /CHALMERS


Module 3: Water & Food

3.1 Planning and managing complex hydro-energy systems (3 h) - A. Castelletti (DEIB)

3.2 The sustainable global water and food security challenges (3 h) - C. Rulli (DICA)

 Blended class and discussion on (some lectures of) TBD (2 h)

External Discussants: from AACHEN - EPFL


Module 4. Climate change and planetary boundaries

4.1 Climate chance (3 h) - R. Casagrandi (DEIB)

4.2 Climate Modelling (3 h) -M. Tavoni (DIG)

4.3 Air Pollution in cities

Blended class and discussion on (some lectures of – TBD (2h))

External Discussants: TBD (2 h)


Module 5. Cities & food

5.1 Urban Challenges  and the role of Sustainable Building (2 hours)- N. Aste (DABC)

5.2 Understanding Urban Metabolism (2 hours)- E. Morello, (DASTU)

5.3 Food Supply Chain and Food Waste (2 hours)- P.Garrone (DIG)

 Blended class and discussion on (some lectures of) Polimi POK

“Sustainable building design for tropical climates: principles and guidelines for EAC”


Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaEach instructor will provide 1-2 scientific paper to be used as bibliography for each topic
Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaMonique Kremer, Peter van Lieshout and Robert Went, Doing Good or Doing Better development policies in a globalizing world, Editore: Amsterdam University Press, Anno edizione: 2009

Chapter: 1,2,3, 5

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaUNSDNS, TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD: THE 2030 AGENDA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, Editore: Nazioni Unite, Anno edizione: 2015

Didactic forms
Type of didactic form Teaching hours
computer laboratory
experimental laboratory
project laboratory

Information in English to support internationalization
Course offered in language English
Study material/slides available in English
Textbook/Bibliography available in English
It is possible to take the examination in English
Support available in English

Note Professor
The Lessons will be delivered in one intensive week. The week is still to be confirmed within the frame given January, 22nd - February, 9th
schedaincarico v. 1.6.1 / 1.6.1
Area Servizi ICT