Sustainable Urban Development: International Perspectives

Urban Planning

Spring 2013

Jyoti Hosagrahar, instructor

Today, for the first time in human history, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. With increasing urbanization, uneven economic development, and depleting resources, cities in the 21st century demand serious consideration in order to manage them appropriately. The idea of minimizing our impact on the natural environment is now a generally accepted goal. At the same time, exploiting resources, both natural and cultural, is accepted as necessary to achieve the goals of economic development. While consensus is possible on the broad objectives of urban sustainability, the approaches, and efforts at accomplishing them vary widely. This course explored the diversity of contemporary debates around sustainability and the city, and investigates the management of change in the urban environment to nurture positive and enduring relationships amongst the natural and social worlds, and the built environment. Culturally embedded processes in diverse settings play a significant role in sustainable improvement efforts. While balancing the sensibilities of a globalized and interconnected world, we emphasized local context and the historicized cultural particularities of a place in achieving sustainability. Our objective was to work towards a framework for making cities sustainable.