Environmental Planning & Sustainable Development

This class is centrally concerned with two questions: What makes a green metropolis and how can planners effectively intervene? Environmental and social sustainability are key areas of contemporary concern. Solution-oriented, this class focuses on key areas where physical planning and associated programs and policies can make a difference to the future of cities and regions. As such it focuses on rather more on big ideas, key debates, and broad types of policies and tools, and rather less on developing skills in particular techniques that can be picked up elsewhere.

The course is in five parts:
• Frameworks—examining key definitions and concepts as they have evolved over time.
• Situations—engaging environmental and social aspects of sustainability—the current situation and future scenarios.
• Solutions: Urban Patterns and Types—exploring and critiquing major domains of work in creating sustainable urban area creating more compact urban forms, retrofitting existing areas, and building better development from scratch.
• Solutions: Hot Topics—investigating some current popular debates on mobility and access, healthy cities including food, and resiliency.
• Reflections—involving student selected readings, presentations, and the idea of measuring sustainability.

The class is in a lecture/discussion format. Evaluation includes five response papers, short homeworks to discuss in class, and a longer case study or project.

By the end of the course students will::
• Appreciate how ideas about the natural environment have evolved over time in planning and beyond.
• Understand how several overlapping forms of green planning are practiced including environmental planning, sustainable urban development, metropolitan densification, resiliency, land low impact/conservation styles of development.
• Be able to critique the major styles and methods of planning green cities considering both social and environmental sustainability.
• Understand the strengths and weaknesses of several well-known cases of green planning.

The course will not meet in room 517 during the first week. Instead, it will meet in room Gund 518 on Tuesday, January 24th and on Thursday, January 26th.