RCE Greater Atlanta - 2019

Sustainable Urban Development & Public Health in a Warming Planet - Coursework
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Sustainable Urban Development & Public Health in a Warming Planet - Coursework
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Greater Atlanta
Contributing organization(s) : 
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia State University
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Jairo Garcia
Organizational Affiliation: 
Georgia Institute of Technology
Michael Black
Organizational Affiliation: 
Georgia State University
Format of project: 
Manuscript, Powerpoint, and Audiovisuals
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Monday, May 13, 2019
Sustainable Urban Development
At what level is the policy operating?: 
UN Sustainable Development Cities
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
South Africa
United Kingdom
United States
Vancouver, Canada; Medellin, Colombia; Copenhagen, Denmark; Berlin, Germany; Mexico City, Mexico; Oslo, Norway; Cape Town; South Africa; Barcelona, Spain; London, UK; Atlanta, New York, Seattle, Washington DC, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, USA
Address of focal point institution for project: 
School of City & Regional Planning
College of Design
Georgia Institute of Technology
245 4th Street NW, Suite 204
Atlanta, GA 30332-0155
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Although this project is global in scope, the focal units are based in Atlanta, USA and this city will be used as a significant model. The reasons are the following: Atlanta ranks #1 in the USA with the worst income inequality, #4 with the worst energy burden, #5 with the worst gentrification, and #14 with the worst traffic. Atlanta's air quality ranked F (Failure) by the American Lung Association, and the CDC ranked the State of Georgia as one of the worst in the union diagnosed with diabetes larger than 9% of the population
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
According to the UN, cities consume 75% of all natural resources and produces 70% of global emissions. By 2050, two-thirds of the global population will be living in cities. All of this puts massive pressure on resources and ecosystems. Based on case studies, this project will provide a tool to higher education institutions to educate city and regional planners about sustainable cities (SG11) with an emphasis on climate change (SD13), clean water and sanitation (SD6), urban energy systems (SD7), urban food systems (SD2), and urban good health and well-being (SD3)
January, 2019
According to the UN, cities consume 75% of all natural resources and produces 70% of global emissions. By 2050, two-thirds of the global population will be living in cities. All of this puts massive pressure on resources and ecosystems. This coursework will provide higher education institutions around the world with an urgently needed framework to educate their students about cities and regional planning and how to develop cities in a sustainable way with an emphasis on food systems and public health.
1. To introduce students to the concepts of Sustainable Urban Development (SUD) and the relationships between the natural environment, economic prosperity, and social equity.
2. To introduce students to the challenges of urban and regional settings including their negative impact on climate change and other environmental and social issues such as public health and how sustainable cities and regions can provide significant solutions to all these challenges.
3. To orient students to the range of methods, topics, and tools available to make urban and regional setting healthy and sustainable
4. To provide students with opportunities to develop basic solutions based on the concepts learned
By the end of the course, students will have accomplished the following:
• Be able to identify relationships among ecological, social, and economic systems 

• Be able to describe how their actions and decisions impact the sustainability of communities 
and public health
• Be able to develop approaches to sustainable urban development challenges in communities, mainly related to climate change and public health
Activities and/or practices employed: 
- Case studies: The coursework will be enriched with case studies of cities implementing sustainable policies and their results to give validity and credibility to the theory
- Audio-visuals: Case studies will be enriched with audio-visual such as videos of built environments and interviews with policymakers
- The coursework will be developed in a web-portal to allow open access and open interactions
Size of academic audience: 
This coursework will be an open source and it is expected to reach thousands of students
- The coursework will be opensource and it is expected to reach out to dozens of academic institutions and thousands of students around the world
- The framework will be designed as a "living document" that will allow feedback from and update by institutions willing to participate
Lessons learned: 
- Although cities around the world may experience similar challenges in addressing sustainable urban development, each city has its own circumstances that are based on geographical location or socio-political realities. As such, some of the cases may not be applicable to many cities; however, as a "living document", it is expected that institutions around the world make contributions and share experiences to enrich the courswork to make it more widely useful.
Key messages: 
According to the UN, cities consume 75% of global resources and produces 70% of global emissions. By 2050, two-thirds of the global population will be living in cities. This opensource coursework will provide higher education institutions around the world with a tool to educate their students in sustainable urban planning
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
This project is intrinsically related to most of the RCE Greater Atlanta primary work, specifically on SDG2, SDG3, SDG11, and SDG13 with a focus on sustainability education, equity, and social justice.
The Serve-Learn-Sustain institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology is paying a Ph.D. student to work with the faculty focal points of this project in developing the coursework (https://serve-learn-sustain.gatech.edu/home)


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon sustain-urban-dev.jpg (157.32 KB) Teaching Sustainable Urban Development at Georgia Tech Dr. Jairo Garcia
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere 
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
Plants & Animals 
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Building capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Empowering and mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level