URB 645, SUMMER 2014
Course Title:
Instructor: Meg Holden
HC #2128
Time: Tues + Thurs, 5:30-9:20p
(May 6 – June 17)
Course Description:
Whether it’s Earth Day, United Nations summits, green building, or the Great Law
of the Iroquois Nation, everyone knows something about sustainable development, or
‘sustainability.’ The idea is to provide for the needs of the present generation without
sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In this course, we
try to answer the question: What does this idea mean for cities?
Cities are sites of the vast majority of global production and consumption, home
to half the world’s population, the most stunning successes of human technical, political,
and social ingenuity, as well as the lion’s share of waste, emissions, and some of
humanity’s most dismal failures. Cities are simultaneously our hope for better quality
lives and the places in most urgent need of change. Research, theory-building and
implementation of urban sustainable development is now evolving and innovating
rapidly. Around the world, cities have the potential to contribute positively to a better,
more durable human future overall. From questions of governance to infrastructure,
design and green space to social interaction and cultural mixing, cities hold keys to
sustainability innovations.
This course will approach the opportunities and paradoxes of urban sustainable
development from a conceptual ground based in evolving theory and practice from
urban planning and policy and the social sciences. Particular attention will be paid to
building the theoretical grounding, language, skills and techniques to address a variety
of urban sustainability challenges and opportunities as urban managers, planners,
policy analysts and change advocates. As such, class assignments include written and
oral submissions, formally presented and informally negotiated ideas, independent and
group projects, all of which challenge students to engage with course material and with
one another from new perspectives.
Teaching/Learning Methods: In addition to the use of lectures and class discussion,
we will also use films, local field trips, debate and dialogue, in-class group work, and
online exercises.
Evaluation: Class Participation (15%), Short Assignments (40%), Major Assignment
Required Reading: Students should acquire a copy of the following text: Newman, P.
and I. Jennings. 2008. Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems. Washington: Island Press.
Additional readings will be assigned from SFU library and other free resources.