The Age of Sustainable Development
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list 14 sequences
assignment Level : Introductory
chat_bubble_outline Language : English
language Subtitles : Chinese
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timer 28 hours in total

About the content

The Age of Sustainable Development" gives students an understanding of the key challenges and pathways to sustainable development - that is, economic development that is also socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable.

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  • Week 1 - Course Materials
    Information about the general course structure and reading list can be found here.
  • Week 1 - What is Sustainable Development?
    Professor Sachs provides an overview of the challenges the world faces, and introduces the topic of sustainable development.
  • Week 2 - Inequality Around the World
    Professor Sachs delves into the reasons for and the measurements of inequality between and within countries.
  • Week 3 - A Short History of Economic Development
    Professor Sachs provides a history of economic development, starting with the Industrial Revolution and ending with the current state of modern economic growth.
  • Week 4 - The History of Inequality
    Professor Sachs analyzes the intersecting roles of various factors that contribute to some countries advancing while others do not.
  • Week 5 - The MDGs and the End of Extreme Poverty
    Professor Sachs outlines the pathways for achieving the end of extreme poverty.
  • Week 6 - Growth within Planetary Boundaries
    Professor Sachs details the various planetary boundaries and their implications for growth dynamics.
  • Week 7 - Human Rights and Gender Equality
    Professor Sachs delves into the ethics of wealth, poverty and inequality as well as the forces that widen inequalities.
  • Week 8 - Education
    Professor Sachs provides an overview of the state of modern education, and what needs to be achieved for sustainable development.
  • Week 9 - Universal Health Coverage
    Professor Sachs provides an overview of the challenges and pathways to achieving universal health coverage.
  • Week 10 - Sustainable Food Supply and the End of Hunger
    Professor Sachs provides an overview of food security, farm systems, and ecology and reviews what can be done to achieve a sustainable global food supply.
  • Week 11 - Sustainable Cities
    Professor Sachs looks into what makes a city sustainable, the patterns of urbanization, and pathways for urban resilience around the world.
  • Week 12 - Curbing Climate Change
    Professor Sachs provides an introduction to the science behind climate change, and describes the negotiations and policies that are necessary to mitigate and prevent the consequences.
  • Week 13 - Saving Biodiversity
    Professor Sachs reviews the various threats to the world's ecosystem and biodiversity.
  • Week 14 - The SDGs
    Professor Sachs recounts the history of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and describes what is necessary to achieve them.


Jeffrey Sachs

Director, Earth Institute; Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development; Professor of Health Policy and Management


Content Designer

Columbia University

Columbia University is a private university located in Morningside Heights, in the north-western part of the borough of Manhattan, in New York (United States). Its origins lie in King's College, founded in 1754 by King George II of Great Britain. It is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the United States and is part of the Ivy League group of eight of the country's oldest, most famous, most prestigious and most elitist universities.

Columbia is one of the most selective and prestigious universities in the world. The admission rate was 5.1% in 2019, comparable to Harvard and Stanford. Ranked first in the United States for research, it is sixth in the world (fourth in the United States) in the CUWR ranking of the world's top 1,000 universities and eighth in the Shanghai University Rankings.




Coursera is a digital company offering massive open online course founded by computer teachers Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller Stanford University, located in Mountain View, California. 

Coursera works with top universities and organizations to make some of their courses available online, and offers courses in many subjects, including: physics, engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer science, digital marketing, data science, and other subjects.

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