The growth and development of cities in the 21st Century presents significant challenges,
including sustainable development, the planning and design of urban space and social
wellbeing. With thousands of smart-city initiatives around the world, smart urbanism is now
one of the dominant models of urban development. Projects for smart cities involve the
regeneration of existing urban areas as well as the creation of large new settlements, and have
a major positive impact on the many environmental, social and economic systems that
underpin the planet. Meanwhile, and with a strong overlap with smart city initiatives, cities
around the world are reacting to broader environmental challenges, such as climate change
through measures aimed at developing sustainable solutions. The global scale of such
challenges has been recognized within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) under the
heading of ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’. Here, the promotion of safe, inclusive and
sustainable cities is outlined as a central pillar of creating a sustainable urban future.
Smart-city initiatives have a multi-dimensional nature. As projects that are aimed at improving
urban spaces, they are deeply connected to issues of urbanisation and urban planning.
Moreover, projects for smart cities involve the production of a number of technologies such as
wireless sensor networks designed to produce data on how the city operates, and innovative
efficient or low-waste electrical grids. Therefore, because of their focus on technological
innovation, the development of smart cities goes beyond the science of the city and is also the
product of studies in computer science and engineering. Finally, once implemented, smart
interventions take place not upon a blank canvas, but rather within complex ecological and
social systems whose dynamics must be taken into account, in order to avoid environmental
degradation and biodiversity loss.
Particularly in terms of sustainability, the multi-dimensional nature of smart-city initiatives can
be understood only through an interdisciplinary approach. This new MSc in Smart and
Sustainable Cities approaches the study of smart and sustainable urbanism by drawing from the
research-based expertise of leading scholars from Trinity’s Energy, Environment and Emerging
Technologies Institute (E3). The programme, which is the first dedicated programme of its kind,
will provide students with an in-depth understanding of smart and sustainable cities, using (a)
the tools of urban geography and planning to examine the spatial formation of smart cities; (b)
methods in engineering and computer science to analyze the functions and applications of
smart technologies, and (c) insights from ecology to explore the environmental impact of both
‘smart-city projects’ and wider transformations of contemporary cities. The programme is thus
of interest to a wide range of students from different backgrounds. Career options after
graduation include working in urban planning and in the private sector engaged in smart city
The M.Sc. in Smart and Sustainable Cities will be delivered full-time over one year. The course comprises 8 compulsory modules, carrying 5 ECTS credits each, and a Dissertation module carrying 30 ECTS credits. In addition, students also take a total of 20 ECTS of optional credits to give a total 90 ECTS for the course, as outlined below:
Core (compulsory modules)
• Urban Governance
• Smart Eco-Cities of the Future
• Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
• Urban Sustainability
• Introduction to Machine Learning
• Research Method
Options (choose 4)
• Transportation Policy
• Transportation Modelling & Planning
• Energy Policy & Building Energy Demand
• Urban Computing
• Artificial Intelligence
• Machine Learning
• Environmental Policies
• Human Interaction with Biodiversity
• Climate Justice, Climate Change & Development
The programme draws upon existing modules within the Schools of Computer Science, Engineering and Natural Sciences as well as introducing new, core modules exclusive to this masters. For some of the optional modules, pre-requisites apply and admission is dependent on getting the module coordinator’s approval, based on prior education and experience.
The course will have a mandatory field trip to one of three alternating European cities. This allows students to gain insights into the ways in which different approaches emerge within specific social, political and economic contexts in which they are embedded. The fieldtrip will alternate between: London, as exemplifying the connections between global transformations and urbanization; Amsterdam as a prototype of sustainable urban living, and; Brussels as a city that provides insights into the connections between urban governance and sustainability
The course will incorporate a mandatory industrial in-company placement module. The placement is designed to allow students to link their in-class learning to hands-on approaches within a particular sub-area of smart cities and urban sustainability. This will be achieved both through the experience of the work placement itself and through the completion of a report, which will form the majority of the coursework on this module (80%). Students will be expected to seek out and secure their own placements. However, students will be given assistance in finding relevant organizations.
This course is designed to meet the learning needs of students who want to enter an expansive but demanding employment market, preparing them for professional work in institutions and public or private companies, in the field of Smart and Sustainable Cities. Graduates have pursued careers in urban planning and in the private sector engaged in smart city initiatives.
Click Here for further information on modules/subject.
Study Smart and Sustainable Cities (M.Sc.) at Trinity
Hear from Dr Philip Lawton (Course Director) about Trinity's new postgraduate Smart & Sustainable Cities (M.Sc. / P.Grad.Dip.).
Number of PlacesMinimum EU - 5/Maximum - 16; Minimum Non-EU - 4/Maximum non-EU: 16 Places
Dr Philip Lawton
Dr Philip Lawton
31st July 2023
Admission to the course is competitive. Applicants will be expected to have an Honours
Bachelor degree at 2.1 or above in a social science or science-based course such as Engineering,
Sociology, Computer Science, Economics, Geography or cognate fields.
In case of heavy competition for places or concerns regarding a particular applicant’s suitability,
applicants may be interviewed or asked to submit a written sample for assessment. Non
standard applicants may be considered by the Dean of Graduate Studies in exceptional
circumstanced based on workplace experience or other criteria relevant under the Recognition
of Prior Learning policy.
Click here for a full list of postgraduate fees
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