Sustainable Cities in the US and India: Technology & Policy Pathways
Spring 2020: Tu/Th, 3:00-4:20 pm
This course taught by Prof. Ramaswami explores sustainable cities in the US and India. What is a sustainable city and how do we get there in the United States and India? This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of the concepts and pathways underlying our quest for urban sustainability in different parts of the world. The course begins by exploring the concept of sustainable development, with a focus on key systems that provide food, energy, water, mobility, housing, information-communications, waste management, and public spaces to more than half the world’s population that lives in urban areas today. It then reviews emerging approaches to measure multiple outcomes under the umbrella of a “sustainable city” related to environment, social inclusion, and equity, economy and innovation, health, wellbeing and resilience, drawing upon the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework. The class will then compare and contrast cities in the US and in India, understanding their diverse contexts, the current baseline data and future trajectories toward a more sustainable future. Through guest lectures and case studies drawn from India and the US, we will then explore various potential pathways toward a more sustainable future, including: a) Technological innovation, e.g., shared self-driving vehicles (robot taxis), distributed solar energy in cities or waste-to-value technologies; b) Policy innovations; and, c) Social & environmental entrepreneurship pathways.