Infrastructure systems weave the fabric on which society is organized and operates. Particularly in urbanizing regions, planning, developing and managing for greater sustainability, resilience, and economic competitiveness means reconceptualizing infrastructure. CLiGS is dedicated to building and sharing knowledge around the advancement of infrastructure systems that support sustainable forms of development. CLiGS’ work focuses on issues including green and ecological infrastructure innovations, collaborative processes for developing community-scale energy plans, watershed-scale planning and management, and leadership for urban sustainability.
- US Forest Service supported a project on mapping the institutional landscape of green infrastructure in the US
- Dominion Energy grant to support green infrastructure education programs
- GreeningtheGray.org – clearing house for green infrastructure info
- Partnership with Gauteng City-Region Observatory to explore green infrastructure solutions for Johannesburg region
- Partnership with National Association of Regional Councils examining the processes and best practices for planning and implementing multifunctional green infrastructure in the US
- XMNR examination of Arlington Community Energy Plan
- Blog Post – Climate Change: A Call to Action for Engineering & Design Professionals
NR 5014 Constructing Sustainability (3 credits)
This course examines the science, policy and practice of sustainability and sustainable development in a global context. We will examine the history, current status and future prospects of sustainability and sustainable development from economic, social and ecological perspectives. In the past several decades, sustainability and sustainable development have gained status in political, scientific, business, religious and cultural institutions and are now guiding principles that frame and shape public policy and private practice at multiple scales. While these concepts are well‐established in many communities and cultures worldwide, they have only recently emerged as prominent features in the mainstream of contemporary popular culture throughout global society. This interdisciplinary course encourages students to consider how they can engage science, policy, professional and civic institutions in constructing sustainability.
NR 5634 Urban Ecology (3 credits)
Our planet is increasingly urban. Approximately 50% of the world’s people now live in urban areas. In many regions of the world, the rate of urbanization is declining; however, individual cities, metropolitan regions, and urban areas continue to grow (in number, extent and population). In this context, urban ecology is an important approach to environmental science and sustainable development. People throughout the world practice urban ecology. These people are motivated by a desire to create healthy human ecosystems and livable communities in which to live, work, and play. This semester, we will study some of these people, projects, and places. Key questions: What is an urban ecosystem? Are cities sustainable environments? What are civic stakeholders, local communities, and global society doing to ensure that urban and urbanizing landscapes are healthy and desirable places for today’s world?
NR 5884 Coastal & Marine Systems (3 credits)
*NEW* Approximately 3 billion people, or half of the world’s population, live within 200 kilometers of a coastline. That figure is projected to increase dramatically by 2025. Coastal areas represent complex socio-ecological systems that provide valuable ecosystem services to people and the planet, but these ecosystems are under increasing stress with growing coastal urbanization and other anthropocentric impacts and demands. Coastal management is concerned with protecting, conserving, and managing coasts and coastal resources and requires an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and negotiating often-competing interests. In this course, we will be exploring the socio-ecological systems that comprise coastal areas or zones, as well as the pressures affecting their health and resilience. We will then examine some strategies being developed around the world to manage coastal areas for social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
NR 5884 Infrastructure for Resilience (3 credits)
Infrastructure describes the basic systems and structures that support markets, governance, communication, lifestyle, and every other aspect of society. Infrastructure includes physical or “hard” infrastructure systems such as transportation, energy, water/ sanitation, and one that is often left out of the planning mix, ecological systems; as well as “soft” infrastructure systems – the less tangible systems such as laws, regulations, markets, research and education, etc. that ultimately affect the design, construction, management, and governance of these systems. In an era experiencing profound change including rapid urbanization, changing climatic conditions, as well as shifting poles of power, the vulnerabilities of existing infrastructure systems are becoming more apparent. Cities, often in partnership with private interests, are at the vanguard of an infrastructure revolution. Through rethinking systems, and their management and impacts, cities are leading the way towards a more resilient and sustainable future through infrastructure development that advances ecosystem services, energy efficiency and renewable resource use, enhanced and efficient water and sanitation systems, novel waste management strategies, as well as the governance, market, and management systems to support them. In this course, we will explore these infrastructure innovations and how professions are shifting to design, support, implement, and manage a new landscape.
NR 5884 Landscape Systems and Strategies (3 credits)
The cumulative effects of global trends such as increasing population, expanding cities, improving living standards, accelerating climate change, shifting agriculture, and moving coastlines combine with local pressures on individual landscapes. Over the next century, these keystone processes will fundamentally alter landscapes across the globe creating new challenges for productivity, sustainability, resilience, and adaptability. Landscapes are definable frames of human activities and natural systems, ranging from highly altered, such as urban or agricultural lands, to predominately natural, such as wild or resource lands. We rely on landscape organization for essential social and ecosystem services. The imperative for sustainability requires that we develop conservation, development, and governance processes that treat landscapes with a long view. This course looks at the big picture, by examining the challenge of planning large landscapes for both the intermediate and long term. The objective is to construct a vision for unseen, yet sustainable, landscapes.
*Available in Fall, Spring, and Summer I (12 week, on odd-numbered years)
NR 5884 Watershed Stewardship (3 credits)[formerly Watershed Systems Stewardship] This course was developed as an interdisciplinary course covering: watershed identification and mapping; watershed characteristics and evaluation; stormwater engineering; stream corridor restoration; water quality monitoring; native plants and animals; exotic and invasive species; public education; volunteer coordination and training; roles and activities for teachers and students; and advocacy training.