1/18: Human-Nature Relations
W1. Course Overview:
Humanity has become a large scale biogeophysical force on the planet. What is the status of the global environment? What are environmental politics?
- Course introduction: Urban and economic growth on a planetary scale; The diversity of cities worldwide.
- Major ecological impacts and rising concerns about sustainability.
- Climate change, Sustainable Development and the need to revisit urban planning.
Download powerpoint slides:
The State of the Environment: Climate Change, Urban Planning and Development
- Kraft, Michael E. 2011. Environmental policy and politics. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall. (chap. 2, study questions below were copied from Kraft's book)
- Rosenzweig, C. et al. 2010. "Cities lead the way in climate-change action." Nature 467:909-911. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v467/n7318/full/467909a.html
- United Nations Human Settlements Programme. 2009. "Planning sustainable cities : global report on human settlements 2009". London ; Sterling, VA: Earthscan. Part I. Challenges and Context
- Reid, W. et al. 2010. "Earth System Science for Global Sustainability: Grand Challenges." Science 330:916-917 Science-2010-Reid-916-7.pdf
Key Terms and Concepts
- Urban Planning
- Climate Change
- Sustainable Development
- Sustainable Urban Development
- Earth Summit
- Agenda 21
- Explain how the world's city-regions are increasingly interlinked (socially, economically, culturally, technically, ecologically); and this poses new challenges for urban and regional planning.
- Identify four key features of globalization regardless of political standpoint
- Identify key global social, economic, technical and ecological megatrends that impact urban and regional development.(and that have made humanity a large scale biogeophysical force on the face of the planet).
- Grasp the orders of magnitude of global population growth, how many people, where (urban, rural proportions)
- Describe the paradigm shift in urban and environmental planning (from D-->E, to E-->D) and origins of sustainability thinking
Welcome to the first set of weekly readings and powerpoint notes. We cover a lot of scholarly research materials in this class. Please keep up with the readings. The articles from journals can be skimmed. Most of what you need from the readings other than your required books can be garnered from lecture and the notes on the ppts. The midterm and final exams will include only the material we cover directly (i.e., stuff we talk about in class, specifically mention in this list of key terms, concepts, learning objectives and my ppts.
Our objective this week is to get across this main point: Humanity has become a large scale biogeophysical force on the planet. What is the status of the global environment? What are environmental politics?
Roughly half the world's population lives in urban areas--from small towns to sprawling megacities. This historic shift to a predominantly urban-global population has been occurring with dramatic speed and consequence. In today's capitalist world economy, cities have become increasingly interlinked. They are centers of production, communication, and culture in a highly interdependent global network. People living in this urban world system now face complex and interlocking challenges on multiple fronts: social, economic, political, and ecological.