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Program Description

Sustainable Development: Urban and Rural Perspectives in the United Kingdom

This proposed program will provide students with an opportunity to better understand the integration of planning theory with best practices of sustainability in the urban and rural context in the United Kingdom. The location of the program in England, Scotland and Wales is based on the unique opportunities there to highlight current and historic development of the built environment while simultaneously studying best practices of environmental stewardship.

The cities to be visited on the program include: London, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Bristol and Cardiff. The program will also include learning opportunities in rural areas such as the London Green Belt, the Pennine Hills, Scotish lochs, the Cotswolds and Welsh coastline.

The course syllabus will include two distinct approaches for each location: (1) Built Environment and (2) Environmental Stewardship. Included within each of those perspectives will be various themes: (a) Urban Form; (b) Sustainable Communities; (c) Urban Mobility; (d) Land Classification; (e) Planning for Equity; (f) Natural Resource Management; (g) Historic Preservation; (h) Rural Preservation; (i) Post-Industrial Economies; and (j) Rural Infrastructure Development.

The primary text for the course is "Design with Nature" by Ian McHarg. This book draws heavily upon analysis of the built environment in the United Kingdom over the past hundred years and provides a unique approach to establishing solutions to long-term problems. McHarg comes from Scotland and spent a majority of his professional career as a planner and landscape architect in the United States.

Academic goals of the program include: (a) improving students' understanding of the inter-relationship between sustainable practices in both the urban and rural context; and (b) increasing students' knowledge of best planning practices in the United Kingdom which may be applicable and useful to problem solving in both the urban and rural context in the United States.

Students' learning experience will be enhanced through engagement with faculty and stakeholders in the United Kingdom as well as visiting sites of best practices. Living and learning in this location will provide insight and understanding of how the political, economic, sociological, geographical and environmental issues facing the United Kingdom are similar and distinct from the conditions in the United States. This in turn will provide students with valuable lessons in best practices that are applicable to problem solving in the Pacific Northwest. .

Learning goals include:
Academic goals of the program include: (a) improving students' understanding of the inter-relationship between sustainable practices in both the urban and rural context; and (b) increasing students' knowledge of best planning practices in the United Kingdom which may be applicable and useful to problem solving in both the urban and rural context in the United States.

Students will submit five short papers which provide analysis of a specific theme within both: (a) the Built Environment and (b) Environmental Stewardship approaches, based upon their experience in each location on the course. In addition, students will be organized into self-selected groups that are aligned with specific themes. Each group will be making short presentations in each location during the course. A final group paper and presentation will be required at the end of the course.

Students will be provided ample opportunity to comment on the course content during the program itinerary. Program directors and staff will meet with each student as well as each of the work groups at reasonable intervals during the course. 

[Take a look at a video from the 2016 Program. Video credit: Collin Frietzsche.]

 
Prerequisites and Language Requirements

 

None

 
Credits

15 UW credits for undergraduates, 12 UW credits for graduate students

 
Location

London, UK

 
Sites

London, the London Green Belt, Manchester, the Pennine Hills, Glasgow, Scotish lochs, Edinburgh, Cheltenham, the Cotswolds, Bristol, Wiltshire, Cardiff and the Welsh coastline.