New Course - Spring 2017
Professor Margaret Bryant
Building Sustainable Cities: Physical Planning and Urban Design
Land tenure; the value and quality of public space; social and ecological functions of land; climate risk and adaptation; environmental health; food security; urban mobility; water management; slum upgrading; energy efficiency; and the interrelationships between cities and territories - all of these topics form the New Urban Agenda, developed at Habitat III, the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, held in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016.
Physical planning, urban design, and the resource base of land and infrastructure are fundamental components of sustainable urban development. This course will examine the aspirations of sustainable urban development and place these goals within the context of urban planning history and theory. For as long as people have lived in cities, people have sought to improve them. Looking ahead to a New Urban Agenda and considering ways to tackle urban environmental problems, planning and design proposals can be developed with an understanding of what has worked in the past and what has not, including consideration of different cultural contexts.
This course will focus on the physical form of cities (what forces shape them), urban infrastructure and physical planning as drivers of change in cities, historical approaches to improving cities (urban design), and contemporary best practices for urban land management and design, including responses to climate change (with examples from cities around the world). Connections will be made to the goals articulated in the UN’s New Urban Agenda and to the many dimensions of the complex adaptive systems known as cities.