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Ecodesign for cities and suburbs

Larry Beasley and Jonathan Barnett are about to start teaching a free online course through the University of British Columbia edX called: Ecodesign for Cities and Suburbs. It starts April 4, 2017 and runs for 6 weeks.

Here’s what you’ll learn (taken verbatim from

  • The principles of ecodesign and why it is important as a response to the current disorganized urban growth model
  • Ways to adapt to a changing climate, and ways to mitigate climate change locally
  • Policies to balance auto and airplane transportation with walking, cycling, transit and high-speed rail
  • Ways of designing urban and suburban regulations to make cities more livable and environmentally compatible
  • Strategies for designing and managing the public realm, plus innovative arrangements and processes for implementing ecodesign

The course is geared toward urbanists from all over the world and so the case studies will be global in nature. You can also participate as actively or passively as you’d like. Though, if you’d like to get a certificate, then you need to fully participate.

What immediately stood out for me was the focus on both cities and suburbs. In many ways the suburbs are a more challenging problem to solve. So I hope there’s a good amount of focus on that context.

Beasley was formerly co-director of planning at the City of Vancouver and Barnett is a professor of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania (my alma mater). It should be an interesting course.

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