Climate Justice in Cities: Designing for Systems Change (SIGNATURE COURSE)

Course Code
PLAN 3810/ARCH 3500
Barbara Brown Wilson and
Jeana Ripple

This course introduces design and systems thinking techniques to address the interrelated crises of climate change and social inequity in U.S. cities. The intersectional impact of climate change and social inequity is at the heart of a broad contemporary congressional resolution entitled the Green New Deal [GND]. The GND proposal sets targets within a “just transition” framework but leaves much of the process up for further interpretation. This course asks how such transformational change might work in cities- introducing students to design and systems thinking techniques to examine the socio-technical context, challenges, and opportunities that animate systems change in the built world.

The course focuses inquiry on the future of cities in the U.S., through two organizing themes: (week 1): roots of crisis critically examines the impacts of development policies and practices on our globe and the health, economics, and welfare of its inhabitants; (week 2) building agency explores the avenues humans can pursue to redress our harmful effects on the Earth and on one another, viewing cities as complex adaptive systems worthy of radical reimagination. Students will learn through readings, discussions, lectures, and interactive workshops to develop interdisciplinary creative problem-solving skills for a just and resilient future.