Semester Offering: InterSem

Waste management is one of the most visible of urban services, and the responsibility of local urban authorities. The challenge of urban governance today is understanding and realizing a public management that goes beyond simple administration and integrate institutions, incentives and the interests of relevant individual and citizens. Effective waste management hence requires a strategic, participatory approach that addresses social, financial and environmental as well as technical issues. Managing waste is not just the responsibility of governments, a range of stakeholders involving industries and businesses, communities, households and informal waste sector for waste management and resource recovery. Waste is also part of the economy – whether it is a by-product of economic activity or is a resource input to economic activity –through material or energy recovery. Waste and social aspects cannot be detached. It’s a human habit to generate wastes, and it is them who has to actively participate for safe waste management and recovery systems. In line with economic and financial aspects, this course covers stakeholders, public acceptance and participation, and recognizes the gender issues related to urban waste management.

Students will understand a shift in waste management policy, politics, infrastructure, institution, and administrative systems that affect the use, development, and management of wastes in a holistic manner. Students will also be introduced to the discussions involving different spheres and scales of waste governance (public, private, and civil society sectors, and municipal to national, regional, and international tiers) of waste governance. The course will also deal with the economic aspect as a clear policy driven through capturing potential green economy opportunities in the waste sector. This course is therefore to identify the costs of inaction in or improper waste management as well as job opportunities as part of the green economy, and explores various avenues for innovative and profitable financing waste management services. This course will also explore stakeholder integration in order to actively participate for achieving sustainable waste management, and to explore opportunities for social sustainability and inclusivity for holistic waste management.


After the course, students will be able to:
  • Understanding what urban governance is and its relationship with sustainable waste, wastewater and air quality management
  • Explain the relationship and interaction among stakeholders governing urban environmental management attempts in different cases.
  • Apply key steps in strategic waste management planning and target setting
  • Identify economy loss of inaction in solid waste, wastewater and air pollution management
  • Compare different traditional and innovative schemes of financing waste service delivery
  • Map different stakeholders and their role in the planning and implementation of waste service delivery




I.         Understanding Holistic Waste Management
1.        Holistic waste management: concepts and needs
2.        Waste management structure and tier: municipal, national, and international levels
3.        Components of waste management
4.        Waste management aspects
5.        Formal and informal waste sectors
II.        Urban Governance and Waste Management
1.        Overview of urban form and governance of cities
2.        Sustainability via urban–rural resource circulation
3.        Cities and waste: Urban governance and waste management services
4.        Planning concepts incorporating waste management
III.       Strategic Management for Waste Service Delivery
1.        Social, economic, environmental and health target setting for effective integration and holistic waste service delivery
2.        Waste management strategies and target setting with applications
3.        Results-based planning and evaluation for waste management programs and projects
4.        Integrated assessment and decision support system for waste service delivery
IV.       Economics of Waste Management
1.        Contribution and social, economic and environmental benefits of sustainable waste management to the green economy
2.        Costs and prices of waste management
3.        Cost recovery of waste management services
4.        Economic valuation approaches to waste management
V.        Financing for Waste Service Delivery
1.        Financing for municipal services (waste management)
2.        Polluters Pay Principle (e.g. landfill tax, waste collection fees)
3.        Community financing for decentralized solutions
4.        Innovative financing schemes for waste infrastructure and service delivery
5.        Public private partnership
VI.      Social Aspects and Stakeholder Integration in Waste Management
1.        Formal waste management enterprises
2.        Informal sector and social enterprises in waste management
3.        Gender and waste management: policy and practice
4.        Institutionalizing/mainstreaming social aspects in waste management projects and practices




Lecture notes (electronic version) of all presentations of the lecture sessions with assignments and case studies will be provided to the students.


1.        ISWA, 2011. Globalization and Waste Management.
2.        UN-HABITAT, 2010. Solid Waste Management in the World’s Cities, Earthscan.
3.        Nitivattananon, V. and Wijaya, N., 2010. Benchmarking on Environmental Infrastructure Management in Selected Cities of Southeast Asia, Southeast Asia Urban Environmental Management Applications (SEA-UEMA) Project, AIT, Thailand.
4.        Randolph, J., 2012, Environmental Land Use Planning and Management, 2nd edition, Island Press.
5.        UNEP, 2011. Towards a Green Economy. Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication. ISBN: 978-92-807-3143-9
6.        World Bank, 2014. Results-based Financing for Municipal Solid Waste. Urban Development Series, July 2014, No. 20.
7.        Dominic Hogg (ed.), Financing and Incentive Schemes for Municipal Waste Management. Case Studies. Eunomia Research & Consulting Ltd.
8.        UN-HABITAT, 2009. Guide to Municipal Finance.
9.        Schienberg, A., 2001, Integrated Sustainable Waste Management - Financial and Economic Issues in Integrated Sustainable Waste Management.
10.      Scheinberg, A., 2012. Informal Sector Integration and High Performance Recycling: Evidence from 20 Cities. Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) Working Paper (Urban Policies) No 23. ISBN 978-92-95095-15-1
11.      Samson, M., 2003. Dumping on women: gender and privatization of waste management. Woodstock, South Africa: Municipal Services Project. Available at:
12.      UN-HABITAT, 2006. Innovative Policies for the Urban Informal Economy.
13.      Kusakabe, K. and Jahan, J. (eds): Gender mainstreaming in urban environmental management projects: Lessons learned from Southeast Asia. Urban Environmental Management Applications (SEA-UEMA) Project, AIT, Thailand, 2010.
14.      UNEP, 2015. Global Waste Management Outlook.
15.      GIZ, 2013. Operator Models. Respective Diversity: Concepts for Sustainable Waste Management; Eschborn, Germany.


1.     Habitat International
2.     Cities
3.     Journal of Environmental Management
4.     Resources, Conservation, & Recycling


Lecture and discussion: 30 hours
Self-study: 90 hours (including assignments) 


Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, and field excursions. Through lectures, students will be introduced to academic contents of the course. All lecture hours are conducted using presentation slides from the instructors and the lecture outline is presented in the first class hours. Additional reading is also recommended for each topic. Students are requested to have discussion in all lecture topics both during the class and other time. Group work assignments are one of evaluation scheme and they need special hours outside the lecture room.

During field excursions, the students will investigate different approaches and practices. The students will work in small groups, to also train team work skills. As a result of field excursions each student group must produce a joint report describing observed experiences and lessons learned.

In addition, all results (field excursions and the group reports) will be presented and discussed in seminars. 


The final grade will be computed according to the following weight distribution:

 Quizzes 20%,
 Assignments/projects/presentations 40%, and
 Final exam 40%.

Closed-book examination is usually given both in the exam. The final grading for this course will follow the above indicated evaluation scheme. The examination paper  will consist questions from four major categories, including theoretical questions, critical reasoning/analyzing questions, questions about assignments and field visits, and finally the questions from background reading materials. The majority of the question paper, i.e., almost 50-60% will have questions directly based on the content taught in the classroom. In this section, a successful student will receive the corresponding grade in the range of B to C+. However, if a student fails to meet this minimum requirement, he/she will be awarded either C or D grade. Additional 15 % of the questions will be drawn from the contents from assignments, quizzes, field visits, term papers etc., where the corresponding grade will be in the range of B to B+. Another 15 % of the questions will need a demonstration of creative thinking and practical implication analysis leading to grade B+. Students participating in the classroom discussion carefully are expected to be well equipped in answering these critical analysis questions. The final 10 % of the questions will contain additional knowledge provided in the background reading materials, answering these successfully will eventually lead to acquiring Grade A.