Environmentalism in the Urban Context

The recent work of environmental activists and scholars has produced a new urbanism in which the city form and function is intimately connected with natural processes. This rethinking of the city has opened several new possibilities for looking at human-environment interactions. In particular, the everyday environment of the city may be examined as a site for identifying the hidden geographies of raw materials, energy and waste flows. This course looks at three central issues: (1) identification of the material and ecological processes that make possible city form and function possible; (2) interpretation of the city as a constellation of economic institutions and social practices that transform nature over different temporal and spatial scales; and (3) the examination of the environmental and health impacts stemming from a city's role in production and consumption. Students will work on projects using the principles of ecological design in the redevelopment of urban sites.

3 credits

Course Code: SS 220

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.