All Academic Programs

Environmental planning

Concentration Advisors: Joyce K. Rosenthal and Jerold S. Kayden

Download the Environmental Planning Area of Concentration memo (PDF)

This concentration encompasses the broad field of environmental planning that includes range of professional activities employing a variety of skills. Students may go on to work in the public or private sectors. Typical environmental planning projects focus on achieving the “triple bottom-line” in planning activities by reconciling conflicts between economic development, social equity, and ecological protection and restoration through sustainable development. Planning work may include community organizing and workforce development; sustainable transportation and urban food systems; and the design of ecological infrastructure and preparing environmental impact statements.

The breadth of environmental courses available at the GSD and other Harvard schools, especially the Kennedy School, Law School, and School of Public Health, reflect the multiple dimensions of sustainability in the context of planning practice and research. The Harvard Center on the Environment (HUCE) has prepared an excellent overview; the “Environmental Course Guide 2010-2011”.

Area of Concentration Requirements

Students interested in the environmental planning area of concentration must choose at least two pre-approved courses from the GSD and one from outside the GSD, or suggest an alternate program of three courses for approval by the concentration advisor. Please note that courses may require permission of the instructor and/or the department, especially outside the GSD.

Pre-approved courses include the following. This list is indicative only—the official list is on the PDF attached to this page.

At the GSD


  • GSD 3343 Shrinking Landscapes
  • GSD 5330 Healthy Places
  • GSD 5469 Environmental Planning & Sustainable Development
  • GSD 6241 Ecologies, Techniques, Technologies III: Basic & Applied Ecology*

*with permission of instructor

  • GSD 6301 Landscape Ecology
  • GSD 6323 Brownfields Practicum: Regeneration and Reuse of Brownfield Land
  • GSD 5206 Planning and Environmental Law**

**Only if not taken to satisfy Implementation Methods Requirement

  • GSD 6337 Changing Natural and Built Coastal Environments
  • GSD 6339 Towards a Sustainable Infrastructure
  • GSD 6428 Modeling Urban Energy Flows


  • GSD 5342 Creating Resilient Cities: Climate Adaptive Practices
  • GSD 6318 Urban and Suburban Ecology
At the Kennedy School



  • HKS API-135 Fundamentals of Environmental Economics and Policy
  • HKS API-164 Energy Policy Analysis
  • HKS IGA-370 Global Food Politics and Policy
  • HKS IGA-320 Technology and Sustainability
At the Law School


  • HLS LAW-38719A International Environmental Law
  • HLS LAW-44070A Natural Resources


  • HLS LAW-3230A Climate and Energy Law and Policy
At the School of Public Health


  • HSPH EH270 Environmental Risk Management
  • HSPH GHP272 Foundations of Global Health and Population*
  • HSPH EH285 Industrial Ecology and Life Cycle Assessment

* Requires permission of instructor


  • HSPH EH257 Water Pollution
  • HSPH EH524 Water and Development
  • HSPH EH278 Human Health and Global Environmental Change
At the FAS Department of Government


  • FAS GOV-1016 Spatial Models for Environmental Policy*

* Requires some knowledge of GIS as a prerequisite



  • MIT 11.381 Urban Energy Systems & Policy
  • MIT 11.314J Water, Landscape, and Urban Design
  • MIT 11.373 Science, Politics and Environmental Policy
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