Methodology et objectives of the course

Dedicated to students of the 2nd year master's degree at HEC Liège, the Sustainability & Smart Territories course is one of the oldest missions of the Smart City Institute, since it is a continuity of a seminar already organised since 2010 by the SCI within HEC Liège, the management school of the University of Liège: Today, more than 3,000 students have been trained and about 25 city projects have been developed during this course (2020 figures).

Cours HEC Liege Image large 

A territory-oriented approach

The objective of this course in "Strategy and Smart Territories", as its name suggests, is to provide students with a better understanding of the notion of strategic management, in a context of sustainability and more specifically, in the particular context of smart cities and smart territories. It therefore makes students aware of the growing importance of considering not only economic, but also social and environmental aspects in the strategic management of cities and specific territorial ecosystems (including governments, businesses, research centres and citizens).

A mix between theory and practical cases

Although the formula has evolved over the years, the course has always offered the same pedagogy: On the one hand, it has a more "theoretical" component, consisting of academic conferences (themes: strategy, sustainable development and the challenges of Smart Cities/Smart Territories), conferences and round tables with experts (feedback), as well as preliminary readings;

And on the other hand, it has a "practical" component in the form of group work and coaching sessions. The seminar covers case studies, start-up projects, proposals for concrete solutions for Walloon cities, etc. Each year, students are encouraged to develop innovative and original solutions, with the aim of contributing to the "smart city" dynamic underway in Wallonia.

These projects are also proposed by several Walloon cities and municipalities themselves, and therefore respond to real problems they encounter. These projects allow students to explore a wide variety of key issues, such as :

  • soft mobility,
  • real-time data platforms,
  • citizen communication,
  • air quality measurement,
  • coworking,
  • safety,
  • energy management,
  • the stimulation of creativity,
  • or participatory governance.

In total, some 12 Walloon municipalities have already contributed to this dynamic!

Objectives and added value

This original methodology offers multiple advantages, not only to the students, but also to the municipalities that contribute to the program.

It allows students :

  • To become aware of the realities on the ground in terms of strategic management within the municipalities
  • To become aware of the Smart City challenges applied to the Walloon territory and their impact on the public and private sectors.
  • To work on real, concrete projects and to exchange with field actors and project managers.

Sustainability and Smart Territories

We believe it is essential to make tomorrow's professionals aware of these issues so that they can be the vectors of change for organisations to become more sustainable.

Nathalie Crutzen, Academic Director of the Smart City Institute

For the participating cities and municipalities, this collaboration :

  • Allows the existing project to be confronted with the ideas of a young public, and to approach the problem from a different angle. It can bring new sources of inspiration
  • Allows them to meet other cities or municipalities and to exchange about initiatives launched in their respective territories.

About the projects developed

Through a whole range of articles, the SCI invites you to rediscover the themes addressed and the projects developed during the last editions of this course in Sustainability and Smart Territories.

Discover the articles  

Other teaching assignments at the SCI

Dans une réelle volonté d’internationalisation, l’Institut est également impliqué, via le professeur Nathalie Crutzen, dans une série de formations et de réseaux académiques liés aux problématiques des stratégies durables et des villes intelligentes. Des collaborations étroites existent avec d’autres centres universitaires en Europe (Allemagne, France, Grande-Bretagne, Italie, Pays-Bas…), en Amérique du Nord (Canada, USA), en Australie et en Asie. 

Par ailleurs, une série de stages, de travaux de fin d’étude et de mémoires-projets (portés par des étudiants de HEC Liège) sont proposés aux acteurs des villes intelligentes et supervisés par l’institut.

With a real ambition for internationalisation, the Institute is also involved, via Professor Nathalie Crutzen, in a series of training courses and academic networks related to the issues of sustainable strategies and smart cities. Close collaborations exist with other university centres in Europe (Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands...), North America (Canada, USA), Australia and Asia.

In addition, a series of internships, dissertations and thesis-projects (carried out by HEC Liège students) are proposed to smart cities stakeholders and supervised by the institute.

Photo credit : University of Liège
Smart City Institute

HEC Liège – Management School of University of Liège
Rue Louvrex, 14
4000 Liège

+32 (0) 4 232 73 55


Share this page