Sustainable Urban Development

Accomplishing sustainable urban development is a crucial challenge for the twenty-first century. The University of Washington Tacoma is at the forefront of engaging and educating undergraduate students on this topic. The Sustainable Urban Development degree provides students with a critical and rigorous training in ecological, political, economic, and social aspects of urban development processes.

Sustainability is often treated as a synonym for environmentalism...but that's not the whole story. Sustainability is not just about the environment; it is also about social equity and economic prosperity. The Urban Studies faculty invites you to learn how cities and urban regions are the key to true sustainability — for the planet and for the people who populate it.

Students will learn how to understand, assess, and manage urban development processes through a carefully designed curriculum that includes urban policy, planning, and environmental science coursework. The degree provides students with a broad but concrete understanding of linkages between urban ecosystems, urban systems (planning, transit, energy, etc.), and the multi-dimensional problems of urbanization, especially as they relate to public policy and urban advocacy.

As one of the first such degrees in the nation, students with a degree in Sustainable Urban Development will be prepared to address recent initiatives that have called for a significant “greening” of urban development, both locally and internationally. Graduates will be prepared for careers in planning agencies, corporations adhering to sustainability practices, consulting firms, nonprofit organizations, and environmental/resource related agencies at the local, state, and federal levels of government. The degree is also excellent training for further graduate study in fields such as urban planning, public administration and law.

Three E graphicThe 3 Es of sustainable development

The interlocking goals of sustainable development: environmental quality, economic prosperity and social equality. Sustainable cities live at the nexus of these goals.

Did you know?

  • We are a majority urban society, worldwide
  • In 2008 we reached a global milestone: more than half of the world’s population is urban
  • Over 80% of the U.S. population already lives in a metropolitan region
  • Cities can be the solution, not the problem, when it comes to global sustainability