Exploring Urban Sustainability Through Environmental Psychology

Open—Spring

Do you think you think and act green? What is the hot word of day: sustainability? While many agree that the rise toward sustainable policies and practices across multiple fields is encouraging, many researchers and practitioners critique the popular use of this concept. In this vein, psychology can assist us to critically examine how environmental problems are defined and solutions are devised. This course will engage the concept of sustainability by learning theories that explain the interrelationship between people and their environments in order to examine contemporary sustainability policies and practices. These environmental and ecological psychological theories will serve as a background to analyze and critique cases that involve the maintenance and/or regeneration of communities, as well as material resources. Texts will feature seminal theoretical readings, those that bridge theory and practice, and empirical studies. We will also examine several examples of contemporary university initiatives. Conference projects may include learning a research methodology to analyze personal practice in a pre-existing (or new) volunteer assignment or work. This course is useful for students who want to participate, or are already participating, in a campus or local project or organization that works to promote positive environmental change, urban development, or other community work that seeks to increase the longevity of human or material resources.