How will climate change impact coastal cities as sea levels rise and what measures are cities in different nations taking to counteract this imminent threat? This class will examine one U.S. and three coastal cities from the other three continents from the perspective of geography, history, culture and land use law. It will focus on the historical and current land use patterns of these coastal cities and the processes of land use decision making and strategies to mitigate the effects of sea level rise (such as hardening coastline, moving away from the impacted areas, creating parks). We will also study the hierarchy of land use decision makers, including national, local and province or state, where relevant. Students will work in teams that will each focus on one of the coastal cities and make a presentation to the group prior to visiting the City. Visits would be arranged at cities to meet legislators, planners and others involved in the environmental planning to discuss with students the present and future vision of the city and its response to climate change. Students would prepare briefing questions in advance of the visit and summarize learning experiences. The course will give students an opportunity to learn about local land use planning as practiced in the U.S. (local laws constrained by U.S. Constitutional and state authority) and make comparisons with the other land use in other nations. The goal will be to get students to evaluate the intersection between environmental and urban planning and to learn from other countries lessons that could be utilized in the U.S.
Field WorkCountry: Morocco
We will travel to Casablanca to discuss with World Bank and other officials the work that is being done to prepare this coastal city to meet the challenges of climate change.