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Sustainability Courses Spring 2017

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Sustainable Development & Market Innovations MGM 620

The course goals are: (1) to teach students the fundamental concepts behind the notion and challenge of sustainable development; (2) to make them familiar with key “sustainability analytics” as they relate to understanding market dynamics in the context of sustainable development; and (3) to understand the implications for entrepreneurs and managers for identifying market challenges and opportunities – with the aim to “do well by doing good” in the context of sustainable development. The course is structured along the following four interrelated modules with their respective learning goals:

“What’s new? The notion and societal challenge of sustainable development”

“What’s old? The “business of businesses” and related market dynamics”

“So?: Consequent implications for adjusting the old ways to the new challenges”

“How?: Ways the adjustment process is evolving in practice”


Open to graduate students only. No other prerequisites.

Instructor: Professor Debabrata Talukdar

3 credit hours

M, W 5:00-6:20 P.M.

Course #: 23425

American Environmental History HIS 306

This course offers historical perspective on the environmental issues of our time. From the start, Americans have exploited the nation's natural resources with devastating speed, clearing forests, damming rivers, killing wildlife, fouling the air and water with pollutants. But Americans also have taken pride in the extraordinary beauty of the country. For more than a century, many Americans have fought hard to protect the environment. This course will focus on two big issues. First, we will consider how and why Americans have transformed the continent. Second, we will consider the long history of efforts to address environmental problems. For history majors, this class also offers a different way to understand the past, because so much of the nation's political, social, economic, and cultural history has been shaped by our changing relationship with the environment.


Instructor: Professor Adam Rome

3 credit hours

M, W, F 1:00-1:50 P.M.

Course #: 23818

Sustainability CIE 447

Engineering policy dimensions of sustainability. Topics include: (1) definitions and concepts of "sustainability," (2) introduction to climate change science and policy, and (3) relevant analytical tools such as life cycle assessment and carbon footprint analysis. Student teams will conduct studies that integrate environmental, economic, and social concerns in an engineering context, with a strong emphasis on oral and written communications.


Pre-Requisite: CIE 340; Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering Majors Only

Intructor: Professor John Atkinson

3 credit hours

T, R 2:00-3:20 P.M.

Course #: 20822

Planning Practicum URP 581-002

Interactions across social, ecological and technical dimensions of urban systems generate functions and processes that can support or undermine human health and well being.  This environmental planning studio will consider ways in which these interactions relate to the potential for un- and underdeveloped land to meet the needs of Buffalo’s residents, with a focus on generating renewable energy.  The University at Buffalo (UB) and partners were among the winners of Governor Cuomo’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” strategy to develop clean, resilient and affordable energy for New Yorkers.  Students will collaborate with UB Sustainability and partners to co-produce a suitabilty assessment for siting distributed solar energy production infrastructure in Buffalo’s vacant land.  In order to plan vacant land resources in a holistic way and activate multifunctional design possibilities for solar energy production, students will also analyze the potential for a broad array of complementary programs such as managing storm water, mitigating heat, producing food, facilitating community gathering, and other activities.  By applying geographic information systems (GIS)-based analysis to an engaged, University collaboration, students will develop:

  1.  familiarity with concepts and principles of spatial analysis,
  2.  advanced working technique in the ESRI ArcGIS suite,
  3.  ability to apply urban ecology and regenerative design principles to a practical planning problem, and
  4.  ability to engage in stakeholder-driven, stakeholder-informed analysis.

Prior knowledge of GIS is not required.  However, students who are new to GIS are advised to contact the instructor in advance of the semester.

Registering in the above section will automatically place you in the following class(es):

By force registration only through the department.

Intructor: Professor Zoe Hamstead

6 credit hours

T, R 1:00-5:40 PM

Couse #: 24084

Making and Mapping The Buffalo Landscape: Through the Lens of Ecological Urbanism ARC 591

This course will consist of a series of assignments introducing the Urban Design GRG students to various technical methods which support the Urban Design Studio, as well as strengthening their overall urban design understanding.

We will examine, through the agency of mapping(s), various aspects of Buffalo’s urbanism through the lens of its ecological landscape. This includes mapping its urban, ecological and infrastructural transformation over its urban history. Included are its vacancies, terrain(s) vague(s), and post-industrial landscape with its relics and artifacts.

Through graphic inquiry and discussions, this seminar will challenge conventional methods and modes of representation of the urban landscape, site and context. We will explore new methods of envisioning, through visual representation which describes and represents the urban landscape, while at the same time revealing new relationships of the site to its ecologies. This exploration includes new ways to describe and represent the city’s built urban systems with respect to its natural ecologies. Systems include transportation networks, hydrological systems, and the city’s land-water interface as examples… We will examine such concepts as site palimpsest, indeterminacy, agency, flux, change over time and dynamics.

We will work across a spectrum of scales, beginning with the zoomed-out scale of regional ecologies and systems and how they relate to the city. We will then zoom-in to the scale of the university campus and its urban landscape. Ultimately, these new methods of envisioning and representation will be generative of new ways of thinking and recalibrating students’ architectural projects. In this framework, we will discuss how a building or ensemble of buildings do not simply occupy a finite site, but that there are, in reality, products of the forces and systems which act on them at different urban and ecological scales. These forces have the latent possibility of informing design interventions at the architectural scale.

There will be weekly assignments for this semester which include graphics, readings and the mastering of technical methods. Format will include pin-ups, discussions and student presentations.


Reserved for Architecture and Urban Planning graduate students

Intructor: Professor Shannon Bassett

3 credit hours

T 11:00 A.M-1:40 PM

Course #: 19367

Special Topic: Citizen Planning School ARC 489/589

One Region Forward (1RF) received a prestigious award this year from the American Planning Association for the exemplary approach to civic engagement in its regional planning process, including the innovative Citizens Planning School and its Champions for Change program. This Spring, these programs will launch into their third year, this time with a special focus on Regional Regeneration & Climate Justice.

1RF, the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning and Blackstone LaunchPad seek talented, motivated students to join the interdisciplinary team that will deliver the next iteration of this program and engage with diverse community leaders forwarding innovative initiatives in regional regeneration and climate justice.

Our diverse team of graduate and undergraduate students will work with  1RF community partners in a transdisciplinary practicum/internship to:

1)      Conduct 4-6 community forums & workshops on regional regeneration & climate justice (to be held on Saturdays and Monday evening class sessions), including listening sessions with diverse regional experts and hands on workshops.

2)      Directly support community Champions for Change providing technical assistance, design & coaching support as they translate their intentions into actions to move the region forward in collaboration with partners, and

3)      Develop working papers on innovative regional initiatives to advance climate justice and regenerative development initiatives in the Buffalo Niagara Region.

For more information and to apply to participate in the CPS, please contact Professor Elizabeth Walsh ( and explore the 1RF website,


Instructor permission. By force registration only.

3 credit hours

Instructor: Professor Elizabeth Walsh

M 6:00-8:40 PM

Course #: 21227

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