The Challenge of Sustainability: Sustainable Lifestyles

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Barnes
Credits: 3
Day: C
Start: 1045
End: 1200
Field Work: Day 1 - Helsinki - Thursday, 6 August | Finland
Prerequisites: Introduction to Psychology or permission of the instructor Download Syllabus

The design of our communities and cities is intimately related to the lifestyles we
live. How can each of us live more sustainably and what can we learn from models
of sustainable living in European cultures? In this course we will explore the
psychological and personal dimensions of sustainability. We will explore examples
of sustainable communities in the European cultures we are visiting, and through
readings and group discussion we will reflect on the lessons of these cultures for
our own lifestyles. We will explore recent psychological research on the benefits
of living in sustainable communities and ways of encouraging environmentally
sustainable behavior. Specific issues we will address are reducing waste,
sustainable food production and consumption, energy use and conservation, water
use, transportation, and economic and environmental implications of a sustainable

Field Work

Country: Finland
Day: 1 - Helsinki - Thursday, 6 August

According to Maria Jaakkola in Tim Beatley’s 2012 book Green Cities of Europe, “Helsinki’s greenness is a result of the strategies on a municipal level that guide all planning activity, as well as the characteristics of the urban planning and design” (p, 111). Helsinki has one of the most extensive urban park systems in Europe—approximately 46% of the land area of Helsinki is green, including large urban parks, agricultural areas and forest.  The goal of this Field Lab is to learn about Helsinki’s urban plan, and to experience a positive model of sustainable urban design. We will meet with a planner from the City of Helsinki Planning Department or with a representative from the Helsinki University Centre for Environment to hear about the city’s strategies for sustainable urban development and will take a tour of some of Helsinki’s urban parks to see first-hand how green infrastructure contributes to sustainable lifestyles in Helsinki. Academic Objectives: 1.  To show a positive model of sustainable urban planning 2.  To demonstrate the value of planning natural areas within cites 3.  To learn about the new Helsinki City Plan and the relationship between city planning and sustainable behavior