Climate Positive Design Lab

As the climate and biodiversity crises escalate, our world faces unprecedented times. With the 1.5oC threshold quickly approaching and 75% of emissions coming from the urban built environment (UN Habitat), now is more critical than ever for designers, planners, and advocates to lead a climate positive response through the built and natural environment. Beyond buildings: streets, infrastructure, open spaces and natural systems represent more than 50% of a city’s space. Yet they are often overlooked and considered “in-between'' spaces. These places hold vast opportunities for climate and community resilience, emissions reductions, and active biogenic carbon sequestration through nature-based solutions. Planning and urban design, infrastructure, and landscape architecture hold critical levers for improving the mitigation performance of these spaces while unlocking the benefits of protecting from increasing flood risks, heat and air pollution while conserving water and supporting biodiversity, community health and well-being.

Through a series of lectures, discussions and workshop modules, learn how to develop, test, and apply quantifiable landscape climate performance strategies that can be applied to any project. Students will gain an understanding of how to analyze a place and develop approaches for reducing embodied carbon emissions of materials and operations, increasing biogenic carbon sequestration, and supporting co-benefits. Strategies will be outlined in daily lectures and followed by hands-on exercises which will ultimately be documented in a draft and final presentation for implementation recommendations at a specific site.

By the end of the semester, students will be able to –
    – Identify best practice guidance for addressing climate change on any given site
    – Focus site strategies to address a particular site
    – Learn various tools and techniques for measuring landscape climate performance
    – Develop a concise and compelling metric-based proposal for implementing climate action on site

    1. Weekly Readings and Discussion Preparation/Participation
    2. Climate Positive Design site proposal (draft and final) with supporting metrics

Prior completion of the SCI 6244 – Climate by Design lecture course is required. Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) 1 students must have completed the first year of the program. MLA candidates preferred but exceptions granted.