GEOG 478: Cities of the 21st Century: the political economy of urban sustainability
The purpose of this course is to understand the practices and concepts that constitute the movement for sustainable cities and investigate the ways in which urban sustainability initiatives are generated and how they vary geographically.
The course adopts a political economy perspective to trace the complex interactions of institutions, politics, and economic systems that shape initiatives for more sustainable cities. Students will work in the first part of the course to enhance their understanding of core concepts and best practices that constitute the professional field of sustainable urban development and assemble a framework for analyzing the ways in which sustainability initiatives come to fruition and approach the idea of sustainability in a particular way. Equipped with these foundations, we then analyze case studies in the second part of course that focus on the meaning of sustainability, its practice internationally, and the ultimate impact of these practices on ecological balance, economic sustainability, and social equity in the urban environment. Toward these ends, students will conduct a semester-long senior capstone research project that investigates a particular urban sustainability initiative in the world by tracing the political economy of its creation and considering its impact on society, economy, and environment.
Daniel Trudeau, AProfessor