IDCE 365 - Cities, Regions, Climate Change & Health
This course is a collaborative final project (CFP) course. Since 2007, our planet has become a majority urban-dwellers world - and the trend since then is strongly upward. Urbanization is particularly rapid in mid-sized cities in the so-called ‘developing world’, but mega-cities (>10M people) are also on the rise. Climate change can impact urban areas and the regions in which they are situated in powerful ways: more intense, frequent rainstorms that cause flooding and mudslides; wildfires that consume forests and dwellings; droughts that imperil water and food security; and heat waves that stress humans and other organisms. All of these impacts directly and indirectly affect human health and wellbeing, comprising a complex conspiracy of risk factors that are poorly understood, and even more poorly mitigated. By considering not just cities but their surrounding regions, we will capture interactions between them (e.g. migrations of people, trade relations, knowledge exchange); such interactions are also poorly understood in terms of dynamic, shifting impacts.
Cities/regions exemplify dynamic social-ecological systems to which climate change introduces unprecedented impacts and higher levels of uncertainty, demanding novel approaches to research and practice. Theoretical bases, readings and perspectives on the science side include sustainability science, social/environmental determinants of health; risk and vulnerability analysis; and urban ecology. On the policy/practice side, environmental and social impacts assessment, and integrative collaborative project design are used. As a CFP, there is a core practicum: Students will work in teams of 4-5 to interrogate urban/regional sustainability, climate-related adaptations and resilience, as well as risks and mitigations of a case study city/region of their choosing. There will be a 5-day field visit in Week 6 to cities in the Northeast, including Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, D.C. - as well as some coastal and inland communities in those cities’ surrounding regions - to meet with government agencies, community groups and NGOs working on the frontline of urban sustainability and climate-change adaptation.
Climate Change Impacts & Adaptation- Healthy People/Healthy Planet- Monitoring Evaluation & Effectiveness- Education for Development.
Prerequisites: AS A CFP COURSE, IT IS EXPECTED STUDENTS WILL TAKE IT IN THEIR GRADUATING YEAR (FALL OR SPRING)
Anticipated Terms Offered: Bi-annually