RMIT has launched a first-of-its-kind Ethical Cities massive open online course (MOOC) at the UN global cities summit, to educate people around the world in ethical concepts and practice for cities.
Created by RMIT University in partnership with the UN Global Compact Cities Programme (UNGCCP), the Ethical Cities course is designed for groups including government, the private sector and citizens in shaping a shared vision for their cities.
More than 47,000 delegates gathering in Quito, Ecuador, for the third UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) are there to witness the unveiling of the New Urban Agenda – a plan to shape urban development over the next two decades.
RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean CBE, has been involved in the course's development from the beginning, delivering the keynote address at the Ethical Cities Urban Thinkers Campus in Melbourne, Australia, in February 2016.
"I asked the team at the UN Global Compact Cities Programme to consider how it may be possible to share their work internationally," he said.
"I am delighted they have worked with RMIT to develop this very important MOOC hosted on the FutureLearn platform."
Lead educators for the course are Dr Brendan Barrett, Research Fellow at UNGCCP, and Professor Ralph Horne, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation, for RMIT's College of Design and Social Context.
Addressing the Plenary of Habitat III in Quito, Horne emphasised the critical role universities such as RMIT have in partnering with city governments, the private sector and civil society to deliver ethical cities.
"We need these partnerships as part of the New Urban Agenda, adopted by the UN and its signatory nations at Habitat III, to secure future urban prosperity and sustainability," he said.
"As a university located in the centre of the world's most liveable city, RMIT has developed a critical mass of expertise in this area, particularly through the RMIT Centre for Urban Research," he said.
Barrett said Habitat III was the perfect event for the launch of this MOOC.
"The course is designed for anyone interested in urban issues, and we also see it making an important contribution in taking the New Urban Agenda forward," he said.
RMIT and the UNGCCP have contributed to this New Urban Agenda over the past year under the framework of the World Urban Campaign, organising the Urban Thinkers Campus in collaboration with World Vision International in February, and an Urban Innovation Forum at RMIT Europe organised with UN Habitat in Barcelona in July.
Ethical Cities: Shaping the Future of Your City runs for five weeks, beginning 14 November.
Story: Chanel bearder