Green Cities: Health and Environmental Planning

There is a lot of talk about green and healthy cities. This course examines three key aspects. 

– First, what really makes a place greener and healthier? What is the evidence for different approaches to creating urban places, and their regions, from the compact city to participatory processes? The class looks at the evidence, and in doing so, students will learn a lot about how to read evidence. A big problem in creating greener, healthier, and more environmentally sensitive places is that there are many different ways to do so and some lead to quite different kinds of places. Of course in the larger urban system 
– Second, what are some ways that planners and designers can investigate or assess places in order to actually make them healthier or more sustainable?  Analysis approaches enable planners and others to understand the problems they are dealing with by developing scenarios, using indicators, assessing impacts, and building collaborations. 
– Finally, how can planners make a difference in the world? The class examines land use planning, green infrastructure, conservation, resiliency, food systems, energy, and waste. 

This is not just a how-to class, rather the course focuses on analyzing what planners are able to do and whether they can make a difference. It also examines how research evidence can help planning. Visiting speakers will provide case studies. Evaluation includes short papers and a longer case study or practical project.

By the end of the course students will be able to:
–    Understand basic approaches to assessing places in terms of health and environmental issues.
–    Appreciate the strengths and limitations of the approaches.
–    Comprehend the potentials and limitations of using research to create evidence-based interventions.
–    Grasp the roles of different disciplines, and of local knowledge, in working on issues connecting health, environment, and place.