Urban Environment

More than 50 percent of the people in the world live in urban areas and this number is expected to increase dramatically in the coming decades. Some experts say that in 100 years, all of the world’s population will live in cities.

In the United States and around the world, critical issues in the urban environment include planning and designing systems for clean air and water, ensuring equity for the poor, transportation, environmental health, brownfield remediation, community development, physical infrastructure and food security.

Graduates with the Urban Environment concentration may be employed in municipal government, non-government organizations, planning/design firms and academia. 

Student research

Your capstone project is a culmination of your classroom, research and field experiences in the MES program. Your methods and results are unique to your professional and academic goals. Take a look at abstracts by recent MES students with a concentration in Urban Environment to understand the breadth of capstone topics and formats.

Every student in the Master of Environmental Studies (MES) program creates a research poster designed to showcase their capstone project. The selection of posters listed below is representative of the range of research projects undertaken by recent students in the Urban Environment concentration.

Sample Urban Environment concentration courses

In the Urban Environment concentration, you will choose from a wide variety of courses, from departments and graduate schools across the University. The following list provides some examples of courses that the program has approved for students to take as part of this concentration.

School/Department Courses
Department of Earth and Environmental Science (MES Home)
  • The Role of Water in Urban Sustainability and Resiliency
  • Issues in Food and Agricultural Policy
  • Fundamentals of Air Pollution
  • Ecology, Management and Advocacy of Urban Forests
Urban Studies Program
  • Philanthropy and the City
  • Cities & Sustainability
  • Urban Redevelopment
  • Globalization & Comparative Urban Development
  • Politics of Housing & Community Development
  • Community Economic Development
School of Design
  • Negotiation & Conflict Resolution
  • Law & Urban Development
  • Techniques of Urban Economic Development
  • Community Development & Public Health
  • Land Use & Environmental Modeling
Wharton School of Business
  • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
  • Urban Fiscal Policy
  • Urban Public Policy and Private Development
School of Social Policy & Practice
  • Community Mapping
Fels Institute of Government
  • Big City Politics: How to Pass Municipal Legislation
  • Politics of Housing & Urban Development

Master of Environmental Studies Virtual Café

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Photo of Marina Battle Rullo (MES ’23)

MES in the Community

A building doesn’t exist in a bubble, says Marina Battle Rullo (MES ’23); as a sustainability consultant for an architecture firm, she can weigh in on energy, water, and community impacts that add up over time.