Spring 2014

Mikhail Chester

General Documents

Homework 1
Homework 2
Homework 3
Homework 4

Course Overview

Understanding how built environment infrastructure systems interact with ecosystem services is a critical foundational element for future engineers who will drive policies and decisions affecting urban sustainability. Sustainable cities can be defined through development that uses materials and energy within the biosphere's capacity for regeneration and waste assimilation. Most contemporary cities operate outside of these criteria. Resources (including food, energy, water, and goods) are shipped in from global logistical networks that shift burdens away from those who use the resources. And dispensing of wastes becomes ever more challenging as siting new landfills is often prohibitive and our concern for air quality and the climate grows. While our understanding of sustainable transition strategies improves, policy and decision makers continue to support existing practices that sustainable engineers and scientists know cannot continue indefinitely. Historically, engineers have developed infrastructure systems when many sustainability constraints did not exist. This course will provide students with 1) an understanding of the engineering, social, political, community, and economic constraints that affect urban sustainability infrastructure, 2) an enriched educational experience that connects academic principles and theories with practical knowledge, and 3) a vision and desire for developing solutions that transcend the current constraints that engineers face when deploying sustainable infrastructure solutions. The course will focus on Phoenix infrastructure policy and decision making, a city that has expended tremendous resources on growth and water, been largely driven by cheap energy, and with significant access to renewable resources (i.e., solar) and knowledge. By connecting students with regional infrastructure issues, undergraduate students will have the opportunity to understand how fundamental engineering concepts are ultimately applied in sustainable infrastructure decisions, graduate students will be able to test and improve infrastructure sustainability transitional theories and gain insight into governmental processes and jobs that they may ultimately be part of.


Jump to: February | March | April | May

Wednesday, January 15

Lecture: Course Overview

Monday, January 20

No class. Observance of MLK day.

Wednesday, January 22

Lecture: Infrastructure and Technology in Cities
Pre-lecture Readings and Video
Water readings and video:
Ascher, Anatomy of a City, Water
ASCE 2011, 'Failure to Act' on water systems to have dire consequences [2 minute Video]
RFF 2009, Adapting to Climate Change (water sections on pages 13, 24, & 31)
Assignments Due:
Review syllabus/topics and let me know if you have recommendations.
Complete Survey

Monday, January 27

Project Overview: Project Overview
Pre-lecture Readings
Project Reading:
MAG's Sustainable Transportation & Land Use Study: Key Recommendations and Tools
Kimball et al. 2013, Reducing Environmental Impacts through TOD along Phoenix Light Rail, JPER
AZ Central (Nov. 2013): Housing Market Shifts Back to Metro Phoenix's Core
General Reading:
Grimm et al. 2008, Global Change and the Ecology of Cities, Science

Wednesday, January 29

In-class Activity: Project team selection
Lecture: Emergence of Modern Infrastructure
Waste and Wastewater Readings
Ascher, Anatomy of a City, Waste and Wastewater
Finnveden et al. 2013, Towards Sustainable Waste Management, Sustainability 5
Suburban Nation Reading
Introduction and Chapter 1

Monday, February 3

Lecture: Infrastructure Sustainability Indicators
Assignment Due: Homework 1
Readings on Cities
Scientific American 2012, Bigger Cities Do More With Less
Electricity Readings
Ascher, Anatomy of a City, Electricity
Scientific American 2006, A Power Grid for the Hydrogen Economy

Wednesday, February 5

Lecture: Land Use
Assignment Due: Project Deliverable 1

Monday, February 10

Lecture: Systems Assessment - Urban Metabolism
Readings on Transportation
Didion 1979, Bureaucrats, The White Album
Ascher, Anatomy of a City, Passenger Transportation
Millard-Ball and Schipper 2010, Are We Reaching Peak Travel? Transport Reviews

Wednesday, February 12

Project Discussion: Future Forecasts
Suburban Nation Reading
Chapters 5 and 6

Monday, February 17

Lecture: Systems Assessment - Life Cycle Assessment Overview
Assignment Due: Homework 2

Wednesday, February 19

Lecture: Systems Assessment - Life Cycle Assessment and Urban Systems
Hitchhiker's Guide to LCA - Chapter 1

Monday, February 24

Project Discussion: Eileen Yazzie (MAG ST-LUIS leader) Visit
Litman 2012, Understanding Smart Growth Savings, Victoria Transport Policy Institute

Wednesday, February 26

Lecture: Transition Science - Intervention Points and Transitional Strategies
Chatman 2013, Does TOD Need the T? JAPA 79(1), pp.17-31
The Atlantic: Transit Might Not Be Essential to TOD

Monday, March 3

Project Discussion
Assignment Due:
Homework 3
Graedel and Klee 2002, Getting Serious about Sustainability, ES&T 36(4), pp.523-529

Wednesday, March 5

Lecture: Transition Science - Intervention Points and Transitional Strategies (cont'd)
Assignment Due: Project Deliverable 2

March 10 and 12

No class. Spring break week.

Monday, March 17

Project Discussion

Wednesday, March 19

Lecture: Infrastructure Financing and Costs

Monday, March 24

Project Discussion
Suburban Nation Reading
Chapters 2, 3, and 4

Wednesday, March 26

Lecture: Optimization
Assignment Due: Project Deliverable 3

Monday, March 31

Guest Lecture: Infrastructure Saturation and Peak Travel (Andrew Fraser)
Suburban Nation Reading
Chapter 7

Wednesday, April 2

Project Discussion
Brueckner 2000, Urban Sprawl: Diagnosis and Remedies, Intl Regional Science Review 23(160)

Monday, April 7

In-class Exercise: Socio-demographic Assessment
Suburban Nation Reading
Chapter 8

Wednesday, April 9

Project Discussion
Assignment Due:
Homework 4   (Helpful Solver background:  MIT 15.053,  Chandrakantha,  Meissner)

Monday, April 14

Lecture: Utility Theory and Behavior
North 1968, Introduction to Decision Theory, IEEE Tran. on Sys. Sc. & Cyber. 4(3)

Wednesday, April 16

Project Discussion
Assignment Due: Project Deliverable 4

Monday, April 21

Project Discussion
Redman 2014, Should Sustainability and Resilience be Combined? Ecology & Society (preprint)

Wednesday, April 23

Project Discussion
Assignment Due
5-8 draft presentation slides

Monday, April 28

Project Discussion and Presentation Review

Tuesday, April 29

Presentation during the Environmental Engineering Seminar
The presentation will take place between noon and 1pm on the fourth floor of Wrigley Hall. The presentation will be in place of our regularly scheduled class time. We will not meet from 3pm to 4:15pm on Wednesday, April 30.

Friday, May 2

Assignment Due: Project Deliverable 6