Global PENNovation: Making Tomorrow's Cities Sustainable Cities

Course Number
DYNM 615 001
Course Code
Course Key
Non-DYNM students must complete a course permit request:
Primary Program
Course Note
Category: A; Concentrations: LMC, GL, SD. This course is a Hybrid Independent Study
Course Description
This class will operate in a hybrid format.  We will have four 90-minute virtual class sessions (via Zoom) on four Thursdays (6 PM to 7:30 PM) -- January 23, February 13, March 5th, and March 26th.  These sessions will cover key material on sustainable cities and will help guide students in their thinking for course deliverables.  The course also has an independent study element similar to a capstone course – as students will have considerable independent time to complete course material and conduct research for their projects throughout the term.   

Environmentalist Paul Hawken challenged a class of 2009 college graduates that they would have to "figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating." That theme is at the heart of this course.

While we have seen the notion of sustainability gaining traction in recent years, our quality of life in the near future hinges on the development and implementation of sustainable solutions to enormously complex global environmental and social problems. This course is designed to foster the thinking that is needed to address those enormous problems. It involves focusing on a critical global problem with sustainability and social dimensions - in this case, the rapid shift of an increasing global population to cities – and providing the framework for students to take a deep dive into evaluating and recommending solutions to meet that challenge.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in 1990, less than 40% of the global population lived in cities, and that figure is expected to grow to 60% by 2030 and 70% by 2050. Such growth brings tremendous sustainability and design challenges in both developed and developing countries in terms of resource consumption, food security, water security, energy security, air quality, transportation, infrastructure, waste processing, recycling, and public health. It also brings opportunity. In 2020, students will conduct research on the challenges and opportunities created by increasing urbanization, drawing on readings from thought leaders in conjunction with their own creative insights, with a focus on advancing development of sustainable cities to ensure the long-term health of people and planet.  
Subject Area Vocab