Ecological principles and their application to design and planning will be emphasized. Topics will include coastal wetland development, sediment movement in estuaries and long-shore, natural disturbance regimes including coastal storms, flooding, and erosion. Applications of ecological principles for landscape design, planning, restoration, recreation, management and conservation at regional scales will include stormwater management, hardened coastlines, sediment and toxics management, marsh and wetland restoration, alternative renewable energy development, reclaiming water, and leveraging the efficiencies and effectiveness of restored natural systems to aid in the control of flooding and remediating drought. Two science field trips, to a coastal barrier system (salt marsh, coastal beach) and canoeing along and into wetlands acquired and protected by the Army Corps of Engineers on the Charles River, will be used to highlight the principle of protecting and restoring nature as a climate resilience strategy.
Instructors will emphasize the application of these approaches to student-selected landscapes around the world, working with the principles and methods introduced. By identifying and then using heavily altered historic natural systems as their guide for landscape design, they will develop a restoration aesthetic that builds resilience to climate and leverages capitalism to incentivize change. Students will also learn to develop strategies for using legal and regulatory frameworks, agency initiatives, and advocates to get projects built.
Specific expertise brought to the course by Zimmerman includes assessment of and solutions to the ecological impacts of urban development using restoration of degraded natural systems to end CSOs, control stormwater and flooding, create renewable energy, reduce water demand, and address equity issues. Parsons brings expertise in estuarine ecosystems and biodiversity, toxics and sediment management in urban ports (including New York City, Boston, Philadelphia/Wilmington, Baltimore), ecologically-based engineered solutions to habitat loss including islands, coastal wetlands, barrier beaches, and peninsulas. Apfelbaum brings expertise in ecologically-sound applications in regenerative agriculture to achieve restoration objectives, soils management, carbon sequestration, and risk assessment.