Environmental Planning & Sustainable Development

The goal of this course is to provide an introduction to the ideas and information necessary to integrate environmental viability and sustainable development with other primary concerns of urban planners, namely, equity, healthy communities and economic development. The course will explore the historical roots of current trends in environmental planning; examine theories that have developed recently to encourage the restructuring and redesign of land use patterns, environmental regulation and systems of production; and review the status of some of the basic methods and processes of environmental planning. These topics will be discussed in terms of two practice areas: environmental management (policy and regulatory decisions) and environmental planning and design (including land use planning and site design). The focus will be on providing an overview of the major concepts, actors, and methods involved in or used in the decision-making context, analyzing the consequences of this decision-making, while emphasizing innovation in planning to address complex and related problems in the urban environment – water supply, air quality, waste production and disposal, land use and natural systems, resilience to extreme weather events and environmental health disparities.

The objectives of the course are twofold: to understand the methods and practical process of urban environmental planning, and to critically analyze existing plans and planning tools and processes in terms of social equity objectives and the goals of sustainable development.