Topics in the sociological state-of-the art
Part 1: The scientific field: Environmental issues as social problems (prof. Crabbé); The urban question: the social problem as urban problem (prof. Oosterlynck); The sustainability discourse, eco-modernisation and society-wide change (prof. Vandermoere)
Part 2: Policy formation: Urban and housing policy (prof. Oosterlynck); Environmental policy and the governance of the ‘commons’ (prof. Crabbé); Transition policy and agency (prof. Vandermoere)
Part 3: Thematic deepening: Urban politics: governance, citizenship and social movements (prof. Oosterlynck); (Environmental) risk perception, dealing with uncertainty and risk governance (prof. Crabbé); Sustainable cities and the redevelopment of polluted neighbourhoods (prof. Vandermoere)
Concluding part: Thematic integration: ‘The spatial development of the Antwerp city-region’ (prof. Oosterlynck)
Topics in the economics state-of-the art:
Several perspectives on the relation economics-environment (ecosystem functions, DPSI@R, spatial, economic growth, sustainable development). The economic analytical frameworks for finding the appropriate level of encroachment on the environment (cost-benefit trade-offs with many caveats, joining private interests of emissions and abatement with public interests of a safe environment; valuing nature and the environment, etc.). Ways to install emission/immission levels lower than the laisser-faire ones and the Coase theorem and public policies. Extended discussion, analysis and demonstration of policy instruments such as standards and levies, with an additional emphasis on tradable permits. Most examples are coming from the climate change debate. The lectures on urban political economy address the following topics: the post-industrial city: technological entrepreneurship, the creative class and economic clusters; the ‘foundational economy’ and the urban informal economy; the political economy of urban development: urban entrepreneurialism and financialisation.
Students develop a research plan for a topic they prefer in the field of environmental issues, sustainable development and transitioning, but fitting within the umbrella topic of the year, as being decided between the students and the coaches at the start. The research plan is elaborated on the base of relevant sociological and economical scientific literature. The written draft research plan is presented and defended orally in a plenary session with all the students, after which the final version can be prepared.