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25 Years


Innovative Urban Solutions to the Global Water Crisis: New free, online course on Harvard/MIT Edx

New, free online course from award-winning UBC Professor Karen Bakker

Learn about innovative urban solutions to the global water crisis with inspiring real-life examples from architects, engineers, planners, ecologists, and artists.

This free, 6-week course will be offered on edX, the non-profit, open source online learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT.

About this Course

Over 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water. High levels of water insecurity threaten 80% of the world’s population. Addressing the global water crisis is increasingly complicated by controversial trade-offs between water needs for energy, food, and the environment.

How can we innovate to address these issues? In this course, you will learn how to apply innovative “blue-green” design at the urban scale, focusing on Vancouver – one of the world’s leading cities for blue-green design. In a series of compelling videos, you will meet inspiring innovators: architects, planners, engineers, ecologists, designers, academics, community activists, and even an artist. As you learn about cutting-edge concepts from urban ecology to blue-green building design, you will explore multiple perspectives from interdisciplinary research in the social and natural sciences, and be inspired by examples of regenerative sustainability in action.

Join our community of water-centric thinkers seeking solutions to the global water crisis!



Addressing Urban Poverty: Participatory Approaches and Tools

From the PRIA International Academy, this course is an intensive exploration, which details out the concept of urban poverty in a contemporary setting and examines the ways in which community-led participation can be an effective tool in dealing with the challenges urban poverty poses. The course details the varied facets of urbanization and urban poverty and the impacts they have on the majority of urban dwellers – the urban poor.The course also takes the learner through a range of community participation tools and methods that may be deployed to maximize the benefits of urban development, to include the urban poor. The course also discusses a wide range of conceptual issues and practical challenges faced by practitioners, adult educators, researchers, resource providers and policy makers in using a participatory approach in managing, tracking and evaluating development programmes. The course also contains a large number of practical illustrations drawn from the repertoire of knowledge based on field programmes conducted by PRIA.



International Perspectives in Participatory Research

PRIA International Academy is now offering this exciting course. Today, in an increasingly post-industrial world, information and knowledge are two key resources of development. Ownership and control of information technologies and communication have led to the growth of knowledge elites who represent and institutionalize them.

This has led to the delegitimization of popular knowledge and the subordination of common people. Participatory research explores the concept of conducting research with and for people. Participatory research examines and understands the challenges of poverty, inequality, and exclusion from the vantage point of the marginalised.

Collation of local community knowledge would not only increase understanding of the complex interactions among economic, social, political and behavioral factors that contribute to disparities but also inform the design of interventions aimed at reducing these disparities.

Participatory research can also be used as a tool to empower the marginalised, by giving them ownership and control over their knowledge, as a means to improve their life situations. This certificate course is designed to acquaint learners with participatory research perspectives, which link research to issues and methods of social change. It helps unravel nuances of the term participation through the study of participatory research (PR).