This course analyzes trends, planning, and policies in sustainable urban development, water resource management, and sustainable transport in Europe. It is divided into interrelated modules and includes travel to several locations to examine various case studies. The modules are:
- Fundamentals of sustainability and environmental policy-making in modern Europe (online)
- Sustainable transportation and urban systems (Copenhagen, Denmark)
- Adaptive re-use, public space, and cooperative housing (Berlin, Germany)
- Transport policy, planning, and sustainability (Munich and Freiburg, Germany)
- Water resource management (Zurich, Switzerland)
See Modules information in the Courses section below for details on the various cities and sites to be visited across Europe.
This program is open to Undergraduate and Graduate students of the School of Architecture as well as students from other schools at the University of Virginia, and students at other US universities. All students take two 3-credit PLAN 5500 Special Topics courses for a total of 6 credits:
- European Sustainable Economic Development
- Sustainable European Transportation Models
The first module of the class will be taught primarily online prior to the trip. It will provide an introduction to prepare students for their trip to Europe. It will focus on the differences in government structure, planning and sustainability between the USA and Europe. Students will also develop study questions, case studies, and research goals for the program. In Europe, this module will be reinforced via a field trip to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.
The second module will focus on how Europeans are addressing some of the wicked sustainability challenges they face. The group will visit Copenhagen to learn about the integration of sustainability goals with economic and social priorities. Copenhagen, considered to be one of the most sustainable cities in the world, will give an introductory look at energy use, transportation, and sustainable housing to name a few. Our next stop, Berlin, provides interesting insights into the balancing act communities face between economic, ecological and social concerns. The city has done many innovative things to advance social and cultural well being in the abandoned spaces of former industrial sites and factories left from the unification but also from an industrial past. Our focus in Berlin will be on adaptive re-use, public space, and cooperative housing.
The third module will focus on transport policy, planning, and sustainability in Munich and Freiburg. The module will begin with a discussion of the transport and land-use connection and the concept of sustainable transport. We will then focus on active transport (walking and cycling) and public transport. Throughout the module students will work in groups to evaluate the transferability of innovative European transport policies to the USA. Tentative innovative policies and policy areas include: high speed rail, bike sharing, car sharing, traffic calming, tolling trucks in Switzerland and Germany, congestion pricing in London (UK), shared spaces, and innovative land-use planning systems. For each policy, planning approach, and case study in Europe we will attempt to determine how and if European policies could work in America.
The fourth module will explore sustainable natural systems in Switzerland. The primary focus is on water supply, risk, and use. Why this theme in this place? Switzerland is one of the European countries that has taken the lead in maintaining and preserving its water supply. Called the “water tower” of Europe, Switzerland has around six percent of the continent’s freshwater resources. For our study on water, we will examine the following topics related to freshwater using research and case studies from around the world: global availability; significant threats; negative human impact; allocation and regulation; distribution; and water equity. This will be explored with researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Research in Dubendorf.
Suzanne Morse Moomaw | email@example.com
Program Director Suzanne Morse Moomaw, Ph.D., is Associate Professor in Urban and Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on sustainable community and economic development practices in neighborhood, regional, and global arenas. She has directed the program since 2012.
Abigale Mullet | firstname.lastname@example.org
Teaching Assistant Abigale Mullet will complete her masters in Urban and Environmental Planning in May 2019. She holds an undergraduate degree in Architecture from the University of Arkansas.
Accommodation and Meals
Students will share double rooms in centrally-located hotels or student residences in each location. Breakfast is included.
The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual basis. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.
Passport and Visa
All participants will need a valid passport in order to participate in the program. Students must ensure that their passport is valid at least six months past the program return date. US passport holders will not need a visa to participate in this program. International students should research visa and entry requirements, and meet with their International Student Advisor in the International Studies Office for information about re-entering the U.S. at the conclusion of the program.
Health and Safety Information
All students considering Education Abroad should consult the Students Abroad section of the U.S. Department of State’s web-based travel resources and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler’s Health web resources to research health, safety, and security conditions; visa requirements; immunization requirements; and recommendations on staying healthy and safe in their target destination(s). Students should also carefully review the UVA Education Abroad Health & Safety Abroad web page. Parents and guardians are strongly advised to review all of these resources, as well. UVA students and visiting students enrolled in UVA Education Abroad programs are subject to the University of Virginia’s Policy on Student International Travel.