ENV307 Urban Sustainability Syllabus

University of Toronto, Winter 2016


About This Course

While urban areas represent only 2% of the land mass of the planet, the environmental impacts of this type of land use are enormous and far-reaching. It is estimated, for instance, that urban areas consume 75% of the planet’s resources. Currently, just over half of the world population resides in urban areas and, over the next several decades, global urbanization levels are projected to steadily rise, potentially placing further pressure on planetary resources and ecosystems. For these reasons, it is crucial that cities make the transition to more sustainable forms of development that will lessen adverse environmental impacts and, at the same time, maintain or improve the livability of urban areas. At present, from an environmental perspective, cities are a significant part of the problem or challenge inherent to achieving global sustainability, yet also represent a major opportunity for new approaches and solutions. Increasingly, the goal of urban sustainability is considered essential to achieving global sustainability.