SO/ES 360 - Designing the Sustainable City
“All the biggest problems that we face now (…) like global climate change or the pandemic, require collaborative efforts, not just the multiplication of the same sort of person a million times over.” - Peter Galison, founder of The Black Hole Initiative at Harvard University, in “Stranger than anything dreamed up by sci-fi: will we ever understand black holes?” The Guardian, 26 May, 2021
Cities are not only where most of the world’s population now lives, they also use 78% of the world’s resources and produce more than 60% of greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, innovating cities around the world are leading the way in responding to the crises of climate change and resource depletion by developing models for sustainable, resilient, equitable living. Experience has shown that cities are more successful in achieving their goals when they cooperate with each other, working together, and learning from each other. In this course, students will be asked to identify the most pressing sustainability issues in your host city. Working in small teams, they will design a new housing community that can offer solutions to the issues they have identified at the local level, taking into account the environmental, historical and social characteristics of their host city. Fellow students will be from the multiple IES Abroad Centers and will represent a variety of academic backgrounds. Together, they will be part of a greater learning community, guided by faculty experts from diverse backgrounds, working towards solutions to the identified problems. Substantive field visits and connections with local NGOs will allow students to gather valuable data and information as they develop their projects; innovative technology will enable them to share their experience and findings across the three locations; and problem-based learning will culminate in each team delivering a multi-media presentation to the group. Upon successful completion of this course, students will earn a micro-credential in Sustainability and Development that will demonstrate their sustainability literacy and ability to find innovative solutions to complex problems.